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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Race to the White House: Focus on the Latino Electorate

Dr. Laird Bergad, Distinguished Professor, Lehman College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York
New York, NY
May 24, 2016




Date: 05/24/2016 Location: New York, NY Description: Dr. Laird Bergad briefs journalists at the New York Foreign Press Center on the role of the Latino electorate in this year's presidential election. - State Dept Image

12:30 P.M. EDT

NEW YORK FOREIGN PRESS CENTER, 799 UNITED NATIONS PLAZA, 10TH FLOOR

MODERATOR: So, good afternoon, everyone. We’re very pleased to welcome Dr. Laird Bergad to the New York Foreign Press Center. Dr. Bergad is a distinguished professor at Lehman College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He’s also the founder and director of the Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies at the Graduate Center. Thanks to everyone in this room for attending today and to those in D.C. who are joining us via digital video conference.

I have a few housekeeping items before we begin. We can’t share the presentation today, so please take notes as you wish throughout the briefing. Also, please take the opportunity to silence your phones, and at the conclusion of Dr. Bergad’s remarks, the floor will be open for questions. Please state your name and media affiliation and wait for the microphone, and for those in D.C., please step to the podium and we’ll recognize you in time.

Today’s briefing is on the record, and with that, let me welcome Dr. Bergad to the podium. Thank you very much.

MR BERGAD: Thank you. Welcome, everybody. All right, I’m going to present to you a dizzying array of data – graphs and charts – that would put any mere mortal to sleep just upon an initial visual observation. But what I want to stress here is that the data itself is simply part of a story, and what I’m going to do is tell you a story that’s data-based. And we’re going to try to make it as interesting as possible, and it’s going to obviously focus on the Latino vote in the 2016 election.

First graph. This is a graph that depicts the growth of the Latino population of the United States between 1980 and 2014 when the last reliable census data are available. We can see that this growth has been meteoric, from close to 15 million Latinos in 1980 to over 55 million Latinos in 2014 – from 6.5 percent of the overall population to nearly 18 percent of the population today. The Census Bureau projects that by 2050, Latinos will comprise about one in every three Americans. That is quite impressive.

Now, let’s look at the political impact. These – red line here shows you the number of eligible Latino voters. I am projecting that in this election there will be 28 million eligible Latino voters, but that only 16 million will register and some 13 million will vote, so we’re looking at a voting population that has increased from 4 million back in 1992 all the way up to 13 million today, and that means a very important role in national politics.

Percentage of overall voters – I think what you’ll probably want to focus on is this green line here. We are projecting that in this election – and I think this may be an underestimate – about 10 percent of all votes cast – that are going to be cast in November of 2016 – are going to be Latino votes, and that has increased meteorically from 1992, when it was less than 4 percent. So demographic increase has translated into a presence at the ballot box which is critical, and I’m going to show you how critical that is.

The electorate – now, as all of you know, Latino – the United States has a system whereby we really have state elections rather than national elections, and the Latino electorate – that is, those who are citizens 18 years of age and older and eligible to vote – are highly concentrated in these nine states. You can see that California alone has almost 27 percent of eligible Latino voters just in one state. Throw in Texas, you have about 45, 46 percent of all eligible voters are in two states.

That’s important to take note of for the simple reason that we know the way these states are going to vote in this next election. California is going to go Democratic; Obama carried California by 23 percent in 2012. There is no reason to think that Mr. Trump even has a chance in California. We’ll go out on a limb on that one. And we can also say with pretty much certainty that Texas is going to go Republican. I’d say that in about three more presidential election cycles, with the growth of the Hispanic vote there, that may not be such a given – the point being here the Latino vote is concentrated in these two states, and these are not going to be contested, really. We know which way they’re going to go. So, 45 percent of Latinos are in states that are – contribute to particular outcomes.

Florida, another story. I’m going to devote a last part of this presentation on Florida and show you why Florida is going to be critical to this election and why the Latino vote is the most – probably most critical swing vote in the state. We’re going to get to that later on. New York, Arizona – you can see the numbers here; they’re pretty clear. Nine states, 80 percent of all Latino voters. So when we look at Latinos as a national presence, we’re really looking at presence in specific states of the United States.

Well, that was the good news. Here’s the bad news. The good news that we have continual growth over time; the bad news is that Latinos have the lowest voter participation rate of any major race and ethnic group in the United States, and that’s been the case since 1992. Forty-eight percent of eligible Latino voters have gone to the polls nationally 1992 all the way up to 2012. This is a flat line. Nothing has changed. And so Latino political power has been exerted because of demographic increase, but imagine if Latinos voted at the same rate as non-Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic whites. Two-thirds non-Hispanic blacks, non-Hispanic whites who were eligible to vote voted in the election of 2012. Only 48 percent of Latinos.

Something’s wrong. Why don’t Latinos vote? Here’s why. It’s not that they don’t vote. It’s that they don’t register to vote. Every major institution throws up their hands and say Latinos don’t vote. We were the first one to publish a report with CNN en Espanol which pointed out that voting was not the problem, registration was the problem. We hear about voter registration drives over and again, yet only 58 percent of eligible Latino voters were registered in 1992. That has not changed one iota all the way up through 2012. So this is the lowest voter registration rate of any of the major racial and ethnic groups. Let’s look at non-Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic whites. Nearly three-quarters register to vote.

Latinos don’t register to vote. Why not? Mysterious question not revealed by the data that I examine, which are government statistics, but I think that there’s generally been a failure of voter registration drives despite the enormous publicity that they have received in the media. We can talk about this later.

Those were national-level statistics. These data show registration rates by different states. Now, you’ll notice that Virginia, which has a very small Latino population, only about 3 percent of the electorate, had a voter registration rate that was analogous to those of non-Hispanic whites and blacks, but let’s focus on Florida because this is the big enchilada here. Seventy-two percent of Latinos in Florida were registered to vote in 2012, and I am projecting that 75 or more percent will be registered to vote in 2016. And that is why Florida is so critical and that’s why the Hispanic vote is so critical. Again, we’ll get to that.

So the national level of registration at 58 percent does not hold true in particular states. Texas, California, ironically, the biggest states with the biggest Latino populations, have some of the lowest and below the national average level of voter registration.

Let’s turn to Florida. You can read the narrative or you can listen to me talk about it. Look, Florida and its 29 electoral votes are going to be the key to this election. And as written on the board, conventional wisdom has it that there’s not a Republican candidate in the world, I don’t care who it is, who can win the presidency without winning Florida. And no Republican, or Democrat for that matter, can win Florida without winning a substantial share of the Latino vote. And I’m going to show you why.

Obama carried the state by a sliver in 2012, less than 1 percent. Latinos, according to exit polls, voted 60 percent for Obama, 40 percent for Romney. The key to winning Florida may be the Latino vote, and it’s highly unlikely that Mr. Trump, with his Make America White Again routine, will be able to carry Latinos, for obvious reasons.

All right, let’s look at Florida. Let’s look at the increasing Latino population of Florida. Now a quarter of all Floridians are Latino. This is not voters. This is the overall population, doubling as a percentage from 1990 in the last 25 years. This is going to continue to increase, by the way. This was the reconquest, the Reconquista for those of you who speak Spanish, of Florida, quite clearly.

The electorate increased enormously as well. Nineteen percent of all potential voters in the state of Florida as of 2014 were Latino, having grown enormously from 1990. All right, so Latinos have arrived. Registration rates, as we spoke about before, very high in comparative perspective to other states. So Latinos in Florida vote. We’re projecting – and I said this before – 75, 76 percent of Latinos will be registered to vote in the state of Florida, unlike is the case in many of the other states that we have seen. Nearly two-thirds of eligible Latinos will cast their ballots in the 2016 election. You see how that has increased? Every electoral cycle, more – a high – greater percentage of Latinos are participating, and we certainly expect that to be the case in this election.

I am projecting, based on statistical models that I’ve developed, that the Latino vote will be about 20 percent of all ballots cast in Florida in November of 2016. Notice how the Latino vote has increased, okay, constantly. And it’s going to keep increasing as well. All right.

Who are these Latinos anyways? Not all Latinos are the same, meaning they come from different national origins. And Florida has always been identified with the Cuban vote, and Cubans have always been very conservative and always supported, or at least did, support Republican candidates.

But look what has happened to Florida. There has been a demographic transformation in the national composition of the Florida electorate. Cubans back in 1990 were close to half of all voters. They’re now less than – or a part of the electorate. They’re now 30 percent. Puerto Ricans are about just as many Puerto Rican voters in Florida as there are Cuban voters. This is extraordinarily important, as we’ll see in a moment. Mexican voters are the second – or the third, excuse me, largest group in the state. Then there is an eclectic mixture of different nationalities, which, if I put them all on this graph, would be so convoluted we wouldn’t even be able to understand any of it.

Now, let’s look at Cubans, the traditional bastion of Republican voters in Florida. Boy, have Cubans changed, because there’s been a generational shift. Now, according to exit poll data, back in 2000, 25 percent of Florida Cubans voted for Gore in the stolen election of 2000, all right? Forty-eight percent voted Democratic in 2012. This is a titanic shift in political sentiments, and we’re going to see it manifest in other data momentarily here.

So the Cuban vote, 30 percent of the electorate in – or actual voters in Florida, moving Democratic very clearly because of generational change. Younger Cubans don’t have the same political attitudes that their parents and grandparents had. They’re less likely to vote Republican, and I would suspect that in 2012 you’re going to see more than half of the Cuban vote go Democratic, maybe substantially more.

According to exit polls, if Cubans voted 48 percent Democratic, look at all of the other groups heavily favoring Obama in 2012. This is in the state of Florida only, and I think we can surmise and project that support for the Democratic candidate, because of the anti-immigrant policies of Mr. Trump, is going to be even greater than this. Latinos are going to break a lot more than 60-40 for the Democratic candidate, and that is going to make it nearly impossible for Mr. Trump to carry the state of Florida or to win the presidency. You heard that here.

We have data from the Florida secretary of state on political party registration rates. This is scientific data. These are actual registered voters. Now let’s look at our Republicans. Back in 2006, when data on race and ethnicity was collected in Florida, 37 percent of all registered voters – Latino voters – were Republicans. Look where that’s gone as of 2014. Registered Republican voters among Latinos have gone down. Registered Democratic voters have gone up. But what’s really the key thing is the increase in independents. In other words, we look at voter registration lists and it’s no longer a Republican state for Latinos.

That’s a – I was told to keep this brief to the point we could talk about other states if you want. Let me make one more comment here before I finish here. There are swing states, such as North Carolina, which Romney won by 2 percent; Ohio, which Obama won by about 4 or 5 percent; Pennsylvania, which Obama won handily in 2012, which have very small Latino populations – 4 or 5 percent, 3 percent of the public. But in razor-thin elections, state elections, they may be critical. North Carolina is one state. Pennsylvania is another state. Ohio is another state. Virginia is another state. Only 3 percent of the voters are Latinos, but in a very tight election they may be critical.

Open to questions.

MODERATOR: Great. So just very briefly, in your press kits is the Florida report that Dr. Bergad referenced during his briefing. Let’s go ahead for questions.

