Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is part of the new face of Congress. Photo: Facebook
But even with the CHC’s electoral accomplishments, Hispanic representation in Washington still is not proportional to the demographic’s share of the U.S. population. With 33 voting members, the CHC represents 7.5 percent of House lawmakers, while Hispanics represent 18.1 percent of the U.S. population, according to the Census Bureau.
When adding in the six Republican voting lawmakers of Hispanic origin, Hispanics will account for 9 percent of the House.
By comparison, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) will have 52 House members, or 12 percent of the chamber, with African Americans comprising 13.4 percent of the population.
Despite the gap in proportional representation, the Hispanic footprint in Congress has accelerated over the past three elections.
And that acceleration is coming at a time when issues that affect minority communities disproportionately — immigration, for instance — are taking on a larger role in the national discourse.
Republican Hispanics, many of whom are at loggerheads with the Trump administration over immigration policy, have hovered in the single digits in recent years, though they’ve lost national figures such as Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.) to retirement and Rep. Carlos Curbelo(Fla.) to a failed reelection bid.
Republican Hispanic operatives like Mario H. López, former executive director of the Congressional Hispanic Conference and president of the Hispanic Leadership Fund (HLF), see the president’s stances as a growing threat, while warning of the incompatibility of GOP ideals and Democratic-style identity politics.
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