Latinos and the 2016 Election: Where Do We Go From Here?

There are 38 days left until Donald Trump becomes President on January 20, 2017. He will take office with Republican majorities in Congress, which means that he has an opening to push some of his campaign promises in the first 100 days. On the top of that list are promises to terminate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and to potentially deport up to 4 million undocumented immigrants in our county. There are 740,000 youth that have been approved for DACA and 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. (2.3 million in California).

Are we prepared?

On Thursday, December 8th, the Latino Community Foundation (LCF) hosted a forum to 1) understand how Latinos voted in the 2016 Election and 2) understand what’s at stake for our community and how to collectively prepare for the first 100 days and the next four years.

PART I – The Latino Vote

Dr. Gary Segura of Latino Decisions and Dr. Mindy Romero of UC Davis’s California Civic Engagement Project presented national and statewide perspectives on the Latino turnout for the November 2016 election.

National Takeaways

Contrary to the National Exit Poll, Dr. Segura from Latino Decisions conducted an Election Eve Poll which found that 18% of Latinos voted for Donald Trump, while 79% voted for Clinton and 3% voted for other. In addition, millennials of all backgrounds voted overwhelmingly Democratic with 80% voting for Clinton and a mere 14% for Trump. Latinos used their ballot as a voice of their community and voted based on which candidate is more aligned with the values and interest of the Latino community.


National Takeaways Snapshot

  • In Florida, 32% of Latinos voted for Trump.
  • National Cuban vote: 50% Clinton, 48% Trump
  • 86% of Latinas and 71% of Latino men voted for Clinton.
  • A vast 78% of Latino voters made up their minds months before Nov. 8th.
  • Most Latinos voted to support and represent the Latino community (42%).
  • Immigration was either the top or one of the most important factors to the Latino vote (64% of voters).
  • Democrats won more votes than Republicans for the President, Senate, and House.

The Latino Vote in the November 2016 Presidential Election; source: Latino Decisions

Statewide Takeaways

In this election, 75% of all registered voters across the state cast a ballot, which sounds impressive, but only 59% of eligible voters participated in this election—putting California in the bottom 20% of all states for turnout.

Latino youth can become our largest source of political power at the polls and will become our future leaders on every level of government. We need to educate and activate Latino youth so that they can help drive transformative change across communities, cities, states, and borders. In California, Latinos currently make up almost 29% of the voting age population; in 2040, this percentage is projected to jump to 38%.


(Latino turnout across the state will be shared once results are finalized and made public.)

Statewide Takeaways Snapshot

  • In line with Latinos nationwide, 16% of California Latinos voted for Trump, while 80% voted for Clinton.
  • 32% of all Californians voted for Trump and 62% for Clinton.
  • In 2012, of eligible voters only 39% of Latinos, while 63% of non-Latino whites voted (2016 data is forthcoming).
  • In 2014, Latinos comprised 23% of registered voters, but only 15% of actual voters.
  • Latinos are still underrepresented as California lawmakers, comprising only 20% of the legislature, 15% of city council members, and 10% of county supervisors before the 2016 election.



Following data on the Latino vote, Jeannette Zanipatin of MALDEF and Paul Chavez of Centro Legal de La Raza represented Latino organizations working on the frontlines and highlighted how they are protecting and defending immigrant families as well as how we can all take action to support our communities.

Latino families are scared and DACA recipients are worried. Both speakers expressed how they have had to double down on their work given the election of Trump who ran on anti-immigrant platforms. These legal defense and immigration advocacy organizations are preparing to resist and delay any and all attempts at curtailing immigrant rights and tearing apart families through deportation. Both Zanipatin and Chavez are now preparing for the worst case scenario and invited all attendees to join them. They need for people to donate, volunteer as interpreters, help recruit immigration lawyers, and ensure that we use all our tools to advocate for immigrant rights.

Strategies for Protecting and Defending Latino Communities

  • Expect and strategize a rapid response to raids.
  • Advocate for policy strategies to keep DACA and protect the personal information of DACA beneficiaries and their families.
  • Prepare for upcoming immigration enforcement and how to make it accountable to immigration and civil rights.
  • Press for Universal Representation funding.
  • Encourage Sanctuary Cities and Sanctuary State.
  • Champion youth engagement and education, not just civic participation.

To move forward and protect our community, we must organize, resist, and delay detrimental policies. Only collective resistance can stop the impending policies that will target Latino and immigrant communities. California must remain a beacon of diversity and prosperity. California’s strength diminishes when we fracture families and communities.

Click here to see how Latino leaders in California’s Legislature are responding.

If you are asking yourself, what can I do now to help?

  • Donate to the Nuestro Futuro Fund to make rapid response grants to Latino-led legal service organizations.
  • Contact LCF to volunteer at many of our partner organizations. Use your skills (bilingual, tech-savvy, fundraising, etc.) to help these organizations prepare during this critical time.
  • Support Latino-led grassroots organizations, click here to see our list.

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