The first American elections of the era of the pandemic have thrown society many surprises, but perhaps the most important of all is the record participation of citizens in the party of democracy, regardless of the candidate or candidate of their choice. As a bonus, so far, the political expressions of voters have been overwhelmingly peaceful and respectful. We hope they stay that way.
That more than 150 million voters have decided to make themselves heard through their vote, including millions of them braving the long lines, inclement weather and, even worse, the risk of a possible contagion of COVID-19, is no small matter. It not only reflects the civic vocation of this country, but also the recognition that in times of crisis our voice, our vote, is more valuable than ever.
There will be time to scrutinize Latino participation in the 2020 electoral process in detail, once we have reliable and stratified statistics, but preliminary figures point in the direction of stellar participation by Latino women and youth. Hopefully, it is the beginning of a trend that accelerates the arrival of the goal of parity between our demographic weight and our political weight.
I have heard many comments about the “Latino problem” from Joe Biden, who was apparently unable to sustain the Hispanic support for Hillary Clinton in 2016, a reason that in part cost him the triumph in the state of Florida. But it is very possible that the support of other Latinos will allow him to surprise in Arizona or Nevada.
In the case of President Trump, tentative figures suggest that in some places he managed to increase the support he had obtained from the Latino community in 2016. The reasons are varied, and it cannot be discounted that, at least until before the pandemic, his policies Economic benefits (tax cuts and economic deregulation) helped reduce the Hispanic unemployment rate to historically low levels.
But from the point of view of civic participation, the important thing is that our community votes, regardless of the candidate of their choice.
During Election Day on November 3, I had the opportunity to be in the now called Black Lives Matter Plaza, which is located on the metal fence security perimeter that now surrounds the White House. The overwhelming majority of citizens exercising their right to freedom of association and expression were minority youth, both male and female.
They impressed me by their respectful way of being part of the democracy party: With expressions that reflected passion and intensity, but always within the margins of legality. May this model of civic behavior of young people be emulated by the nation’s political leaders and adhere to unrestricted respect for the popular will, the rule of law, and trust in political institutions.