How Latin Artists Might Tip the 2016 Election (Think Florida)
Ricky Martin leaves no doubt about where he stands in the upcoming presidential election. “I’m with her,” he tweeted on Sept. 30. “So with her.”
That message is only the latest prompt that the singer has posted on his social media accounts since he officially endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in December 2015. “The Latino community needs to show up and vote,” says Martin. “We are alarmed by [the prospect of] what this world could become if someone like Donald Trump gets to the White House.”
Martin, an American citizen, speaks for many Latinos, a demographic that has been roundly vilified by the Republican candidate. And while Latin music artists have not banded together to support Clinton, a large number have unified against Trump in an effort to mobilize the record 27 million Hispanics eligible to vote in the Nov. 8 election, according to the Pew Research Center. Historically, less than half of the Latinos eligible to vote actually cast a ballot, a rate far lower than for whites or African-Americans.
Along with Martin, the loudest voices of the campaign include rock band Maná, whose current Latino Power Tour includes voter-registration tables; Vicente Fernandez, who in September released a video for his song “El Corrido de Hillary Clinton”; and Los Tigres del Norte, who endorsed Clinton in September. Marc Anthony, who brought Clinton onstage during a 2015 Miami show, is rumored to be planning a fall concert supporting the Democratic candidate.
Organizers are optimistic that these Latin acts can make a significant difference in the election. “We’ve seen more political involvement from [high-profile Latinos] than ever before,” says César Blanco, a Texas state representative and interim director for Latino Victory, an organization that assists Latin candidates and helped produce Fernandez’s video.
“Artists have a huge impact due to their influence on social media,” says Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, whom Trump famously ejected from a press conference in August 2015 after the two had a testy exchange. “The entire election could be defined by Florida and Hispanics: Remember, the 2000 election was decided by 537 votes.”
“People have to be responsible with their vote, especially in this country,” says Maná lead singer Fher Olvera. “How do we hurt [Trump]? Vote, vote, vote.”