Thanks to Donald Trump, Latinos are finally getting some attention in this presidential election. Not that Trump harbors any illusions of winning the Latino vote, he just wants to get the biggest slice possible. Trump received 28% of the Latino vote in 2016 and hopes to get the same percentage again in 2020, if not more.
Trump knows he will narrowly carry the white vote, thanks to the men and a sprinkling of white, black, brown, and Asian women. Last weekend and again this week, he held Latino events in Nevada, Arizona, and Florida. He also knows that the only questions remaining about the black vote are how many will vote and whether more or less that 90% will vote for Biden. What’s unknown is how many Latinos will actually vote and for whom.
Predictions are that an estimated 15 million Latinos could turnout and vote. Trump’s goal is to get 4-5 million of those votes for three reasons: (1) possibly help keep Arizona and Florida red, (2) maybe swing the battleground states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, and (3) keep the margin of the popular vote, which he will most likely lose, down to a minimum. He lost the popular vote by three million in 2016.
Trump’s proactive campaign targeting the Latino vote has finally gotten the Biden campaign off its duff. Biden had a town hall meeting on Telemundo yesterday, which is a start, but he has to do a lot more and do it a lot better. His support today has a positive charge and a negative charge, like a car battery.
The positive charge (pro-Biden) is from Latino voters who really like and believe in what Biden stands for. The negative charge (anti-Trump) is coming from Latino voters who neither like nor believe in what Trump stands for. Right now, it seems like the anti-Trump vote is stronger than the pro-Biden vote.
Biden’s campaign for the Latino vote is basically flat. The pulse is weak and there’s no message. Trump has no message either, which is just as well. Trump started his 2016 campaign by saying that Latinos were rapists, drug dealers, and murderers. Since then he’s also said Latinos are too stupid to vote for him, but he’s counting on 4-5 million to vote for him anyway. His message may improve. Last weekend Trump said he “likes Latinos.”
So far neither candidate has connected with Latino voters well enough to drive turnout, and therein lies the ballgame. A lower turnout helps Trump because that means fewer votes for Biden. A lower turnout hurts Biden because over 80% of the Latino vote resides in “must win” electoral vote states.
Dr. Juan Andrade, Jr.