QUESTION: Hi, professor. My name is Robert Poredos from Slovenian Press Agency. These numbers are very powerful, and I just have a short question. What the hell is Trump thinking then?

MR BERGAD: You got me. (Laughter.) Well, I mean, look, winning obviously – winning a primary election by appealing to the Republican base, as it’s called, is one thing. Taking this to the general election is something else. I think that xenophobic, ultra-nationalistic appeals resonate with particular sectors of the Republican base, but I don't think they’re going to resonate certainly with Latinos.

When you say you’re going to round up and deport 11 million people, that’s pretty scary. And what I think we’re going to see this year among Latinos in this election is a tick-up in registration rates and a tick-up in voter rates. That’s what I’ve been hearing, is that there’s large-scale registration going on. And so if it’s in Texas and California, it’s not going to mean much. If it’s in Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, it’s going to – it could be potentially decisive.

So what’s he thinking? Does he think, actually? Is there a thought process that occurs there or is just a mouth that – in any event, I don't have any specific opinions on him as a candidate.

QUESTION: Thank you. My name is Ahmed Fateh* from ATN News*. Very powerful presentation; numbers speak louder than words. But let me ask you, with the trend now or with the recent development in the Puerto Rico economic reprieve package that President Obama is suggesting and it has been rejected by a major contender, Bernie Sanders, will that cause a shift or a wash for the Puerto Rican voters in Florida and in other states?

MR BERGAD: My opinion is no. I think that Puerto Ricans in Florida and other states certainly pay attention to what’s going on on the island, but I think that their lives are stateside and I think that issues here in the United States are much more important than this bailout that’s been rejected and highly contentious for Puerto Rico. I think it’s dreadful, but my – you’re asking my opinion. I don't think it’s going to really affect the vote.

I think that the – I think that in – all the polling data that I’ve looked at is indicating that Trump’s declarations, his overtly racist and xenophobic declarations, are turning Latinos of all stripes off, I mean decisively. It’s not a sort of a well maybe. It’s a kind of a very, very decisive. We’ll see. Obama carried the national Latino vote by 71-29 in 2012. I think it’s going to be 75 to 80 percent in 2016.

MODERATOR: We have a question in D.C. Let’s go to D.C.

MR BERGAD: Okay.

MODERATOR: Please state your name and media affiliation.

QUESTION: Sure. It’s Alexander Panetta from the Canadian Press. Thanks for doing this. I just had a question about Prop 187, because obviously the California primary is in a couple weeks. Now there are conflicting theories as to whether that killed the Republican Party in California and whether or not it’s a canary in the coalmine for the party nationally. And obviously Pete Wilson’s got one opinion; other people have another. So I’d like to ask you, from your perspective, did Prop 187 play a determining role in flipping California into the blue category, and is it a canary in the coalmine for the Republican Party on a national (inaudible)?

MR BERGAD: I think – two factors. I think Prop 187, which was anti-immigrant, et. cetera, et. cetera is one factor. The other factor is the clear constant increase in the Latino population in the state of California and the constant increase in the number of voters who are Latino in the state of California. When you’ve got a voting bloc that’s 25 percent today, which was not that way back when Prop 187 was passed, that’s a pretty powerful group of people who are going to be decisive in the election.

Now, and I think that that same anti – the symbolism of Prop 187 and its anti-immigrant – I was going to say overtones, but it’s not overtones, it’s direct. I think it’s – you find a similar process today. But the real question becomes what occurs at the state level, you see. What occur – what’s going to occur in Florida? Florida’s going to be critical. The Dems win Florida; they win the presidency without question. And they can win the presidency even without winning Florida. I can’t see the Democrats losing Florida. Now, I’m going out on a limb here, because it was so tight in 2012, but there are more Latinos going to vote and more Latinos are going to vote Democratic. So if we don’t have hanging chads and this intervention of the Supreme Court, I think you’re going to see a Democratic victory in Florida.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Hi. Daisuke Nakai from the Asahi Shimbun. Thank you very much. Two questions. One, given that voter registration for Latinos nationally is flat, what is the difference, do you see, in states that have higher rates and lower rates? Is there any difference? Is something going on there?

And the second question is: Do you see Arizona coming into play at all, or is that too much?

MR BERGAD: Arizona may come into play. It’s going to come into play in 2020, I’ll tell you that. Texas is going to come into play in 2024 because of this demographic. But now let me go back to the question. Why do we have higher voter registration rates in particular states? There are fundamentally, I think, two factors we can point to – more than two, but I’m going to outline two.

One is the age structure of the electorate. Younger Latinos don’t register and vote. About 34 percent of all Latinos between the age of 18 and 24 vote, but where we have an older Latino population we have higher voter participation rates. And Florida is distinguished by the fact that we have a bit older demographic structure among Latinos, and so there is a positive correlation between age and registering. Older Latinos register more frequently than younger Latinos. Okay, that’s one thing.

Second thing is educational attainment. Educational attainment is critical. I had a slide here, but I was told to keep this to 15 minutes, which would have showed exactly voter participation rates by educational attainment. It’s a slope upwards – advanced degree has a 90 percent participation rate, high school degree has a very low participation rate. So where you have more educated Latinos, you’re going to have higher voter participation rates.

Now, I have looked at the – I have a report – I don’t think some of you have it there – with a great deal of detail on age structure and educational attainment levels among Florida Latinos. In fact, Florida Latinos have a higher educational attainment level than we find nationally, and I think that goes a long way toward explaining these higher registration and voter participation rates in Florida.

QUESTION: Hi. Francesca Forcella with Mediaset. There’s been a lot of talk of a mea culpa from Republican and the Republican establishment after 2012 election in order to include more Latinos, minorities and Latinos – this 100-pages memo and so forth.

MR BERGAD: Right.

QUESTION: What did go wrong with that before Trump?

MR BERGAD: Well, you can write memos and you can make pronouncements, but let’s look at the policy. Just look at policies. I mean, I think to do – champion ID laws for a voter, champion voter suppression – but let’s put it very clearly. Republican governors are attempting to suppress minority voters. Now, go and do that and expect support from them? I mean, obviously, this – I think these efforts, in my own opinion, by the Republican Party to give voice to supposed pro-Latino policies is utter nonsense. It’s complete hypocrisy and it doesn’t show with respect to policy.

And of course, I mean, I did make a facetious comment about Trump’s Make America White Again. What is going on with the Trump candidacy? Who’s voting for him? What’s their vision of the future? But more importantly, what is their vision of the past, you see? Do you know the percentage of the population that was white that voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980? Ronald Reagan was elected by an electorate that was over 90 percent white. The world has changed.

The word “conservative” is very interesting, isn’t it? What’s it mean, literally? Conserve. Don’t change. Keep things the way they were. Now, we live in a – in probably one of the most dynamically transformed societies in the world. We live in a society – do you know that 40 percent of the population of New York City is foreign-born, the highest level since the First World War? We live in a society that is constantly being transformed. The Republican Party is living in a dream world, a time warp, where they look at each and say hey yeah, let’s slap each other on the back. Well, you better go talk to the brothers on the block and you better go into Latino communities and you better be able to speak Spanish, and just because you have Marco Rubio and some whackaloid named Ted Cruz out there with Spanish surnames, that means nothing. There’s no resonance in Latino communities.

So here’s a political party which will win control over state legislatures in the future because of gerrymandered districts by Republican governors, but how they are ever going to win the presidency when 25 percent of all voters are minority? See the article in the Times today about Asians? How about Asians and opinions of Trump? One of the highest negative ratings of anyone.

So if you look at Latinos, you look at African Americans, you look at Asians, among other immigrant groups that vote when they acquire citizenship, you’re looking at a pretty staunchly and heavily pro – voters that are going to vote overwhelmingly Democratic. And if the Republican Party continues down this road, I don’t see a real national future for them, given the dynamic transformations taking place in U.S. society.

Again, Census Bureau says one in three voters, one in three Americans, are going to be Latino in 2050 – 2050’s right around the corner. I mean, in historical framework. So is this the last gasp of xenophobic nationalism among the Republican Party? I mean, the Republican Party, there’s no center anymore. They’re all Tea Partyers. They’re all rightwing parties on the European model. It’s not a surprise that in European countries we have these rightwing xenophobic parties, and we find them in the United States, which was supposed to have been immune to these kinds of political movements, but quite clearly alive and well.

QUESTION: Hello. Thanks for coming. Hajime Matsuura, Japan Sankei. Two questions, please. Could you educate us again – I wanted to hear your theory why Florida’s importance stands out among the other swing states. And have you ever seen any candidate winning the presidency without winning Florida post-war? And my second question is – question is: Are you for Sanders or Clinton?

MR BERGAD: (Laughter.) Personally?

QUESTION: Yeah.

MR BERGAD: Now, look, I don’t know. I’d have to Google that. Someone can Google that about whether a candidate has won the presidency. I think there have been candidates who won the presidency without winning Florida. But I think that what you have here, if you look at – if you go to an electoral map of the United States, I’ve seen – there are many different versions of them. But I think that the – basically most of the states that Obama – I think that there are clearly red states and clearly blue states, and that there’s not going to be much variation. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut are voting Democratic; California, Oregon, Washington are voting Democratic. Texas – they say Colorado’s a toss-up state; I don’t see it as a toss-up state. Obama won Colorado by 5 points in 2012. The Latino vote there went heavily for him. The Latino voting population of Colorado has grown.

So there are only a few real toss-up states here, and so the road to the White House for the Republicans is very, very, very, very narrow given the fact that they suffered a overwhelming defeat in the Electoral College in 2012. So that’s why Florida becomes so critical. It’s the largest quote/unquote “toss-up state.” And how Trump is going to take his message to Florida – well, he’s going to take his message to white Florida and hope that – I mean, we never know what’s going to happen. We don’t know what’s going to happen on voter turnout on Election Day, but that’s why it’s such a critical state, because of the fact of the way the electoral map has broken since 2008 with the rise of higher rates in participation by African Americans, higher rates of participation – or of more importance, higher numbers of Latino voters.

Now, I don’t know the answer to your other question. What do I think about Bernie Sanders? I think he’s overstayed his welcome. I mean, that’s clear. Look, whether you like Hillary, whether you’re a Hillary hater, whether you like Bernie, whether you don’t like Bernie, Bernie – Hillary’s won 12.6 million votes; Bernie’s won 9 million votes. What’s all the whining and moaning about? Nothing’s been rigged. When you win, in the United States, 55 percent of the vote, 60 percent of the vote, it’s considered a landslide. So I mean, people have spoken, and it’s time to stand down graciously instead of making threats. It’s my opinion. You asked my opinion, that’s my opinion.

Whether there will be a long-term impact in between now and November on Sanders’s repeatedly and more vicious attacks on Clinton, I don’t know. I mean, I read something this morning that said that the percentage of Clinton supporters in 2008 who said they wouldn’t vote for Obama was higher than the percentage of Sanders supporters now who say they won’t vote for Clinton.

