Effective door-to-door campaigning and bilingual outreach efforts will be key to ensuring Latino voters favor Democratic candidates in the upcoming mid-term and future elections, according to senior Democrats on Capitol Hill.
While Latino voters played a critical role in the Democratic coalition that won the White House and flipped the Senate in 2020, data suggests that Republican efforts to boost support among Latinos were partially successful.
In a 73-page document that was leaked in June, a number of major Democratic interest groups - including the Latino Victory Fund - warned that a lack in differentiation in messaging and outreach campaigns aimed at voters of color, including Latinos, cost the Democrats support in crucial areas.
One area in which the Democrats had success, however, was Georgia, which in 2020 turned blue for the first-time since 1992.
In an interview with LPO, Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff said that his own success in the state was largely as a result of recognizing that the "Latino community is not a monolith."
"I was, as a candidate, and remain, as a Senator, visible, present, accessible and communicative in the Latino community constantly," he said.
Among the successful strategies he's implemented include "communicating what I'm doing I'm doing in both English and Spanish", connecting Latino-owned small businesses with federal resources and discussing public health issues with the community.
Another Senator, New Mexico Democrat Ben Ray LujÃ¡n, went as far as to say that certain communities the use of "Spanglish" migt be effective.
"That's how I grew up speaking. It was English and Spanish words that were intermixed," he said. "[in New Mexico] we were very aggressive early on, not just in oversampling from a polling perspective, but in engaging with listening sessions and establishing qualitative data in addition to quantitative data."
In New Mexico, LujÃ¡n said that the Democrats may be able to build upon the gains that were made in 2020.
"I think there's opportunities to build on that going forward. It's important to go out, reach out and connect with people and earn their support. We demonstrated that we can do that and the numbers have consistently improved."
LujÃ¡n, however, warned that more accurate polling will be required to accurately assess the Latino population politically.
"We remind everyone every election cycle that we're not a monolithic community. Even in a city, you're going to have Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans, people from South America and Central America," he said.
"You need to make sure you're going into those parts of the community to understand what's important to people, and generationally," LujÃ¡n added. "It takes more effort and more investment."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told LPO that she believes that pandemic-induced changes to outreach efforts had a significant impact in 2020.
"Part of the issue in the last election was that we could not go door-to-door. [Next time] we will be able to go out and go door-to-door," she said. "I'm so proud of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus for the work they do in Congress to bring the concerns of the community into our debate and discussion. That's helpful to us to understand."
"The Latino community is a young population," Pelosi added. "We really have to reach out better to young people."
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