Which of the Democrats will win over Latinos in the primaries? While it´s still not clear, there is one thing that is: the Latino vote could swing the Democratic primary. Although Latinos are not homogenous in their opinions on practically anything (abortion, immigration, religion, etc.), the Democrat who wins the Latino vote in the primary is likely to be the one who best denounces the racism that has swept the country under the Trump administration, an opinion that somehow manages to unify this diverse voting group. In a USA Today poll, 70 percent of Latino voters felt that Trump’s rhetoric has encouraged anti-immigrant sentiment, racism or discrimination in the U.S.
As of early December, the Democratic presidential contest in California — a state that has tremendous sway in predicting the outcome of the primary across the nation — remains fluid. A poll for the Los Angeles Times found that both Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who was the frontrunner in California in September, and former Vice President Joe Biden, lost ground among California´s Democratic primary voters. This drop in votes gave Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who narrowly tops the primary field, a boost. It has also helped Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., who has doubled his support in the state since the last September poll. As for the controversial former mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg and his chances of seducing Latino voters in the next months, the odds are low.
At this point in the race Latino, democratic voters are not sticking with a set candidate, but are still open to changing their opinions. So where do the candidates stand with Latino voters and their issues? Here´s a look at what the remaining candidates have been doing right and what they´ve been doing wrong to win their vote.
Tío Bernie continues to resonate with Latino voters. Recent polls have put the most liberal of the Democratic candidates as a favorite among Latino voters. Especially in California. What Sanders has done right thus far is having 80 of his 400 campaign staffers that identify as Latino, reports the New York Times. Having Latinos on your staff means that the issues are being talked about and voters are likely to take you more seriously.
He is aware that immigration isn´t the only thing that matters to Latinos and that in recent polls Latinos have shown that they care a lot about issues having to do with healthcare, affordable housing, and fair wages. He´s also good at taking these messages directly to the communities most impacted. When it comes to immigration, Sanders’ platform, which is available on his website https://berniesanders.com/issues/welcoming-and-safe-america-all/, includes a progressive immigration plan that includes a pause on deportations until an audit of past practices and policies is complete and an expansion of the DACA protections afforded to some children of immigrants brought to the U.S. at a young age.