So, I mean, what’s going to happen? People are going to have to make a choice, right? Is it the lesser of two evils? Maybe. Is it one candidate’s more qualified? Americans generally – and you never know what’s going to happen – don’t like extremes. They – 1964, Goldwater was destroyed by Johnson because he was an extremist. McGovern, of course, who was painted as an extremist in ’72, was also destroyed. I think he won one state. American voters tend to prefer the middle. And despite all of the crazy labeling of the Democratic Party as some leftist, socialist, liberal party, the Democratic Party is a right-center party in European terms. Those of you who are European journalists would certainly recognize this. This is not a left party. This is a right-center party. And it’s a right-center party or a centrist party that’s going to go up against an extremist party. And generally in American elections in the past, voters choose the center. Now, is there enough anti-establishment disgust with Washington to put a wacko like Trump in? Maybe. I doubt it. I highly doubt it.

And I don’t think you can pay any attention to the polls. By the way, when you read polling data, pay very close attention to the methodology used. When you see internet polling, don’t even pay attention to it, all right? Because the first thing I want to know – how many Latinos were in that poll, how many African Americans were in that poll, how many Asians were in that poll? All right? So you see all this polling among voters, and read the fine print. If it’s internet polling, it’s absolutely entirely meaningless. That’s not random polling.

So I think the sentiment is going to – my own opinion here – is going to shift decisively Democratic over the summer, and I think Trump is going to get trounced. I don’t think it’s going to be a close election. That’s my opinion. I could be wrong, not that I’m a political pundit; I just look at the numbers here.

MODERATOR: Thanks very much for your patience in D.C. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hello. I’m Juliano Basile from Valor Economico. It’s a Brazilian newspaper. Which do you think to be --

MR BERGAD: (In Portuguese.) (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Which do you think to be the most important issue for the Latino voters? Do you think it will be the economy, like in the general election? Or do you think the economy is going to be more important than racial issues for the Latino voters?

MR BERGAD: I think – look, in milieus of low wages, comparatively high unemployment rates, economics are always an issue to voters. But I think overwhelmingly the line has been drawn in the sand for Latinos in this election. There is a man saying that he is going to deport 11 million people and their descendants, who were born in the United States. He has threatened to deport American citizens. Last time I remember someone advocating deportation of massive numbers of people was in the 1930s, okay? Draw your own analogy. So I think that the stand on immigration, the stand on deportations, the ludicrous theatrical promise to build a wall along the Mexican border is so absurd and resonates among Latinos --

QUESTION: I think we lost – we lost the sound and the image. (Laughter.)

MR BERGAD: Oh, no. I have to repeat that whole thing? I haven’t memorized those lines yet. I don’t think – (in Portuguese) --

MODERATOR: We have a transcript that will be shared with everyone, so --

MR BERGAD: What do you want me to do here? Respond again? I said the major – are you still there? I think the feed went --

STAFF: Yeah, we don’t know what the problem --

MODERATOR: I think you should go ahead.

MR BERGAD: Okay, go ahead what?

MODERATOR: Let’s --

STAFF: Let’s move on.

MODERATOR: Let’s take the next question.

QUESTION: Yes, I have two questions. I come from --

QUESTION: We are off, sorry.

MODERATOR: Can you hear us in D.C.?

MR BERGAD: Can you hear me now?

QUESTION: Yeah. Now we hear. Yeah, now it’s okay. It’s okay now.

MR BERGAD: I’ll give a shortened version of that: I don’t think economic issues are going to be the primary concerns of Latino voters. They will be concerns. I think the major issue is immigration, the threat to deport 11 million people, including citizens of the United States – people who were born here, offspring. How far do you take that? Do you take that two generations? Do you take grandchildren and deport them as well? Family coherence is a very important issue among Latinos, whether they are documented or undocumented, and I think this is the major issue here that is going to motivate Latino voters to vote against Trump.

QUESTION: May I? Okay. Morning. I come from a Portuguese radio station. I’d like to know – you mentioned that this decline of the Republican voters in – Republican voters in Florida among Latinos, which is obvious according to the numbers, this is something that seems to be constant regardless the candidates that go into the polls, right? So let’s suppose that Jeb Bush would have gotten the Republican nomination. Would it matter? This was one part.

And the other part is this one: You seem to assume that all minorities vote or these minorities that you mentioned vote for Republicans, but minorities themselves also become more diverse. For example, there was a shift in the Cuban community in Florida, so they always become more diverse within themselves. So they – can we assume that over time the Republicans, since they keep this kind of political discourse, will always be minority because minorities will always vote against them? This was one part.

The other one, since you just mentioned it, about the methods of the polls: What about landline phone polls? Do you also trust them? Most of the polls that come out were done apparently through landline phones, which most people don’t have anymore. Is this a reliable kind of poll too?

MR BERGAD: Look, let me address your first question. What we know about Florida – you raise an interesting question: Had Bush been the candidate, right? All we’re doing is following the data over time. What we see with respect to registration – these are actual voter registrations – is that Republican voter registrations decline; Democratic and independent voter registrations increased among Latinos. All right.

Now, that doesn’t mean that they’re going to vote a particular way at the polls, especially independents. But there’s a very clear trend and tendency. There’s also a very clear trend and tendency among a huge bloc of Florida voters – Cubans, who are still 30 percent of voters – to vote Democratic. So the tendencies seem to be increasing.

Now, Bush may have been a sympathetic candidate in Florida, all right, because he was not for expelling 11 million people and their – and offspring. So this is a big hypothetical. Would he have had a chance to win Florida? Maybe. But I think clearly the extremism of Trump’s position is going to solidify Democratic voting among independents and among those registered as Democrats in the state of Florida. And as we saw, the participation rate is very high from a comparative point of view.

Now, we don’t know what the African American turnout is going to be in Florida. Let’s see if Mr. Obama’s going to produce the same kinds of numbers – which I doubt – that turned out at the polls for him in 2008, 2012. Maybe, maybe not. We don’t know what white voter turnout’s going to be. We don’t know what the – we know the voting population in Florida is concentrated in central Florida corridor and in Miami-Dade and West Palm Beach counties. There’s where your large concentrations of voters are. So anything could happen. Turnout’s going to be key. But certainly with a candidate like Trump, the tendencies and registration rates – the tendencies and preference rates – are clearly – point to a Democratic sweep of the Latino vote in Florida, much greater than the 60-40 break for Obama in 2012.

QUESTION: What about the landline polls?

MR BERGAD: Look, I don’t have any opinion. I don’t do polling. My center – we analyze data. We don’t do polling. But I think it’s a major issue. My question in any poll I read is: What percentage of your respondents were Latino, what percentage of your respondents were African American, what percentage of your respondents were Asian, what percentage of your respondents were women – because women vote more often than men. And I didn’t bring that up, by the way, the whole issue of sex among Latinos. About 52, 53 percent of registered Latino voters are female. That’s another reason why they’re going to probably favor the Democratic candidate as well in 2016.

QUESTION: Hi, I’m Morten Bertelsen with Norway’s business daily. Thank you for this presentation; it’s very interesting. I was curious about Marco Rubio. He – on paper he looked like the perfect candidate for the --

MR BERGAD: For who?

QUESTION: For the Republicans. So what happened? And he also lost handily in his home state, Florida. I think he only won Miami-Dade, and --

MR BERGAD: Well, I think at the end of the day, voters are sometimes responding to issues. And I think Trump was – has such a powerful, visceral appeal to those who participate in primaries. Plus keep in mind – let’s not exaggerate this. Ten percent of eligible Republican voters voted in primaries, all right. Who is that 10 percent? Who does he mobilize? I mean, I don’t want to be facetious here, but someone did a study of the districts that Trump carried heavily and found the lowest educational attainment rates of – from a comparative point of view and – again, I don’t want to offend anyone here, but hey, why not? – the highest number of trailers per capita than in any other place.

So I mean, I – who does he – who is appealing to? I think Trump appeals to various constituencies. I think he appeals to people who are fed up with Washington and gridlock. And Trump’s false promises of being a messiah who’s going to somehow break that, I think people – but I think that also there’s a huge amount of resentment at the bottom by people who have not seen real wages increase, have seen wages stagnate, or have remained unemployed or near unemployed, and who don’t have an explanation for this. But all demagogues seek simplistic explanations, right? “Those Latinos, those Mexicans are taking away your jobs. Let’s build a wall. Oh, yeah, hey.” Or the racism that has been directed against the Obama presidency.

Now, you – one thing about Mr. Trump, I mean, he’s out there. After Obama won a resounding victory in 2012, Trump made a public statement: “We shouldn’t permit this to stand. We should march on Washington and reverse this.” He actually said that. Trump was a – continued with the birther movement. He was the lone force that continued the birther movement, that – questioning Obama’s credentials. I mean, he appeals to a particular sector of the population that, unfortunately, most societies harbor, and we are not one that’s immune to that.

QUESTION: I was also thinking in terms of mobilization, right? So if Latinos were to mobilize around the candidates, Marco Rubio would be the perfect candidate. And they didn’t in Florida.

MR BERGAD: Why?

QUESTION: Why not?

MR BERGAD: Well, I don’t think that his policies were that very different from the rightwing Republican mainstream on a whole variety of issues here. Now, I think there would have been some attraction because of – he was a lot more humane on the issue of immigration, but this is a big hypothetical. And so these candidates, at the end of the day, follow Republican doctrine. And Republican doctrine is an anti-progressive, extreme rightwing, and at the end of the day I think Latinos see that and I think they’d have rejected Rubio. What would have happened in Florida? Good question. Good question. Don’t have any answer.

QUESTION: Hi. It’s Robert Poredos again. But Trump has been known to change his opinion and stance as it suits him. So – but – so in a month we might see that “I was just joking about the wall and that stuff.” So you think that can sway Latino voters? And in that connection, do you think making a vice presidential pick can impact the vote on the Republican or Democratic side?

MR BERGAD: I – well, I think – look, you haven’t even begun to see the commercials. The Clinton PACs are going to go out there. I mean, this man has said the most outrageous things about the wall, about deportation, over and over and over again, all right? So he can change whatever he says publicly; it’s just going to make him look like the flip-flopper that Americans disdain. And so I’d – I don’t – he’s not escaping what’s come out of his mouth, all right? The viciousness that has come out of that man’s mouth, directed towards minorities and immigrants and Latinos. There ain’t no way. He can – I don’t care who he – he can name the Pope to be his running mate, and those commercials are still going to be run. And you’re going to – every Latino community in Spanish is going to see exactly all of his vitriol launched against their community. So I --

QUESTION: So the Democrat doesn’t need to pick a – what’s it called – vice president in order to get those people?

MR BERGAD: I don’t think so. I don’t think so. I think it may – might mobilize people. If Julio Castro or – Julian Castro is an interesting young guy, maybe. I don’t know. I mean --

MODERATOR: Let’s go to D.C.

QUESTION: Hi. It’s Alex Panetta again from the Canadian Press. And let’s hope we don’t lose you this time, because that last answer sounded very promising. So the counterpoint that the Trumpists have made to the demographic case that you’ve just laid out is that there are still enough disaffected white people in Appalachia to maybe flip Ohio and Pennsylvania, and that you could do the same thing in Michigan. What’s your counterargument to that counterargument? Is there statistical – like a sort of a catch-call counterpoint that you’d make to say no, there aren’t enough angry white people in these states to win the election?

