Few things are more important and less understood than the votes and values of Latinos in U.S. politics. Latinos in the United States do not form a monolithic community, with diverse religious, economic, cultural, and ideological backgrounds. Yet this diverse constituency is often lumped together by politicians, journalists, and advocates as “the Latino vote.” Recent polls and reports show that there are important shifts in Hispanic voting patterns. These suggest the Democratic Party is losing ground with Latino voters, even as the Republican Party expands its outreach to Latino communities ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. Simultaneously, the number of U.S. Latino Protestants and Catholics continues to grow at a time when other religious groups appear to be declining. In this period of political upheaval, the Initiative brought together four young Latino leaders to explore what is going on, what it means, and the role of Catholic social teachings in a time of political polarization in the United States.
This Latino Leader Gathering began with an expert offering an overview of recent reports and data at the intersection of Latinos, voting, and faith. Then a political scientist, a journalist at Politico, a community organizer from California, and a Catholic diocesan leader explored these and other questions:
- What role could Latino voters play in the 2022 midterm elections and the 2024 presidential election? Will faith shape politics, or will politics shape faith?
- How have Latinos in the United States been courted and ignored by politicians, political party leaders, and faith communities? What are current outreach efforts by political parties and interest groups?
- What policies and issues do Latino voters care about? Catholic Latinos? Evangelical Latinos? Latinos of other faiths?
- How can principles of Catholic social thought create a path forward for diverse Latino communities to engage in U.S. politics and vote as faithful citizens?
- What is the history in Latino voting related to participation and partisan affiliation? Have there been recent shifts and trends? What issues matter now?
- What is the history of Democratic Party and Republican Party outreach efforts to Latino voters, especially Latino Catholics and evangelicals? What is the current context?
Anna Gordon, project manager of the Initiative, moderated the conversation.
View a list of articles, books, podcasts, and other resources for this dialogue.
This Latino Leader Gathering was for young Latino Catholics and others to explore key issues and personal stories involving faith and public life with distinguished Latinos and other leaders and was supported by Democracy Fund.