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Latino voter eligibility at all-time high but turnout still expected to be low

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The number of eligible Latino voters has reached a historic high, with almost 24 million able to participate in November’s presidential election, an increase of 4 million over the previous ballot in 2008.

The new figures, released by the Pew Hispanic Center, underline the seismic demographic shift that is transforming the electoral landscape of the US. Over the past 20 years the number of Latinos eligible to vote has grown steadily and steeply, from 8.3 million in 1992 to 14.5 million in 2002 and 23.7 million in 2012 – some 11% of the current electorate.

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That is in turn a reflection of the growing numeric presence of Hispanics, who now stand as America’s largest minority. Last year Latinos accounted for almost 17% of the population – some 52 million people.

But Pew’s research also underscores the unfulfilled nature of Latino political power. In 2008, only half those entitled to vote actually cast their ballots – a participation rate well beneath that of African Americans (65%) and whites (66%).

The turnout of Hispanics in November could be even lower, as Census Bureau data suggests that the number of Latinos who are registered to vote actually declined by 600,000 between 2008 and 2010. Pew suggests the slump could be explained by a tailing off of political interest following the exceptional enthusiasm engendered by Obama’s first run for the White House four years ago.

It could also have something to do with the economic downturn. Many Hispanic families have been forced to move home because of foreclosures since the collapse of 2008, which in turn would have caused many of them to lose their electoral registration.

Looked another way, though, and the statistics spell enormous potential rewards for any politician or political party who manages to release the Latino genie from the bottle. If Hispanic Americans can be persuaded that it is worth their while to turn up on election day, then there is room for a massive mobilisation of new voters.

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That is particularly the case in three vital swing states – Florida, which has more than 2 million eligible Hispanic voters, or 16% of the total; Colorado, with almost 500,000 (14%); and Nevada with 270,000 (15%). President Obama has been actively courting the Hispanic vote this year, with the introduction of a procedural change that allows young undocumented Latinos to apply for a two-year postponement of the threat of deportation.

On the other hand, there is a further weakening of Hispanic political power because families are concentrated in states that are not significant battlegrounds this election cycle. More than half of all potential Latino voters live in three states that are not in play this November – firmly Democratic California and New York, and firmly Republican Texas.

© Guardian News and Media 2012

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[Latino family via Shutterstock]


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2012

Here are 7 wild, bizarre and pathetic moments from Trump’s ‘campaign launch’

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On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump held a rally that was billed as the official launch his re-election campaign — though he has never really stopped holding campaign rallies.

As expected, the president ranted, lied, and engaged in the raucous attacks that are central to his connection with Republican voters. Some of it was actually just sad, such as his continued obsession with Hillary Clinton.

Here are seven of the wildest, disturbing and pathetic moments from the rally:

1. He said Democrats "want to destroy our country as we know it."

Trump casually accuses Democrats of "want[ing] to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it." pic.twitter.com/4K79KlbEeR

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2012

British PM candidates clash over Brexit as Boris Johnson skips debate

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Candidates to become Britain's next prime minister clashed over Brexit strategy at their first debate on Sunday but the frontrunner, Boris Johnson, dodged the confrontation.

The 90-minute debate on Channel 4 featured the five remaining candidates and an empty podium for Johnson, the gaffe-prone former foreign secretary and former mayor of London.

In sometimes ill-tempered exchanges, four of the five candidates said they would seek to renegotiate the draft Brexit divorce deal agreed with Brussels even though EU leaders have repeatedly ruled this out.

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2012

Michael Cohen ordered back to Congress on March 6

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President Donald Trump's so-called "fixer" is being asked to return to Congress for more questioning on March 6.

Outside of the closed-door committee hearing Thursday, Cohen said that the House Intelligence Committee is seeking further information, according to Washington Examiner writer Byron York.

Michael Cohen finished closed-door testimony before House Intel Committee, says he's coming back for another session March 6. Again: No reason for secrecy. Transcripts should be released ASAP.

— Byron York (@ByronYork) February 28, 2019

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