MR BERGAD: Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t have the answer. But he’d better do well among women, among angry white women, is all I can tell you, because women vote more frequently than men. And his misogynist declarations which will be repeated over and over again in Ohio and in Pennsylvania and in Appalachia, are probably likely to push a lot of women toward the Democratic camp.

Now, who was the last Democratic candidate to win the white vote in the United States? Democrats don’t win white votes. They don’t need to win white votes in a country that is demographically being transformed. So I don’t have a counterargument for you, but I do think that Mr. Trump is – has and is going to have a bigger problem when the campaign starts with women. He is a blatant misogynist. He can call Hillary an enabler all he wants. His own history, his own personal behavior, is going to be, I think, a major, major detriment to winning a majority of white women voters in these particular regions. And that’s probably going to be enough to keep Ohio and Pennsylvania in Democratic hands.

You asked for my opinion. That’s what I think. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Thanks.

QUESTION: Thanks.

QUESTION: Anna Lombardi, La Repubblica, the Italian daily La Repubblica. Are Democrats Latinos as divided as we have seen all around U.S.? I mean, what’s going to happen in California? Is Sanders going to win?

And then do you see possible a Latino VP for Hillary?

MR BERGAD: Well, someone asked me that before. I have no idea. I really don’t follow who’s going to be the vice presidential pick. I think that obviously her collective advisors, which are very, very deep, are going to be looking at particular places where votes can be garnered in swing states. And I don’t think it’s going to be Bernie because I don’t think he’s going to push any state one way or another.

Now, as far as California is concerned, I didn’t really catch the gist of your question. I don’t know if you were talking about a divided legislature. That’s another major problem because of voter turnout in midterm elections. The voter turnout among Latinos in midterm elections is dismal. If 48 percent of Latinos voted in the last presidential election, about a third voted in midterm elections. Latinos and others are not motivated to vote, and so that is one of the reasons why you see Congress in a very different hue, if you want, than you find during presidential elections.

I mean, the interesting thing – one of the interesting dynamics of this election will obviously be to see how senatorial and congressional races play out. Will Hillary’s coattails, to use a term we use in elections, change the Senate to Democratic? And they’re talking about the possibility of the House, although I think that’s far-fetched. But if Democrats increase their seats in the House, then maybe governmental gridlock can be broken.

So this is a big election. This is a huge election. This is one of the biggest elections in the history of the United States for three reasons: Supreme Court justice, Supreme Court justice, Supreme Court justice. Three Supreme Court justices will be named by the next president, and they will shape the face of American law for a long time into the future, especially if they’re young. And where you find this madness that has occurred within the Supreme Court of overturning voter rights acts, this is big. God forbid or the deities forbid, past and present, all religious systems, that Mr. Trump gets to name three Supreme Court justices, because Roe v. Wade will be overturned, right? The anti-immigrant, the voter suppression legislation that is pending will come into effect, et cetera, et cetera. I think it will be a cataclysm for the United States for progressive people, for women, for minorities. So this is a big election.

QUESTION: Just a follow-up. At the start of your presentation you said that California is pretty much expected to vote Democrat, and so as – the situation in Texas, what about the announcement by the Bush presidents, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush, and that Jeb Bush, that they’re not going to attend the convention? Other key Republican figures in other states – Mitt Romney said the same; John McCain still sitting on the fence, as usual, whether to go to the convention or not to go to the convention, and his eye on the elections because of the situation of the Latinos in his state. Will that lead at one point to deterrence by the white – typical white voters that usually go out to vote in these states, the turnout for them?

MR BERGAD: Well, you’ve heard the saying “rats abandoning a sinking ship”? In any event, I think that this is obviously of extraordinary importance that mainstream Republican leaders are basically saying this guy is too far out there for us to be affiliated and associated with him. I don’t think elected officials have that luxury, but I think that’s the conventional wisdom. I think the conventional wisdom among the Republican Party, irrespective of the polls that you see today that see a tightening of the race, is that this is going to be a landslide, that this is going to be a disaster for them. And they want to be – they not only want to dissociate themselves from that, but they want to dissociate themselves from the extremist policies which they know very well can never appeal to the American middle or to minorities. And so I think that is of extraordinary importance.

What will happen on Election Day? How this will impact – will voters sit down and say, “Oh my God, former governors – former Presidents Bush didn’t endorse, didn’t attend the convention?” I don’t know that that’ll be that big an issue. But symbolically, I think it tells us a great deal about the state of the Republican Party today. This is a party that is disintegrating, it’s in disarray. And what’s going to happen to it in the future? Are they going to continue to embrace the rightwing – I mean, I don’t know, how do they escape their – I mean, how do they escape their own rhetoric? How does the Republican Party backtrack on all the extremist positions that so many candidates – not simply Mr. Trump – have taken? After all, isn’t Mr. Trump the creation of all of the vitriol, the venom directed against Obama, the racist hatred that so many Republicans have harbored against Mr. Obama? Isn’t Mr. Trump the creation of that?

Say it a hundred times, say it a hundred times, along comes a guy like that, a demagogue who’s well financed, and guess what? Your prophecies have come true. Sometimes when your wishes come true, it’s not exactly the nirvana that you thought was going to happen. So what’s going to happen when you find that you – you’re talking about a – mainstream former presidents not wanting to have anything to do with this.

But where’s that party going in the future? Really, where’s it going? Where’s it going to go now? “Oh, we didn’t mean all that.” And you think the Latino vote’s going to be important in Florida this election? Wait ‘til the next election, and the one after that. And Texas is going to go Democratic one day because of the Latino vote. Only 55 percent of Latinos in Texas were registered to vote. And this is the second highest electorate there. What happens when you bump that up to 60 percent, if you’re able to do that, and that population continues to increase? Arizona. Georgia is fascinating. I mean, I hate to quote polls, because I just said don’t believe them, right? But one poll saw Trump only four points ahead in Georgia. Latinos are going to be about 4 percent of the electorate in Georgia. The Latino population in Georgia has increased from about 200,000 in 1990 to over a million today. Places where you didn’t have Latinos before, they’re going to play a role.

Southeastern United States – North Carolina, North Carolina. A million Latinos. They were 1 percent of the state’s population in 1990; they’re 10 percent of the state’s population today. What’s going to happen in the future to a state like North Carolina? You see?

So these states where you have Latino voter populations growing and political participation increasing – interesting to see what’s going to happen in the future.

MODERATOR: Okay, we’re going to take the last two questions. We’re going to give it to Diego and Bukola.

QUESTION: Thank you. I believe you were talking about the Latino vote earlier today in Florida.

MR BERGAD: Yeah, I was.

QUESTION: The importance of people that support Trump, not just – the Latinos that support Trump – I want to know more about Latinos that support Trump outside Florida. This election, from what I’ve seen – I’ve covered only two presidential elections in this country, and I’ve seen the Latino vote kind of desegregating into different tendencies, as in – I don’t know if that’s the word exactly, but not being as united as it was before.

MR BERGAD: Well, you’ve seen two presidential elections here – over 70 percent of Latinos in each of those presidential elections have voted for Obama. So I don’t – and 60 – as I – you missed the presentation on Florida here, you weren’t here. What I said was that each presidential electoral cycle in Florida, a greater number, greater percentage of Latinos are supporting Democratic candidates.

So, the Latinos supporting Trump, there are some. How many? Very small – 25 percent, probably less; 29 percent voted – 29 percent of Latinos nationally voted for Romney in 2012, 29 percent. Now, he was perceived as a moderate, traditional conservative candidate, and now you have clearly an extremist. Anti-immigrant policies is one of the bedrocks of his stump speeches. I can’t see any movement in the other direction of Latinos toward Trump at all. I don’t see that as a possibility.

QUESTION: Yes, thank you. This is very powerful and informative. So my name is Bukola Shonuga, I’m with African Views. So do you see a shift away from the party system in terms of Republican or Democrat in the near future? Because people are sort of talking out there about this is time for something different. If people are voting on issues, does it have to do Republican or Democrat, or is there something in between or nothing at all?

MR BERGAD: It’ll be interesting to see. I think there is a history in the United States of third-party – third political parties developing. After all, the Republican Party when it was founded before the 1860 election was a third party, okay? And I think that there’s enough – I can’t predict the future, I don’t have a crystal ball. With Latinos I can do a little predicting, but – and if I could predict the future, I – you think I’d be here talking to you people? I’d be out right – I’m just being facetious here.

But look, I think there’s a possibility of a third party. I think there’s an extraordinary amount of dissatisfaction, obviously, that the Trump candidacy is indicative of. There’s a disgust with Washington politicians. It doesn’t reach the degree that we find in Latin America. I happen to be a Latin American specialist and I’m familiar with the political scenes in Latin American countries, where you have issues of corruption that make people so disgusted. But people are disgusted with this inability to get things done, this constant bickering, constant fighting, constant quarreling. Americans like consensus, and I think that one of the problems that the Republican Party has is they’ve not been willing to compromise. Politics – I don’t have to lecture you about politics – it’s all about “Let’s make a deal.” That’s what it is – something like marriage. Let’s make a deal, let’s compromise. You’re responsible for governing. When SenatorMcConnell makes a statement and says, “Our one goal is to make sure that President Obama is not re-elected,” why doesn’t he talk about governing the country? How about that? So I think that you have a disgust in the general public, and I don’t think it’s quite understood. I think people tend to blame both Republicans and Democrats equally, but that – where that’s going to lead will be very interesting.

And I think that if Hillary is elected – and I think she will be – what’s she going to do in the next four years? She’s a very capable politician. I’m not a Hillary hater and I’m not a Hillary lover, but one of the things I do when I analyze the Clinton candidacy is look at her career in the Senate. She was an extraordinarily productive senator for eight years. She was very well-liked by Republicans. She reached across the aisle, she worked with Republicans, she was instrumental in getting legislation passed. She was very, very effective and very well-liked in the Senate.

Now, if you find a leader that is able to re-establish the tradition of compromise in American politics and “Let’s make a deal,” Americans may have a very different view of the political system in 2020. We don’t know what’s going to happen. The Republicans have made it their life’s goal to sabotage every single thing that Mr. Obama has proposed. That’s their agenda. He says you’re black; they say no, you’re white. He says this – I mean, that’s been their goal. Are they going to do this in a Clinton presidency? I don’t know. I don’t know. But if you get – you could get what I refer to as the re-establishment of legitimacy of the two-party system if it functions. If it continues along this road, I think you very well may see the rise of a third party.

MODERATOR: Sorry, we’re officially out of time. I want to thank Dr. Bergad for coming today, and it goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway: His opinions are his own and don’t represent the views of the U.S. Government. (Laughter.)

MR BERGAD: What opinions are you referring to here?

MODERATOR: The – today’s briefing was on the record. A transcript will be available later today on our website, and I will email it out to all of you. And with that, thank you very much for coming.

