PHILADELPHIA – Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was national co-chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign and he is not mincing words about the need to mobilize Latino voters in this election.
In fact, in an interview with Fox News Latino, he said that low Hispanic voter turnout has empowered the Republican nominee Donald Trump to target the Latino community with his rhetoric.
"Trump talks like this because there are no consequences, there are no consequences because we become citizens at a lower number than other groups, we register at a lower number we go to the polls,” he said. "We have to become citizens, we got to register, we gotta exercise our vote."
Latino voter turnout was 48 percent in 2012 and with Republican nominee Donald Trump expected to gain support among more white voters — Democrats want to make sure minority voters show up in larger numbers.
"Younger people don’t vote, poorer people don’t vote, and less educated people and we are all three – disproportionately,” Villaraigosa, 63, said of why Latino voter participation is so low. "But we’ve got to vote. We’ve got to participate…The Trump candidacy is the biggest threat to our nation, to our values, to who we are as Americans in our lifetime.”
Villaraigosa, started a Political Action Group called Building Bridges Not Walls, dedicated to registering Latinos and helping immigrants become citizens in time for the election.
The 41st mayor of Los Angeles was the first Latino mayor of LA since 1872 and he is expected to run for Governor of California in 2018. Villaraigosa is on a 42-day listening tour throughout California and told Fox News Latino he has made his decision about whether he will run.
"Can I be clear about something? We’ve made that decision. That train left the station some time ago,” the former mayor said. “As I say to people with a little gleam in my eye – when you’re out of office the announcement won’t be that you’re out of office."