With their increasing numbers, Latino voters are becoming a crucial voting bloc in Wisconsin. In recent elections, their influence has been particularly evident in key urban areas like Milwaukee and Madison. Awareness of this growing influence, political candidates have been actively courting Latino voters by addressing issues that directly impact their community, such as immigration reform, education, healthcare, and economic opportunities.
According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, Latino voters in Wisconsin are more likely to identify as Democrats compared to Republicans. However, this does not mean they vote as a monolithic block, as their preferences can vary based on age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. For instance, younger Latino voters tend to be more progressive and advocate for social justice issues, while older voters may prioritize economic stability and small business growth.
“When there’s a thriving Latino community, there’s a thriving America; when there’s a thriving America, there’s a thriving Latino community,” said Ramon Candelaria, Strategic Director, LIBRE Wisconsin in an interview with WTMJ-TV. The nonpartisan group recently reopened its Wisconsin chapter offices, intending to go into neighborhoods to reach undecided Latino voters.
Latino voters in Wisconsin, like elsewhere in the country, are concerned about a range of issues that affect their everyday lives. Job creation and affordable healthcare are significant concerns, as well as economic opportunities and access to quality education.
A recently released Public Opinion Strategies survey commissioned by The LIBRE Institute found that most Latinos support school choice.
Nataly Andrade, Director of Outreach, Hispanics for School Choice, says she was drawn to LIBRE’s interest in pushing for school choice across the country. “Because they’re advocating for the same thing, and specifically in the Hispanic community, it is very beneficial for me as a Latina to have more Latinos join our cause,” said Andrade.
While Wisconsin’s Latino population has historically been small compared to states like California and Texas, it has experienced significant growth over the past few decades. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Latino population in Wisconsin increased by 74% between 2000 and 2019, making it the fastest-growing ethnic group in the state.
In 2016, Trump won 16.2 percent of the vote in Milwaukee’s majority Latino wards, and Hillary Clinton won 79.5 percent. In 2020, Trump won 21.8 percent of those wards’ votes, and Joe Biden won 76.6 percent. (Biden won Wisconsin overall by about 20,000 votes.)
Cover Photo by Edmond Dantès