 

# # #FOREIGN PRESS CENTER BRIEFING WITH DR. LAIRD BERGAD, DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR AT LEHMAN COLLEGE AND THE GRADUATE CENTER OF THE CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK

TOPIC: RACE TO THE WHITE HOUSE: FOCUS ON THE LATINO ELECTORATE

TUESDAY, MAY 24, 2016, 12:30 P.M. EDT

NEW YORK FOREIGN PRESS CENTER, 799 UNITED NATIONS PLAZA, 10TH FLOOR

MODERATOR: So, good afternoon, everyone. We’re very pleased to welcome Dr. Laird Bergad to the New York Foreign Press Center. Dr. Bergad is a distinguished professor at Lehman College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He’s also the founder and director of the Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies at the Graduate Center. Thanks to everyone in this room for attending today and to those in D.C. who are joining us via digital video conference.

I have a few housekeeping items before we begin. We can’t share the presentation today, so please take notes as you wish throughout the briefing. Also, please take the opportunity to silence your phones, and at the conclusion of Dr. Bergad’s remarks, the floor will be open for questions. Please state your name and media affiliation and wait for the microphone, and for those in D.C., please step to the podium and we’ll recognize you in time.

Today’s briefing is on the record, and with that, let me welcome Dr. Bergad to the podium. Thank you very much.

MR BERGAD: Thank you. Welcome, everybody. All right, I’m going to present to you a dizzying array of data – graphs and charts – that would put any mere mortal to sleep just upon an initial visual observation. But what I want to stress here is that the data itself is simply part of a story, and what I’m going to do is tell you a story that’s data-based. And we’re going to try to make it as interesting as possible, and it’s going to obviously focus on the Latino vote in the 2016 election.

First graph. This is a graph that depicts the growth of the Latino population of the United States between 1980 and 2014 when the last reliable census data are available. We can see that this growth has been meteoric, from close to 15 million Latinos in 1980 to over 55 million Latinos in 2014 – from 6.5 percent of the overall population to nearly 18 percent of the population today. The Census Bureau projects that by 2050, Latinos will comprise about one in every three Americans. That is quite impressive.

Now, let’s look at the political impact. These – red line here shows you the number of eligible Latino voters. I am projecting that in this election there will be 28 million eligible Latino voters, but that only 16 million will register and some 13 million will vote, so we’re looking at a voting population that has increased from 4 million back in 1992 all the way up to 13 million today, and that means a very important role in national politics.

Percentage of overall voters – I think what you’ll probably want to focus on is this green line here. We are projecting that in this election – and I think this may be an underestimate – about 10 percent of all votes cast – that are going to be cast in November of 2016 – are going to be Latino votes, and that has increased meteorically from 1992, when it was less than 4 percent. So demographic increase has translated into a presence at the ballot box which is critical, and I’m going to show you how critical that is.

The electorate – now, as all of you know, Latino – the United States has a system whereby we really have state elections rather than national elections, and the Latino electorate – that is, those who are citizens 18 years of age and older and eligible to vote – are highly concentrated in these nine states. You can see that California alone has almost 27 percent of eligible Latino voters just in one state. Throw in Texas, you have about 45, 46 percent of all eligible voters are in two states.

That’s important to take note of for the simple reason that we know the way these states are going to vote in this next election. California is going to go Democratic; Obama carried California by 23 percent in 2012. There is no reason to think that Mr. Trump even has a chance in California. We’ll go out on a limb on that one. And we can also say with pretty much certainty that Texas is going to go Republican. I’d say that in about three more presidential election cycles, with the growth of the Hispanic vote there, that may not be such a given – the point being here the Latino vote is concentrated in these two states, and these are not going to be contested, really. We know which way they’re going to go. So, 45 percent of Latinos are in states that are – contribute to particular outcomes.

Florida, another story. I’m going to devote a last part of this presentation on Florida and show you why Florida is going to be critical to this election and why the Latino vote is the most – probably most critical swing vote in the state. We’re going to get to that later on. New York, Arizona – you can see the numbers here; they’re pretty clear. Nine states, 80 percent of all Latino voters. So when we look at Latinos as a national presence, we’re really looking at presence in specific states of the United States.

Well, that was the good news. Here’s the bad news. The good news that we have continual growth over time; the bad news is that Latinos have the lowest voter participation rate of any major race and ethnic group in the United States, and that’s been the case since 1992. Forty-eight percent of eligible Latino voters have gone to the polls nationally 1992 all the way up to 2012. This is a flat line. Nothing has changed. And so Latino political power has been exerted because of demographic increase, but imagine if Latinos voted at the same rate as non-Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic whites. Two-thirds non-Hispanic blacks, non-Hispanic whites who were eligible to vote voted in the election of 2012. Only 48 percent of Latinos.

Something’s wrong. Why don’t Latinos vote? Here’s why. It’s not that they don’t vote. It’s that they don’t register to vote. Every major institution throws up their hands and say Latinos don’t vote. We were the first one to publish a report with CNN en Espanol which pointed out that voting was not the problem, registration was the problem. We hear about voter registration drives over and again, yet only 58 percent of eligible Latino voters were registered in 1992. That has not changed one iota all the way up through 2012. So this is the lowest voter registration rate of any of the major racial and ethnic groups. Let’s look at non-Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic whites. Nearly three-quarters register to vote.

Latinos don’t register to vote. Why not? Mysterious question not revealed by the data that I examine, which are government statistics, but I think that there’s generally been a failure of voter registration drives despite the enormous publicity that they have received in the media. We can talk about this later.

Those were national-level statistics. These data show registration rates by different states. Now, you’ll notice that Virginia, which has a very small Latino population, only about 3 percent of the electorate, had a voter registration rate that was analogous to those of non-Hispanic whites and blacks, but let’s focus on Florida because this is the big enchilada here. Seventy-two percent of Latinos in Florida were registered to vote in 2012, and I am projecting that 75 or more percent will be registered to vote in 2016. And that is why Florida is so critical and that’s why the Hispanic vote is so critical. Again, we’ll get to that.

So the national level of registration at 58 percent does not hold true in particular states. Texas, California, ironically, the biggest states with the biggest Latino populations, have some of the lowest and below the national average level of voter registration.

Let’s turn to Florida. You can read the narrative or you can listen to me talk about it. Look, Florida and its 29 electoral votes are going to be the key to this election. And as written on the board, conventional wisdom has it that there’s not a Republican candidate in the world, I don’t care who it is, who can win the presidency without winning Florida. And no Republican, or Democrat for that matter, can win Florida without winning a substantial share of the Latino vote. And I’m going to show you why.

Obama carried the state by a sliver in 2012, less than 1 percent. Latinos, according to exit polls, voted 60 percent for Obama, 40 percent for Romney. The key to winning Florida may be the Latino vote, and it’s highly unlikely that Mr. Trump, with his Make America White Again routine, will be able to carry Latinos, for obvious reasons.

All right, let’s look at Florida. Let’s look at the increasing Latino population of Florida. Now a quarter of all Floridians are Latino. This is not voters. This is the overall population, doubling as a percentage from 1990 in the last 25 years. This is going to continue to increase, by the way. This was the reconquest, the Reconquista for those of you who speak Spanish, of Florida, quite clearly.

The electorate increased enormously as well. Nineteen percent of all potential voters in the state of Florida as of 2014 were Latino, having grown enormously from 1990. All right, so Latinos have arrived. Registration rates, as we spoke about before, very high in comparative perspective to other states. So Latinos in Florida vote. We’re projecting – and I said this before – 75, 76 percent of Latinos will be registered to vote in the state of Florida, unlike is the case in many of the other states that we have seen. Nearly two-thirds of eligible Latinos will cast their ballots in the 2016 election. You see how that has increased? Every electoral cycle, more – a high – greater percentage of Latinos are participating, and we certainly expect that to be the case in this election.

I am projecting, based on statistical models that I’ve developed, that the Latino vote will be about 20 percent of all ballots cast in Florida in November of 2016. Notice how the Latino vote has increased, okay, constantly. And it’s going to keep increasing as well. All right.

Who are these Latinos anyways? Not all Latinos are the same, meaning they come from different national origins. And Florida has always been identified with the Cuban vote, and Cubans have always been very conservative and always supported, or at least did, support Republican candidates.

But look what has happened to Florida. There has been a demographic transformation in the national composition of the Florida electorate. Cubans back in 1990 were close to half of all voters. They’re now less than – or a part of the electorate. They’re now 30 percent. Puerto Ricans are about just as many Puerto Rican voters in Florida as there are Cuban voters. This is extraordinarily important, as we’ll see in a moment. Mexican voters are the second – or the third, excuse me, largest group in the state. Then there is an eclectic mixture of different nationalities, which, if I put them all on this graph, would be so convoluted we wouldn’t even be able to understand any of it.

Now, let’s look at Cubans, the traditional bastion of Republican voters in Florida. Boy, have Cubans changed, because there’s been a generational shift. Now, according to exit poll data, back in 2000, 25 percent of Florida Cubans voted for Gore in the stolen election of 2000, all right? Forty-eight percent voted Democratic in 2012. This is a titanic shift in political sentiments, and we’re going to see it manifest in other data momentarily here.

So the Cuban vote, 30 percent of the electorate in – or actual voters in Florida, moving Democratic very clearly because of generational change. Younger Cubans don’t have the same political attitudes that their parents and grandparents had. They’re less likely to vote Republican, and I would suspect that in 2012 you’re going to see more than half of the Cuban vote go Democratic, maybe substantially more.

According to exit polls, if Cubans voted 48 percent Democratic, look at all of the other groups heavily favoring Obama in 2012. This is in the state of Florida only, and I think we can surmise and project that support for the Democratic candidate, because of the anti-immigrant policies of Mr. Trump, is going to be even greater than this. Latinos are going to break a lot more than 60-40 for the Democratic candidate, and that is going to make it nearly impossible for Mr. Trump to carry the state of Florida or to win the presidency. You heard that here.

We have data from the Florida secretary of state on political party registration rates. This is scientific data. These are actual registered voters. Now let’s look at our Republicans. Back in 2006, when data on race and ethnicity was collected in Florida, 37 percent of all registered voters – Latino voters – were Republicans. Look where that’s gone as of 2014. Registered Republican voters among Latinos have gone down. Registered Democratic voters have gone up. But what’s really the key thing is the increase in independents. In other words, we look at voter registration lists and it’s no longer a Republican state for Latinos.

That’s a – I was told to keep this brief to the point we could talk about other states if you want. Let me make one more comment here before I finish here. There are swing states, such as North Carolina, which Romney won by 2 percent; Ohio, which Obama won by about 4 or 5 percent; Pennsylvania, which Obama won handily in 2012, which have very small Latino populations – 4 or 5 percent, 3 percent of the public. But in razor-thin elections, state elections, they may be critical. North Carolina is one state. Pennsylvania is another state. Ohio is another state. Virginia is another state. Only 3 percent of the voters are Latinos, but in a very tight election they may be critical.

Open to questions.

MODERATOR: Great. So just very briefly, in your press kits is the Florida report that Dr. Bergad referenced during his briefing. Let’s go ahead for questions.

