November 3, 2020, marks a turning point in US politics: for the first time, Latinos include the largest group of white voters in a presidential election. About 32 million Latinos are expected to be eligible to vote in this year’s election, which has a record-high turnout of about 142 million votes nationwide.
It’s a demographic change Democrats have long foreseen and the Republicans fear – especially this year, when Donald Trump is running for re-election in the shadow of separation. the infamous family of his administration. Not to mention the COVID-19 pandemic, which is particularly difficult for the Spanish and other ethnic communities.
There have been widespread predictions that the Latin votes could put Florida in the Democratic position, and even deliver the long delayed Democratic dream of becoming competitive.
But at the same time, there is an anti-government building, that Biden’s campaign, which focuses on regaining the upper Midwest, on suburban women and Black voters, has neglected Latinos and will be punished. at the polls because of that. And in the end, Trump won comfortably in Texas and Florida, as Biden won 70 percent of the Latino vote nationally but was less efficient among the Latinos in those two states: 67 percent in Texas and 59% in Florida, according to polls by Latino Decisions, African American and Asian American Joint Research Decisions.
Black voters chose Biden at an overwhelming 89 out of 9 both nationally and in Florida, and almost as much in Texas.
This is hardly surprising to experts and Latino voter supporters. Instead, emerging data on Latino voters’ turnout and Tuesday’s election behavior seem to only reinforce the arguments they’ve been making for years. First, Latino voters are not a bloc but a complex and diverse demographic with conflicting interests. And second, the number of Latino voters who vote is directly proportional to the level of outreach they receive from their political parties and candidates.
“Investing turns into action,” said Maria Teresa Kumar, CEO of Voto Latino, in a call with reporters on Wednesday, where she and other leaders from civil rights and advocacy groups Leading action for Latinos to give post-election analysis of the role of Latino voters in 2020.
Kumar and others on the call pointed out Biden’s lead in Arizona, where grassroots progress groups have been operating on a base in Latino communities for several years, proof that direct outreach and sustainability, especially targeting young Latinos, can provide a significant reward for Democrats in historic red states with an increasing number of qualified Latino voters.
“Arizona is the hub of where the rest of the country will go, and predicts that“ this election will be decided by the Latino vote, ”Kumar said. “
According to poll data, Biden did just a little better with Latinos in Arizona than he did nationally, beating Trump with 71% to 26.
Some Latino activists said they think Democrats have taken Latinos for granted.
“I think Biden missed a huge opportunity to take on Florida and Texas, if he only invested more in the Latino community, if he gave the correct message,” Domingo Garcia, president Federation of Latin American Citizens said. , or LULAC.
García said Trump’s campaign has done an efficient job of tailoring his message to various subgroups, especially in South Florida, where efforts to make Biden a home. Socialism resonated with the Cuban, Venezuelan and Nicaragua voters, who had fled the communist regimes in those countries. Democrats have resisted with ads that compare Trump to strong Latin American ones, but it may be too late in the campaign to make much of a difference.
In Texas, Garcia contends that Biden should have worked harder to counter Republican messages that forced him into defaming the police movement, which Biden practically opposed. That explains his inefficiency compared to Hillary Clinton in the mostly Latino Rio Grande Valley, such as Zapata County, where Clinton won with 66% of the vote in 2016, where Preliminary results show that Trump has the lead. “A lot of the Border Patrol, law enforcement, is Latino in the Rio Grande Valley,” says Garcia, “which leaves“ an opportunity for Republicans to enter and take advantage of that. “.
In an interview with Yahoo News, Matt Barreto, a political scientist and polling expert hired by the Biden campaign to poll Latino voters, said “No doubt Unexpectedly, throughout this campaign, we have been faced with the onslaught of lies and misinformation. asking us to do more assistance. ”
However, Barreto said, Texas campaign polls consistently show that the coronavirus pandemic is of prime concern for Latino voters.
“We feel that we have a good message for Latinos about that because they believe in our plan,” he said, arguing that Biden’s losses in the Rio Grande Valley were due to Another factor, such as the statewide shift to direct buy voting, has previously benefited from Democrats in areas like the Rio Grande Valley.
Despite these failures, Barreto steadfastly rejects the notion that Trump’s interest among the Latins in the Rio Grande Valley, which, according to him, accounts for about 15% of all Latino voters in Texas, is what was prevent Biden from turning the state to blue.
“Those counties are very small in population and do not represent the entire Latino vote in Texas,” says Barreto. According to electoral level data analyzed by the campaign, the turnout rates among Latin-American voters in densely populated cities like Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and El Paso are not only very high, where Biden’s Latino support “was equal to or higher than Hillary in almost every majority electoral district. “
“Even if every county in the valley matches the Clinton number,” Barreto said, “that number is going to take 100,000 votes,” not soon enough to beat Trump, who, as of Wednesday afternoon, won Texas. 662,000 votes.
But the bigger lesson this year is that Latino voters are and will continue to be a major force in US politics. Chuck Rocha, a Democrat strategist who served as a senior adviser to Bernie Sanders and helped lead the Latino outreach effort that contributed to Sanders victory in California’s primary elections and Nevada, founded the Nuestro PAC, a progressive Super PAC that raised $ 10 million in bilingual communication in eight states “to reach out and convince occasional and new Latinos to sign up in Battlefield states. “
In a call with reporters on Thursday, Rocha admitted that Biden was underperforming in the Miami-Dade area, but said that his team had learned from the results – and one of the lessons was not to Latino outreach to mainstream Democratic PACs targeting white voters.
“All I’m going to say about Florida is that we are only spending about 1.9 million dollars. I should have spent 20 million dollars [and] Rocha says Florida will look a lot different. “What I call the established Super PACs in the US says they have handled Florida, namely Miami. So we spent the money that we spent talking to Latinos in the I-4 corridor. [the middle of the state], which actually Joe Biden won by a large percentage. “
In the future, he said: “Democrats will continue to talk about how important Latinos are to them, they will continue to talk about they have a few Latinos on the payroll, but for Until we resolve this issue we’ll continue to see what we saw on Tuesday night.
“These people spent a billion dollars talking to whites because it’s politically smart. If you want to persuade someone to vote for someone, spend a lot of money talking to them. So why don’t you do that with Latinos? And why isn’t your campaign manager a Latino? Why aren’t your consultants Latino?
“Things are going to change dramatically,” Rocha said. “I look forward to being a part of that change.”
Thumbnail cover photo: LM Otero / AP
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