Will Democrats Sacrifice Latino Voters Again?

Democratic Belatina Latinx
Photo Credit Brittainy Newman/The New York Times

Super Tuesday represented a sea change in the landscape for the Democratic primary. After a slow start, Vice President Joe Biden swept the delegates in states such as Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas, gaining a significant advantage over Senator Bernie Sanders.

However, Sanders took Vermont, Colorado, and Utah, and an overwhelming majority of the Latino vote along the way, especially in the key state of California.

Although the totality of the vote has yet to be known, the truth is that Latinos are not attracted to the former vice president’s proposals, and the fact that much of the Democratic Party seems to be closing ranks behind his conservative campaign proposal seems to imply that the Hispanic vote could be sacrificed again.

Have we really learned anything from 2016?

As NPR reported, “millions of Latino voters headed to the polls on Tuesday, significantly in Texas and California, but also in states such as Colorado, Virginia, Massachusetts and North Carolina.”

Forty-two percent of them supported Sanders’ candidacy, versus 15 percent who leaned in favor of Biden.

While the Vermont senator has structured a grassroots political campaign focused on the Hispanic voter, especially young and first-time voters, Biden has had to fight the stigma of immigration policies put in place by the Obama Administration, as well as his reluctance to decriminalize border crossings.

In addition, Sanders has made an effort to explain the effect of health care policies and the “1% privilege” on communities of color, especially the Hispanic community.

The result has been not only a radical difference in Latino support for Sanders, but also a massive involvement of Hispanics in general, which “makes a lot of sense given the demographics of the state and the message [he] has been focusing on: health care for everybody, free education, workers’ rights,” said Stephen Nuño-Perez, the director of communications and senior analyst at the polling firm Latino Decisions, to PBS.

Taking the results of the Nevada primary as an example, the effect of campaigns like Sanders’ on the Latino community is evident: Between 2014 and 2018, there was a 120 percent increase in ballots cast in Latino-heavy precincts, according to Latino Decisions.

Even more impressive is the fact that, despite the difficulties black voters are subject to in exercising their vote, the will to change the country has prevailed.

As reported by Vox, several states saw during Super Tuesday “long lines at some polling sites in predominantly black and Latino neighborhoods,” an issue that “reportedly dissuaded at least some voters from casting their ballot at all.”

Still, voters waited for hours to choose their candidate.

What will happen then if the Democratic Party nominee is someone whose campaign has sidelined the country’s most vibrant community of color?