QUESTION: Hi, professor. My name is Robert Poredos from Slovenian Press Agency. These numbers are very powerful, and I just have a short question. What the hell is Trump thinking then?

MR BERGAD: You got me. (Laughter.) Well, I mean, look, winning obviously – winning a primary election by appealing to the Republican base, as it’s called, is one thing. Taking this to the general election is something else. I think that xenophobic, ultra-nationalistic appeals resonate with particular sectors of the Republican base, but I don't think they’re going to resonate certainly with Latinos.

When you say you’re going to round up and deport 11 million people, that’s pretty scary. And what I think we’re going to see this year among Latinos in this election is a tick-up in registration rates and a tick-up in voter rates. That’s what I’ve been hearing, is that there’s large-scale registration going on. And so if it’s in Texas and California, it’s not going to mean much. If it’s in Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, it’s going to – it could be potentially decisive.

So what’s he thinking? Does he think, actually? Is there a thought process that occurs there or is just a mouth that – in any event, I don't have any specific opinions on him as a candidate.

QUESTION: Thank you. My name is Ahmed Fateh* from ATN News*. Very powerful presentation; numbers speak louder than words. But let me ask you, with the trend now or with the recent development in the Puerto Rico economic reprieve package that President Obama is suggesting and it has been rejected by a major contender, Bernie Sanders, will that cause a shift or a wash for the Puerto Rican voters in Florida and in other states?

MR BERGAD: My opinion is no. I think that Puerto Ricans in Florida and other states certainly pay attention to what’s going on on the island, but I think that their lives are stateside and I think that issues here in the United States are much more important than this bailout that’s been rejected and highly contentious for Puerto Rico. I think it’s dreadful, but my – you’re asking my opinion. I don't think it’s going to really affect the vote.

I think that the – I think that in – all the polling data that I’ve looked at is indicating that Trump’s declarations, his overtly racist and xenophobic declarations, are turning Latinos of all stripes off, I mean decisively. It’s not a sort of a well maybe. It’s a kind of a very, very decisive. We’ll see. Obama carried the national Latino vote by 71-29 in 2012. I think it’s going to be 75 to 80 percent in 2016.

MODERATOR: We have a question in D.C. Let’s go to D.C.

MR BERGAD: Okay.

MODERATOR: Please state your name and media affiliation.

QUESTION: Sure. It’s Alexander Panetta from the Canadian Press. Thanks for doing this. I just had a question about Prop 187, because obviously the California primary is in a couple weeks. Now there are conflicting theories as to whether that killed the Republican Party in California and whether or not it’s a canary in the coalmine for the party nationally. And obviously Pete Wilson’s got one opinion; other people have another. So I’d like to ask you, from your perspective, did Prop 187 play a determining role in flipping California into the blue category, and is it a canary in the coalmine for the Republican Party on a national (inaudible)?

MR BERGAD: I think – two factors. I think Prop 187, which was anti-immigrant, et. cetera, et. cetera is one factor. The other factor is the clear constant increase in the Latino population in the state of California and the constant increase in the number of voters who are Latino in the state of California. When you’ve got a voting bloc that’s 25 percent today, which was not that way back when Prop 187 was passed, that’s a pretty powerful group of people who are going to be decisive in the election.

Now, and I think that that same anti – the symbolism of Prop 187 and its anti-immigrant – I was going to say overtones, but it’s not overtones, it’s direct. I think it’s – you find a similar process today. But the real question becomes what occurs at the state level, you see. What occur – what’s going to occur in Florida? Florida’s going to be critical. The Dems win Florida; they win the presidency without question. And they can win the presidency even without winning Florida. I can’t see the Democrats losing Florida. Now, I’m going out on a limb here, because it was so tight in 2012, but there are more Latinos going to vote and more Latinos are going to vote Democratic. So if we don’t have hanging chads and this intervention of the Supreme Court, I think you’re going to see a Democratic victory in Florida.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Hi. Daisuke Nakai from the Asahi Shimbun. Thank you very much. Two questions. One, given that voter registration for Latinos nationally is flat, what is the difference, do you see, in states that have higher rates and lower rates? Is there any difference? Is something going on there?

And the second question is: Do you see Arizona coming into play at all, or is that too much?

MR BERGAD: Arizona may come into play. It’s going to come into play in 2020, I’ll tell you that. Texas is going to come into play in 2024 because of this demographic. But now let me go back to the question. Why do we have higher voter registration rates in particular states? There are fundamentally, I think, two factors we can point to – more than two, but I’m going to outline two.

One is the age structure of the electorate. Younger Latinos don’t register and vote. About 34 percent of all Latinos between the age of 18 and 24 vote, but where we have an older Latino population we have higher voter participation rates. And Florida is distinguished by the fact that we have a bit older demographic structure among Latinos, and so there is a positive correlation between age and registering. Older Latinos register more frequently than younger Latinos. Okay, that’s one thing.

Second thing is educational attainment. Educational attainment is critical. I had a slide here, but I was told to keep this to 15 minutes, which would have showed exactly voter participation rates by educational attainment. It’s a slope upwards – advanced degree has a 90 percent participation rate, high school degree has a very low participation rate. So where you have more educated Latinos, you’re going to have higher voter participation rates.

Now, I have looked at the – I have a report – I don’t think some of you have it there – with a great deal of detail on age structure and educational attainment levels among Florida Latinos. In fact, Florida Latinos have a higher educational attainment level than we find nationally, and I think that goes a long way toward explaining these higher registration and voter participation rates in Florida.

QUESTION: Hi. Francesca Forcella with Mediaset. There’s been a lot of talk of a mea culpa from Republican and the Republican establishment after 2012 election in order to include more Latinos, minorities and Latinos – this 100-pages memo and so forth.

MR BERGAD: Right.

QUESTION: What did go wrong with that before Trump?

MR BERGAD: Well, you can write memos and you can make pronouncements, but let’s look at the policy. Just look at policies. I mean, I think to do – champion ID laws for a voter, champion voter suppression – but let’s put it very clearly. Republican governors are attempting to suppress minority voters. Now, go and do that and expect support from them? I mean, obviously, this – I think these efforts, in my own opinion, by the Republican Party to give voice to supposed pro-Latino policies is utter nonsense. It’s complete hypocrisy and it doesn’t show with respect to policy.

And of course, I mean, I did make a facetious comment about Trump’s Make America White Again. What is going on with the Trump candidacy? Who’s voting for him? What’s their vision of the future? But more importantly, what is their vision of the past, you see? Do you know the percentage of the population that was white that voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980? Ronald Reagan was elected by an electorate that was over 90 percent white. The world has changed.

The word “conservative” is very interesting, isn’t it? What’s it mean, literally? Conserve. Don’t change. Keep things the way they were. Now, we live in a – in probably one of the most dynamically transformed societies in the world. We live in a society – do you know that 40 percent of the population of New York City is foreign-born, the highest level since the First World War? We live in a society that is constantly being transformed. The Republican Party is living in a dream world, a time warp, where they look at each and say hey yeah, let’s slap each other on the back. Well, you better go talk to the brothers on the block and you better go into Latino communities and you better be able to speak Spanish, and just because you have Marco Rubio and some whackaloid named Ted Cruz out there with Spanish surnames, that means nothing. There’s no resonance in Latino communities.

So here’s a political party which will win control over state legislatures in the future because of gerrymandered districts by Republican governors, but how they are ever going to win the presidency when 25 percent of all voters are minority? See the article in the Times today about Asians? How about Asians and opinions of Trump? One of the highest negative ratings of anyone.

So if you look at Latinos, you look at African Americans, you look at Asians, among other immigrant groups that vote when they acquire citizenship, you’re looking at a pretty staunchly and heavily pro – voters that are going to vote overwhelmingly Democratic. And if the Republican Party continues down this road, I don’t see a real national future for them, given the dynamic transformations taking place in U.S. society.

Again, Census Bureau says one in three voters, one in three Americans, are going to be Latino in 2050 – 2050’s right around the corner. I mean, in historical framework. So is this the last gasp of xenophobic nationalism among the Republican Party? I mean, the Republican Party, there’s no center anymore. They’re all Tea Partyers. They’re all rightwing parties on the European model. It’s not a surprise that in European countries we have these rightwing xenophobic parties, and we find them in the United States, which was supposed to have been immune to these kinds of political movements, but quite clearly alive and well.

QUESTION: Hello. Thanks for coming. Hajime Matsuura, Japan Sankei. Two questions, please. Could you educate us again – I wanted to hear your theory why Florida’s importance stands out among the other swing states. And have you ever seen any candidate winning the presidency without winning Florida post-war? And my second question is – question is: Are you for Sanders or Clinton?

MR BERGAD: (Laughter.) Personally?

QUESTION: Yeah.

MR BERGAD: Now, look, I don’t know. I’d have to Google that. Someone can Google that about whether a candidate has won the presidency. I think there have been candidates who won the presidency without winning Florida. But I think that what you have here, if you look at – if you go to an electoral map of the United States, I’ve seen – there are many different versions of them. But I think that the – basically most of the states that Obama – I think that there are clearly red states and clearly blue states, and that there’s not going to be much variation. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut are voting Democratic; California, Oregon, Washington are voting Democratic. Texas – they say Colorado’s a toss-up state; I don’t see it as a toss-up state. Obama won Colorado by 5 points in 2012. The Latino vote there went heavily for him. The Latino voting population of Colorado has grown.

So there are only a few real toss-up states here, and so the road to the White House for the Republicans is very, very, very, very narrow given the fact that they suffered a overwhelming defeat in the Electoral College in 2012. So that’s why Florida becomes so critical. It’s the largest quote/unquote “toss-up state.” And how Trump is going to take his message to Florida – well, he’s going to take his message to white Florida and hope that – I mean, we never know what’s going to happen. We don’t know what’s going to happen on voter turnout on Election Day, but that’s why it’s such a critical state, because of the fact of the way the electoral map has broken since 2008 with the rise of higher rates in participation by African Americans, higher rates of participation – or of more importance, higher numbers of Latino voters.

Now, I don’t know the answer to your other question. What do I think about Bernie Sanders? I think he’s overstayed his welcome. I mean, that’s clear. Look, whether you like Hillary, whether you’re a Hillary hater, whether you like Bernie, whether you don’t like Bernie, Bernie – Hillary’s won 12.6 million votes; Bernie’s won 9 million votes. What’s all the whining and moaning about? Nothing’s been rigged. When you win, in the United States, 55 percent of the vote, 60 percent of the vote, it’s considered a landslide. So I mean, people have spoken, and it’s time to stand down graciously instead of making threats. It’s my opinion. You asked my opinion, that’s my opinion.

Whether there will be a long-term impact in between now and November on Sanders’s repeatedly and more vicious attacks on Clinton, I don’t know. I mean, I read something this morning that said that the percentage of Clinton supporters in 2008 who said they wouldn’t vote for Obama was higher than the percentage of Sanders supporters now who say they won’t vote for Clinton.

