It’s Tuesday, January 14. In today’s newsletter: The final Democratic debate before Iowa will be an all-white, six-person affair (one billionaire included). Plus: Are Democrats overlooking what may be the largest minority voting bloc of 2020?
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Jose De Jesus Esparza Morales and Ivan Vargas canvass for the Latino activist network Mijente in Georgia during the 2018 midterm elections. (AUDRA MELTON / THE NEW YORK TIMES / REDUX)
The influence of the Latino vote seems to be hyped up every election cycle—leaving pundits and politicians disappointed by the final turnout, as was the case in 2016.
The U.S. is home to 4 million young Latinos who became eligible to vote after 2016. 2020 may see record-breaking turnout among Latino voters, once again making them a key bloc for candidates vying for the Democratic nomination, and also for the eventual nominee’s ability to win states such as Florida and Arizona.
Before I began reporting this story, I wondered whether Latinos were checking out of the presidential race because they didn’t see themselves represented in mainstream Democratic politics.
I had it backwards: Latinos are giving the candidates a chance, but most of the candidates don’t seem to be biting (many did call out one candidate in particular for doing better in this arena). Latino organizers I spoke with shared a plethora of examples where Democratic candidates looking to defeat the president were lacking, such as:
Repeated attempts to schedule candidate meetings with large Latino groups;
unanswered policy questionnaires on issues such as education and affordable housing;
weak grassroots work to register voters.
As you tune in for tonight’s debate, watch for how the six white candidates talk about race and minority voters: Will they merely be paying lip service to the Latino community, or will they offer truly inclusive policy proposals?