The Latino electorate has long been considered a sleeping giant in U.S. politics. But if we’ve learned anything from the Democratic primaries so far, it’s that the giant is very much awake and making its presence felt in the 2020 presidential elections.
Increasing population size and rising voter turnout have turned Latino voters into a force this year. An unprecedented 32 million Latinos are projected to be eligible to vote in the 2020 presidential elections. The sheer size of this group makes it the second-largest voting bloc in the country. Voters in these communities have made a big difference in the Democratic primaries, not only in heavily Latino states like California and Texas, but also in less diverse states like Iowa.
Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign has been aggressive in pursuing Latino votes this year. After being beaten out by Hillary Clinton among these voters in 2016, Sanders redesigned his strategy, hiring campaign staff from East L.A. and South Texas and making stops in often-forgotten communities. These efforts have paid off, and Latino voters are credited with keeping Sanders in the race after the Democratic field suddenly narrowed to a two-person race.
Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden, who re-emerged as the Democratic front-runner after Super Tuesday, has had a weaker performance in these same communities. His campaign’s strategy has focused on drawing support from African-American voters, not only in Southern states like South Carolina and Tennessee but also in the Midwest, in Minnesota and Michigan. That strategy has propelled him to the lead in the race for his party’s nomination.
In this episode of Latino USA, Maria Hinojosa speaks with Sonja Diaz, Founding Executive Director of the UCLA Latino Policy Initiative, and Julio Ricardo Varela, co-host of the In The Thick podcast, about what we’ve learned about the Latino vote from the Democratic primaries so far. Sonja and Julio dive into data from different states and talk about what this might all mean for the general election in November.
Featured photo by Laura Segall/AFP/Getty Images.
One thought on “Sanders, Biden, And The Latino Vote”
I really appreciated the discussion of Sanders, Biden, and the Latino vote. Unfortunately, I think the reality is that Biden and the Democratic establishment don’t give a rat’s ass about Latinos except for wanting their vote. What was different about Sanders is that he does care; and would truly work as hard as possible to improve the situation with a passion for the justice so desperately needed. No matter if they take Sanders’ campaign as a model or not, their utter insincerity as opposed to his sincerity is bound to come through. It is a tragedy for Latinos and for justice and for Muslims that the establishment has successfully maneuvered to put this bad candidate Biden into place, one indeed very reminscent of 2016, except without the competence.
But Biden, like Trump, is a good friend to Wall Street. We know what really counts. Not Latinos or Latinas. Rich people count. And I don’t see more hope for that changing in the U.S. than in Mexico.