So, I mean, what’s going to happen? People are going to have to make a choice, right? Is it the lesser of two evils? Maybe. Is it one candidate’s more qualified? Americans generally – and you never know what’s going to happen – don’t like extremes. They – 1964, Goldwater was destroyed by Johnson because he was an extremist. McGovern, of course, who was painted as an extremist in ’72, was also destroyed. I think he won one state. American voters tend to prefer the middle. And despite all of the crazy labeling of the Democratic Party as some leftist, socialist, liberal party, the Democratic Party is a right-center party in European terms. Those of you who are European journalists would certainly recognize this. This is not a left party. This is a right-center party. And it’s a right-center party or a centrist party that’s going to go up against an extremist party. And generally in American elections in the past, voters choose the center. Now, is there enough anti-establishment disgust with Washington to put a wacko like Trump in? Maybe. I doubt it. I highly doubt it.

And I don’t think you can pay any attention to the polls. By the way, when you read polling data, pay very close attention to the methodology used. When you see internet polling, don’t even pay attention to it, all right? Because the first thing I want to know – how many Latinos were in that poll, how many African Americans were in that poll, how many Asians were in that poll? All right? So you see all this polling among voters, and read the fine print. If it’s internet polling, it’s absolutely entirely meaningless. That’s not random polling.

So I think the sentiment is going to – my own opinion here – is going to shift decisively Democratic over the summer, and I think Trump is going to get trounced. I don’t think it’s going to be a close election. That’s my opinion. I could be wrong, not that I’m a political pundit; I just look at the numbers here.

MODERATOR: Thanks very much for your patience in D.C. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hello. I’m Juliano Basile from Valor Economico. It’s a Brazilian newspaper. Which do you think to be --

MR BERGAD: (In Portuguese.) (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Which do you think to be the most important issue for the Latino voters? Do you think it will be the economy, like in the general election? Or do you think the economy is going to be more important than racial issues for the Latino voters?

MR BERGAD: I think – look, in milieus of low wages, comparatively high unemployment rates, economics are always an issue to voters. But I think overwhelmingly the line has been drawn in the sand for Latinos in this election. There is a man saying that he is going to deport 11 million people and their descendants, who were born in the United States. He has threatened to deport American citizens. Last time I remember someone advocating deportation of massive numbers of people was in the 1930s, okay? Draw your own analogy. So I think that the stand on immigration, the stand on deportations, the ludicrous theatrical promise to build a wall along the Mexican border is so absurd and resonates among Latinos --

QUESTION: I think we lost – we lost the sound and the image. (Laughter.)

MR BERGAD: Oh, no. I have to repeat that whole thing? I haven’t memorized those lines yet. I don’t think – (in Portuguese) --

MODERATOR: We have a transcript that will be shared with everyone, so --

MR BERGAD: What do you want me to do here? Respond again? I said the major – are you still there? I think the feed went --

STAFF: Yeah, we don’t know what the problem --

MODERATOR: I think you should go ahead.

MR BERGAD: Okay, go ahead what?

MODERATOR: Let’s --

STAFF: Let’s move on.

MODERATOR: Let’s take the next question.

QUESTION: Yes, I have two questions. I come from --

QUESTION: We are off, sorry.

MODERATOR: Can you hear us in D.C.?

MR BERGAD: Can you hear me now?

QUESTION: Yeah. Now we hear. Yeah, now it’s okay. It’s okay now.

MR BERGAD: I’ll give a shortened version of that: I don’t think economic issues are going to be the primary concerns of Latino voters. They will be concerns. I think the major issue is immigration, the threat to deport 11 million people, including citizens of the United States – people who were born here, offspring. How far do you take that? Do you take that two generations? Do you take grandchildren and deport them as well? Family coherence is a very important issue among Latinos, whether they are documented or undocumented, and I think this is the major issue here that is going to motivate Latino voters to vote against Trump.

QUESTION: May I? Okay. Morning. I come from a Portuguese radio station. I’d like to know – you mentioned that this decline of the Republican voters in – Republican voters in Florida among Latinos, which is obvious according to the numbers, this is something that seems to be constant regardless the candidates that go into the polls, right? So let’s suppose that Jeb Bush would have gotten the Republican nomination. Would it matter? This was one part.

And the other part is this one: You seem to assume that all minorities vote or these minorities that you mentioned vote for Republicans, but minorities themselves also become more diverse. For example, there was a shift in the Cuban community in Florida, so they always become more diverse within themselves. So they – can we assume that over time the Republicans, since they keep this kind of political discourse, will always be minority because minorities will always vote against them? This was one part.

The other one, since you just mentioned it, about the methods of the polls: What about landline phone polls? Do you also trust them? Most of the polls that come out were done apparently through landline phones, which most people don’t have anymore. Is this a reliable kind of poll too?

MR BERGAD: Look, let me address your first question. What we know about Florida – you raise an interesting question: Had Bush been the candidate, right? All we’re doing is following the data over time. What we see with respect to registration – these are actual voter registrations – is that Republican voter registrations decline; Democratic and independent voter registrations increased among Latinos. All right.

Now, that doesn’t mean that they’re going to vote a particular way at the polls, especially independents. But there’s a very clear trend and tendency. There’s also a very clear trend and tendency among a huge bloc of Florida voters – Cubans, who are still 30 percent of voters – to vote Democratic. So the tendencies seem to be increasing.

Now, Bush may have been a sympathetic candidate in Florida, all right, because he was not for expelling 11 million people and their – and offspring. So this is a big hypothetical. Would he have had a chance to win Florida? Maybe. But I think clearly the extremism of Trump’s position is going to solidify Democratic voting among independents and among those registered as Democrats in the state of Florida. And as we saw, the participation rate is very high from a comparative point of view.

Now, we don’t know what the African American turnout is going to be in Florida. Let’s see if Mr. Obama’s going to produce the same kinds of numbers – which I doubt – that turned out at the polls for him in 2008, 2012. Maybe, maybe not. We don’t know what white voter turnout’s going to be. We don’t know what the – we know the voting population in Florida is concentrated in central Florida corridor and in Miami-Dade and West Palm Beach counties. There’s where your large concentrations of voters are. So anything could happen. Turnout’s going to be key. But certainly with a candidate like Trump, the tendencies and registration rates – the tendencies and preference rates – are clearly – point to a Democratic sweep of the Latino vote in Florida, much greater than the 60-40 break for Obama in 2012.

QUESTION: What about the landline polls?

MR BERGAD: Look, I don’t have any opinion. I don’t do polling. My center – we analyze data. We don’t do polling. But I think it’s a major issue. My question in any poll I read is: What percentage of your respondents were Latino, what percentage of your respondents were African American, what percentage of your respondents were Asian, what percentage of your respondents were women – because women vote more often than men. And I didn’t bring that up, by the way, the whole issue of sex among Latinos. About 52, 53 percent of registered Latino voters are female. That’s another reason why they’re going to probably favor the Democratic candidate as well in 2016.

QUESTION: Hi, I’m Morten Bertelsen with Norway’s business daily. Thank you for this presentation; it’s very interesting. I was curious about Marco Rubio. He – on paper he looked like the perfect candidate for the --

MR BERGAD: For who?

QUESTION: For the Republicans. So what happened? And he also lost handily in his home state, Florida. I think he only won Miami-Dade, and --

MR BERGAD: Well, I think at the end of the day, voters are sometimes responding to issues. And I think Trump was – has such a powerful, visceral appeal to those who participate in primaries. Plus keep in mind – let’s not exaggerate this. Ten percent of eligible Republican voters voted in primaries, all right. Who is that 10 percent? Who does he mobilize? I mean, I don’t want to be facetious here, but someone did a study of the districts that Trump carried heavily and found the lowest educational attainment rates of – from a comparative point of view and – again, I don’t want to offend anyone here, but hey, why not? – the highest number of trailers per capita than in any other place.

So I mean, I – who does he – who is appealing to? I think Trump appeals to various constituencies. I think he appeals to people who are fed up with Washington and gridlock. And Trump’s false promises of being a messiah who’s going to somehow break that, I think people – but I think that also there’s a huge amount of resentment at the bottom by people who have not seen real wages increase, have seen wages stagnate, or have remained unemployed or near unemployed, and who don’t have an explanation for this. But all demagogues seek simplistic explanations, right? “Those Latinos, those Mexicans are taking away your jobs. Let’s build a wall. Oh, yeah, hey.” Or the racism that has been directed against the Obama presidency.

Now, you – one thing about Mr. Trump, I mean, he’s out there. After Obama won a resounding victory in 2012, Trump made a public statement: “We shouldn’t permit this to stand. We should march on Washington and reverse this.” He actually said that. Trump was a – continued with the birther movement. He was the lone force that continued the birther movement, that – questioning Obama’s credentials. I mean, he appeals to a particular sector of the population that, unfortunately, most societies harbor, and we are not one that’s immune to that.

QUESTION: I was also thinking in terms of mobilization, right? So if Latinos were to mobilize around the candidates, Marco Rubio would be the perfect candidate. And they didn’t in Florida.

MR BERGAD: Why?

QUESTION: Why not?

MR BERGAD: Well, I don’t think that his policies were that very different from the rightwing Republican mainstream on a whole variety of issues here. Now, I think there would have been some attraction because of – he was a lot more humane on the issue of immigration, but this is a big hypothetical. And so these candidates, at the end of the day, follow Republican doctrine. And Republican doctrine is an anti-progressive, extreme rightwing, and at the end of the day I think Latinos see that and I think they’d have rejected Rubio. What would have happened in Florida? Good question. Good question. Don’t have any answer.

QUESTION: Hi. It’s Robert Poredos again. But Trump has been known to change his opinion and stance as it suits him. So – but – so in a month we might see that “I was just joking about the wall and that stuff.” So you think that can sway Latino voters? And in that connection, do you think making a vice presidential pick can impact the vote on the Republican or Democratic side?

MR BERGAD: I – well, I think – look, you haven’t even begun to see the commercials. The Clinton PACs are going to go out there. I mean, this man has said the most outrageous things about the wall, about deportation, over and over and over again, all right? So he can change whatever he says publicly; it’s just going to make him look like the flip-flopper that Americans disdain. And so I’d – I don’t – he’s not escaping what’s come out of his mouth, all right? The viciousness that has come out of that man’s mouth, directed towards minorities and immigrants and Latinos. There ain’t no way. He can – I don’t care who he – he can name the Pope to be his running mate, and those commercials are still going to be run. And you’re going to – every Latino community in Spanish is going to see exactly all of his vitriol launched against their community. So I --

QUESTION: So the Democrat doesn’t need to pick a – what’s it called – vice president in order to get those people?

MR BERGAD: I don’t think so. I don’t think so. I think it may – might mobilize people. If Julio Castro or – Julian Castro is an interesting young guy, maybe. I don’t know. I mean --

MODERATOR: Let’s go to D.C.

QUESTION: Hi. It’s Alex Panetta again from the Canadian Press. And let’s hope we don’t lose you this time, because that last answer sounded very promising. So the counterpoint that the Trumpists have made to the demographic case that you’ve just laid out is that there are still enough disaffected white people in Appalachia to maybe flip Ohio and Pennsylvania, and that you could do the same thing in Michigan. What’s your counterargument to that counterargument? Is there statistical – like a sort of a catch-call counterpoint that you’d make to say no, there aren’t enough angry white people in these states to win the election?

