Politics, Moderate



Talk is cheap. Organizations need to invest money to help get out the Latino vote.

Esther J. Cepeda on

CHICAGO -- The mainstream media has two settings when it comes to Latino voters: "The Sleeping Giant will determine the next president!" and "A confounding mystery endures: Latino voters don't turn out to vote, but why?!"

A primer: There is no such thing as a "Latino community." Latino voters are diverse -- from many different countries and cultures. And complex -- with different views toward immigration, depending on where they're from (remember that all Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens by birth and Cubans have enjoyed special rules for entering the U.S. and obtaining legal status since the Cold War).

Candidates uttering a few stock phrases in heavily accented Spanish aren't going to cut it. This is especially true when issues that have particular resonance with Hispanic voters -- education, health care, gun violence, jobs for our children's future -- are left largely unexplored.

Last week, Arnold Garcia and Kyle Longley wrote an essay in The New York Times with the headline "What Democrats Need to Know to Win Latinos." As they put it: "The 2018 midterm elections showed a sharp increase in Latino voter turnout, but the continued failure by Democrats to understand the nuances of the Latino electorate could well result in another forehead-slapping, head-scratching rerun of disappointing turnout in 2020."


But, also, let's not forget that even as the Latino electorate requires understanding, it needs something far simpler to get energized and ready to vote next November.


Money. Cash. Moolah.

Or, in the parlance of politics: resources, investments.

"The best strategy to increase Latino voter turnout in presidential elections is to close the registration gap," according to a new analysis of Latino voters by UnidosUS (formerly the National Council of La Raza) and the polling firm Latino Decisions.

"Closing the registration gap" is an artful phrase that hides the stone-cold truth: Organizations that care about getting Latinos registered to vote, informed about the candidates and issues, and energized to actually get to a polling place on Election Day need the money to make that happen.


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