Slate: Biden Has a Real Latino Problem
A recent Latino Decisions poll reveals a clear enthusiasm gap among Latinos for both Biden and the 2020 election itself, with only 49 percent of registered voters currently committed to choosing Biden over Trump, and just six out of 10 planning to go to the polls in November. Compare that with black voters, who seem deeply committed to Biden’s candidacy: In another recent poll, 65 percent said they would support Biden. While a mere 23 percent of Hispanic voters seem to be leaning toward Trump, the lack of interest Biden generates within a community already plagued by low voter turnout should be an immediate cause for alarm for the Democratic Party.
What explains Biden’s lack of appeal among Latinos? For Democratic consultant José Parra, former adviser to Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, Biden’s troubles began with the campaign’s financial constraints during the primary. “Biden was running a campaign on very tight budgets, so I assume that was reflected in not being able to invest in the Latino community,” Parra told me. During the primaries, Bernie Sanders’ campaign both outspent and outsmarted Biden’s with Latinos. With outreach led by Texan strategist Chuck Rocha, Sanders invested early in Hispanic voters, setting up offices in various Latino enclaves in California, Iowa, and other early states and hiring organizers within the community. Rocha also had the political insight to focus on Sanders’ immigrant heritage and refocus the candidate’s Hispanic policy agenda away from immigration and onto health care, jobs, and the economy. The strategy worked. Sanders beat Biden by almost 30 percent among Latinos in California, and at least 33 percent in Nevada.