by Michelle Hackman on March 25, 2016
Watching with growing horror as the GOP presidential front runners, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, outdo one another with increasingly anti-Muslim policy proposals, Muslim-American groups are organizing in the most proactive way they know how: by boosting the Muslim vote.
Groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Circle of North America are working with mosques to organize voter registration drives before the November elections, according to the New York Times, so Muslims can make their voices heard.
“The fear and apprehension in the American Muslim community has never been at this level,” Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesperson for CAIR, told the Times. “The anti-Islamic tidal wave is spurring civic participation.”
Although Muslims make up only about 1 percent of the US population, they cluster in crucial swing states like Ohio and Florida, where advocacy groups hope the united voting bloc can make a meaningful difference. Organizations involved hope to register as many as 1 million new voters.
As recently as the 2000 election, Muslims leaned Republican. But following the 9/11 terrorist attacks and a wave of anti-Islamic backlash, the American Muslim community has swung sharply in the other direction. Today, 70 percent of Muslim Americans identify as Democrats, according to the Pew Research Center.
But Muslims are not the only minority community hoping to boost turnout against Republicans. Latino groups, angered by Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric in particular, are also holding drives to register voters – and to help permanent residents become naturalized citizens in time to cast ballots.
Latinos, who make up about 13 percent of eligible voters, are disproportionately young – 3.2 million Latinos will have turned 18 and become eligible to vote between the 2012 election and Election Day in 2016. They’re disproportionately likely to support Democrats, and mobilizing them could deal a real blow to Republicans in the general election.
Article Courtesy: Vox