What Biden Learned From Bernie: A Road Map Toward the Latino Vote

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Former Vice President Joe Biden, left, and Sen. Bernie Sanders greet each other before they participate in the last Democratic presidential primary in March. Evan Vucci/AP

When it comes to beating Donald Trump in November, there is no such thing as a crazy coalition — even if it means Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden finding some common ground.

During the Democratic primaries, the ideological and personal distances between the two candidates seemed too deep to reconcile, especially given Biden’s reluctance to embrace Medicare for All and the sometimes radical progressiveness with which Sanders cleared any conformity to the status quo.

As the presidential election approaches, however, major former candidates have contributed to Biden’s proposals, including Julián Castro and his police reform policies, and now Bernie Sanders and his progressive strategies.

Vox said the two politicians had unveiled a “unity” paper containing a detailed set of policy recommendations for the Biden administration, should it win the election in November.

Last Wednesday night, a senior campaign aide described Biden’s upcoming economic plan as “the largest mobilization of public investment in procurement, infrastructure, and [research and development] since World War II.”

The final report, according to the media, is more than 100 pages long and covers six key areas of national policy: health, the economy, climate change, criminal justice, education, and immigration, but highlights one of the “most ambitious” goals, which is its commitment to achieving a net emission of greenhouse gases of zero by 2050.

It also provides more immediate climate benchmarks — including a national target of zero net greenhouse gas emissions for all new buildings by 2030, and the removal of carbon pollution from power plants by 2035. The report also calls for creating a postal banking system to expand access to banking for low-income families, and a ban on for-profit schools.

The proposal is not only ambitious but timely, as it comes at a time when President Trump is struggling to maintain popular support, especially after his chaotic administration of the coronavirus pandemic and national protests against structural racism.

And although this seems to be very general, the strategies adopted by the Sanders campaign also have one objective in mind: the Latino vote.

Since the midterm elections, Latinos in the country have made it clear that their priorities, far from being focused on the immigration issue, have more to do with access to health care and job stability, and a reduction in overall inequality.

To this end — or perhaps because of it — former Sanders campaign senior advisor Chuck Rocha has decided to publish an upcoming book detailing his successful strategy for winning the Latino vote in 2019, and maybe help the Biden campaign along the way.

According to Politico, the book “Uncle Bernie: The Inside Story of How Bernie Sanders Brought Latinos Into The Political Revolution,” which will be released on August 19, describes Rocha’s work with Sanders to diversify one of the major Democratic presidential campaigns.

“I wrote this so there would be a road map for any politician or political organization to know how to reach out to our community and prove once and for all that if you invest in our community, we will vote,” said Rocha. “I never ever wanted to hear Latinos don’t vote again after reading this book.”

Rocha was, without a doubt, the hand behind the Sanders campaign’s success in the early caucuses. He explains in his book a vital issue for the Biden campaign, once they seriously consider the importance of the Latino vote.

As the media recounts, and citing excerpts from the book, Rocha built operations in every state, hiring staff and running the Latino outreach program. The advisor “made Latino outreach a major focus of the campaign.”

Rocha is now helping Biden’s campaign, focusing on Latino production in November. In a joint effort between his super PAC and Weaver’s America’s Progressive Promise, Sanders’ former assistants last week launched a seven-figure TV and digital buyout that will air in Arizona, Michigan and North Carolina in both Spanish and English.

“I’m super excited about everything I’m seeing from the Biden campaign, but I’m still super worried about everything that’s coming out of there,” Rocha said, noting the races for the Senate and House of Representatives in Colorado, Florida, and North Carolina.