The Democratic Party should "share stories" to Latino voters to help them compare and contrast the Biden administration with that of former President Donald Trump, according to Junelle Cavero Harnal, a former advisor to Bernie Sanders and Head of Political at H Code, the largest Hispanic digital media company in the US.
Before joining H Code, Cavero Harnal also served posts with Hillary for American, Obama-Biden, Obama for America, Hillary for President, Kerry-Edwards and the Clinton-Gore campaign. She is also the former director of Emerge Arizona and has held executive committee positions at the Arizona State Party and the Democratic National Committee.
For Sanders, she oversaw constituency efforts and organized the first worldwide get-out-the-vote program for US citizens living overseas.
In an interview with LPO, Cavero Harnal said she believes that the Democratic Party should work to ensure that its messaging for Latino voters in the 2022 and 2024 elections speaks to Latinos at a household level to help them see the benefits of a Democratic administration to their families and communities.
"The Democratic Party now has to tell stories, and compare and contrast the differences," she said. "The Obama administration did a great job sharing stories that anyone could understand. One of the things that the Democratic Party has to do is share stories of what policies are doing and how that impacts a person's current household."
Data from an analysis published by Democratically-aligned research firm Equis Labs found that "in 2020, a segment of Latino voters demonstrated more â€˜swing' than commonly assumed".
Other statistics released by the Pew Research Center in late June found that while Biden won 59% of the Latino vote in 2020 compared to Trump's 38%, there were considerable differences in political preference based on education.
The data shows that Biden won 69% of college-educated Latino voters, compared to Trump's 30% - a 39 percentage point difference. Among Latino voters with "some" college or less, however, Biden's lead shrank 14 points with 55% of the vote, compared to 41% for Trump.
Cavero Harnal warned that the Democrats must ensure that they are not expecting Latino voters to "chase" them.
"They don't want to hear from them for the first time when they're being asked to vote," she said. "They want to know the differences in what they're doing - and you've got to show them by telling these stories....that is how the Republican Party was able to respond and garner a lot of support early.
Outreach to the Latino community, she added, must go beyond translations into Spanish.
"There have been many conservations about how [the Democrats] invested too late in communicating with that community. We agree with that," she said. "It's about engaging the community early on, educating them and informing them in an authentic in which they can understand what impacts them at home."
"Both parties have to show up early and compare and contrast," she added.
Additionally, Cavero Harnal said that both parties need to understand that Latinos can no longer be treated as a "monolithic" voting bloc.
"There are particular issues that address Latinos in Florida, which are vastly different than Latinos in California or New York. There are vastly different issues, and they need to be treated as if they're like any other voter and not requested to ask for their vote and be taken for granted for, or at the end of the day we're going to lose their vote."
A number of senior Republicans, for their part, have repeatedly said that they believe a "working class" message will help garner further support from the Latino community.
In a July interview with LPO, for example, Texas Senator Ted Cruz said that the Latino electorate's slight shift to the right is "closely connected to the socio-economic shift in our politics over the last decade."
"Conventional wisdom used to be that Republicans are the party of the rich, and that Democrats are the party of the working class. In the last decade, that has flipped upside down," he said. "Today, Republicans, I believe, should be the party of working men and women - truck drivers, construction workers, steel workers, cops, firefighters, waiters and waitresses."
In the state of Texas, Cruz added, the Republican Party has benefitted from the perception that Democrats are "the party of rich coastal elites."
"Many of them look down on working men and women," he added. "I think the Hispanic vote reflects that broader trend in Texas. If you're a Hispanic guy living in South Texas and you drive a pick-up truck or you work in the oil fields, and you go bird hunting on weekends, you voted for Donald Trump."
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