Nate I’ll be honest. I simply do not understand how people look at the numbers and conclude that the Hispanic vote is the end-all-be-all of electoral politics. Hispanics will make up roughly 15 percent of voters in Florida. That’s not nothing. But even big shifts among 15 percent of the electorate can be swamped by little shifts among the remaining 85 percent. It’s just math.
Now, things can work out such that those 15 percent of voters are decisive. Maybe Trump can’t make big gains among white voters in the state. Then, losses among Hispanic voters could give Clinton a modest lead. But if Trump can make even modest gains among white voters in Florida — and he did very well there in the primary — then he’s going to win the state.
I think the real reason Hispanic voters have an outsized place in the public’s understanding of the electorate is that they’ve had some of the biggest swings.
Maybe 40 percent voted for George W. Bush in 2004, and then just 27 percent for Mitt Romney. The rest of the electorate has seemed really stable.
But if the rest of the electorate starts moving — and we’re seeing big shifts among white voters, especially along educational lines — then even big shifts among Hispanic voters can quickly be swamped.