MR BERGAD: Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t have the answer. But he’d better do well among women, among angry white women, is all I can tell you, because women vote more frequently than men. And his misogynist declarations which will be repeated over and over again in Ohio and in Pennsylvania and in Appalachia, are probably likely to push a lot of women toward the Democratic camp.

Now, who was the last Democratic candidate to win the white vote in the United States? Democrats don’t win white votes. They don’t need to win white votes in a country that is demographically being transformed. So I don’t have a counterargument for you, but I do think that Mr. Trump is – has and is going to have a bigger problem when the campaign starts with women. He is a blatant misogynist. He can call Hillary an enabler all he wants. His own history, his own personal behavior, is going to be, I think, a major, major detriment to winning a majority of white women voters in these particular regions. And that’s probably going to be enough to keep Ohio and Pennsylvania in Democratic hands.

You asked for my opinion. That’s what I think. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Thanks.

QUESTION: Thanks.

QUESTION: Anna Lombardi, La Repubblica, the Italian daily La Repubblica. Are Democrats Latinos as divided as we have seen all around U.S.? I mean, what’s going to happen in California? Is Sanders going to win?

And then do you see possible a Latino VP for Hillary?

MR BERGAD: Well, someone asked me that before. I have no idea. I really don’t follow who’s going to be the vice presidential pick. I think that obviously her collective advisors, which are very, very deep, are going to be looking at particular places where votes can be garnered in swing states. And I don’t think it’s going to be Bernie because I don’t think he’s going to push any state one way or another.

Now, as far as California is concerned, I didn’t really catch the gist of your question. I don’t know if you were talking about a divided legislature. That’s another major problem because of voter turnout in midterm elections. The voter turnout among Latinos in midterm elections is dismal. If 48 percent of Latinos voted in the last presidential election, about a third voted in midterm elections. Latinos and others are not motivated to vote, and so that is one of the reasons why you see Congress in a very different hue, if you want, than you find during presidential elections.

I mean, the interesting thing – one of the interesting dynamics of this election will obviously be to see how senatorial and congressional races play out. Will Hillary’s coattails, to use a term we use in elections, change the Senate to Democratic? And they’re talking about the possibility of the House, although I think that’s far-fetched. But if Democrats increase their seats in the House, then maybe governmental gridlock can be broken.

So this is a big election. This is a huge election. This is one of the biggest elections in the history of the United States for three reasons: Supreme Court justice, Supreme Court justice, Supreme Court justice. Three Supreme Court justices will be named by the next president, and they will shape the face of American law for a long time into the future, especially if they’re young. And where you find this madness that has occurred within the Supreme Court of overturning voter rights acts, this is big. God forbid or the deities forbid, past and present, all religious systems, that Mr. Trump gets to name three Supreme Court justices, because Roe v. Wade will be overturned, right? The anti-immigrant, the voter suppression legislation that is pending will come into effect, et cetera, et cetera. I think it will be a cataclysm for the United States for progressive people, for women, for minorities. So this is a big election.

QUESTION: Just a follow-up. At the start of your presentation you said that California is pretty much expected to vote Democrat, and so as – the situation in Texas, what about the announcement by the Bush presidents, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush, and that Jeb Bush, that they’re not going to attend the convention? Other key Republican figures in other states – Mitt Romney said the same; John McCain still sitting on the fence, as usual, whether to go to the convention or not to go to the convention, and his eye on the elections because of the situation of the Latinos in his state. Will that lead at one point to deterrence by the white – typical white voters that usually go out to vote in these states, the turnout for them?

MR BERGAD: Well, you’ve heard the saying “rats abandoning a sinking ship”? In any event, I think that this is obviously of extraordinary importance that mainstream Republican leaders are basically saying this guy is too far out there for us to be affiliated and associated with him. I don’t think elected officials have that luxury, but I think that’s the conventional wisdom. I think the conventional wisdom among the Republican Party, irrespective of the polls that you see today that see a tightening of the race, is that this is going to be a landslide, that this is going to be a disaster for them. And they want to be – they not only want to dissociate themselves from that, but they want to dissociate themselves from the extremist policies which they know very well can never appeal to the American middle or to minorities. And so I think that is of extraordinary importance.

What will happen on Election Day? How this will impact – will voters sit down and say, “Oh my God, former governors – former Presidents Bush didn’t endorse, didn’t attend the convention?” I don’t know that that’ll be that big an issue. But symbolically, I think it tells us a great deal about the state of the Republican Party today. This is a party that is disintegrating, it’s in disarray. And what’s going to happen to it in the future? Are they going to continue to embrace the rightwing – I mean, I don’t know, how do they escape their – I mean, how do they escape their own rhetoric? How does the Republican Party backtrack on all the extremist positions that so many candidates – not simply Mr. Trump – have taken? After all, isn’t Mr. Trump the creation of all of the vitriol, the venom directed against Obama, the racist hatred that so many Republicans have harbored against Mr. Obama? Isn’t Mr. Trump the creation of that?

Say it a hundred times, say it a hundred times, along comes a guy like that, a demagogue who’s well financed, and guess what? Your prophecies have come true. Sometimes when your wishes come true, it’s not exactly the nirvana that you thought was going to happen. So what’s going to happen when you find that you – you’re talking about a – mainstream former presidents not wanting to have anything to do with this.

But where’s that party going in the future? Really, where’s it going? Where’s it going to go now? “Oh, we didn’t mean all that.” And you think the Latino vote’s going to be important in Florida this election? Wait ‘til the next election, and the one after that. And Texas is going to go Democratic one day because of the Latino vote. Only 55 percent of Latinos in Texas were registered to vote. And this is the second highest electorate there. What happens when you bump that up to 60 percent, if you’re able to do that, and that population continues to increase? Arizona. Georgia is fascinating. I mean, I hate to quote polls, because I just said don’t believe them, right? But one poll saw Trump only four points ahead in Georgia. Latinos are going to be about 4 percent of the electorate in Georgia. The Latino population in Georgia has increased from about 200,000 in 1990 to over a million today. Places where you didn’t have Latinos before, they’re going to play a role.

Southeastern United States – North Carolina, North Carolina. A million Latinos. They were 1 percent of the state’s population in 1990; they’re 10 percent of the state’s population today. What’s going to happen in the future to a state like North Carolina? You see?

So these states where you have Latino voter populations growing and political participation increasing – interesting to see what’s going to happen in the future.

MODERATOR: Okay, we’re going to take the last two questions. We’re going to give it to Diego and Bukola.

QUESTION: Thank you. I believe you were talking about the Latino vote earlier today in Florida.

MR BERGAD: Yeah, I was.

QUESTION: The importance of people that support Trump, not just – the Latinos that support Trump – I want to know more about Latinos that support Trump outside Florida. This election, from what I’ve seen – I’ve covered only two presidential elections in this country, and I’ve seen the Latino vote kind of desegregating into different tendencies, as in – I don’t know if that’s the word exactly, but not being as united as it was before.

MR BERGAD: Well, you’ve seen two presidential elections here – over 70 percent of Latinos in each of those presidential elections have voted for Obama. So I don’t – and 60 – as I – you missed the presentation on Florida here, you weren’t here. What I said was that each presidential electoral cycle in Florida, a greater number, greater percentage of Latinos are supporting Democratic candidates.

So, the Latinos supporting Trump, there are some. How many? Very small – 25 percent, probably less; 29 percent voted – 29 percent of Latinos nationally voted for Romney in 2012, 29 percent. Now, he was perceived as a moderate, traditional conservative candidate, and now you have clearly an extremist. Anti-immigrant policies is one of the bedrocks of his stump speeches. I can’t see any movement in the other direction of Latinos toward Trump at all. I don’t see that as a possibility.

QUESTION: Yes, thank you. This is very powerful and informative. So my name is Bukola Shonuga, I’m with African Views. So do you see a shift away from the party system in terms of Republican or Democrat in the near future? Because people are sort of talking out there about this is time for something different. If people are voting on issues, does it have to do Republican or Democrat, or is there something in between or nothing at all?

MR BERGAD: It’ll be interesting to see. I think there is a history in the United States of third-party – third political parties developing. After all, the Republican Party when it was founded before the 1860 election was a third party, okay? And I think that there’s enough – I can’t predict the future, I don’t have a crystal ball. With Latinos I can do a little predicting, but – and if I could predict the future, I – you think I’d be here talking to you people? I’d be out right – I’m just being facetious here.

But look, I think there’s a possibility of a third party. I think there’s an extraordinary amount of dissatisfaction, obviously, that the Trump candidacy is indicative of. There’s a disgust with Washington politicians. It doesn’t reach the degree that we find in Latin America. I happen to be a Latin American specialist and I’m familiar with the political scenes in Latin American countries, where you have issues of corruption that make people so disgusted. But people are disgusted with this inability to get things done, this constant bickering, constant fighting, constant quarreling. Americans like consensus, and I think that one of the problems that the Republican Party has is they’ve not been willing to compromise. Politics – I don’t have to lecture you about politics – it’s all about “Let’s make a deal.” That’s what it is – something like marriage. Let’s make a deal, let’s compromise. You’re responsible for governing. When SenatorMcConnell makes a statement and says, “Our one goal is to make sure that President Obama is not re-elected,” why doesn’t he talk about governing the country? How about that? So I think that you have a disgust in the general public, and I don’t think it’s quite understood. I think people tend to blame both Republicans and Democrats equally, but that – where that’s going to lead will be very interesting.

And I think that if Hillary is elected – and I think she will be – what’s she going to do in the next four years? She’s a very capable politician. I’m not a Hillary hater and I’m not a Hillary lover, but one of the things I do when I analyze the Clinton candidacy is look at her career in the Senate. She was an extraordinarily productive senator for eight years. She was very well-liked by Republicans. She reached across the aisle, she worked with Republicans, she was instrumental in getting legislation passed. She was very, very effective and very well-liked in the Senate.

Now, if you find a leader that is able to re-establish the tradition of compromise in American politics and “Let’s make a deal,” Americans may have a very different view of the political system in 2020. We don’t know what’s going to happen. The Republicans have made it their life’s goal to sabotage every single thing that Mr. Obama has proposed. That’s their agenda. He says you’re black; they say no, you’re white. He says this – I mean, that’s been their goal. Are they going to do this in a Clinton presidency? I don’t know. I don’t know. But if you get – you could get what I refer to as the re-establishment of legitimacy of the two-party system if it functions. If it continues along this road, I think you very well may see the rise of a third party.

MODERATOR: Sorry, we’re officially out of time. I want to thank Dr. Bergad for coming today, and it goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway: His opinions are his own and don’t represent the views of the U.S. Government. (Laughter.)

MR BERGAD: What opinions are you referring to here?

MODERATOR: The – today’s briefing was on the record. A transcript will be available later today on our website, and I will email it out to all of you. And with that, thank you very much for coming.

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