Exclusive interview
"Kamala Harris is the only Democratic leader who could seriously fight Trump and win"
Latino consultant Javier Maza lives in Orlando and is a member of the Democratic Party. In dialogue with LPO, he says that Biden must step aside and recounts the debate within the governing party.

Javier Maza is a renowned Democratic consultant who lives in Orlando and has extensive experience in electoral campaigns in different parts of the world. Born in Peru and living in the United States for many years, Maza is a US citizen. "I love my country, but I don't miss it. I travel a lot and I always want to return to the United States. I have acclimatized and never felt segregated, " he says. In an exclusive dialogue with LPO, the Hispanic specialist talks about the presidential campaign and explains why he thinks Joe Biden should abandon his dream of re-election and Kamala Harris should replace him.

According to all indicators, we are facing the possibility of a rematch between Biden and Trump. What do you think?

There are those who say that the 2024 electoral campaign in the United States begins at midnight on December 31, that is, January 1. No, the campaign has been permanent. Donald Trump has been campaigning since he left the White House and started with the story that he was cheated. I say story because there have been 32 legal proceedings, all of which have been dismissed. Of course, you cannot prove what does not exist, and that is why all those involved are parading through the courts, starting with Trump's partner, (Rudolph) Giuliani. The accusers end up accused of this whole plot that really called into question the continuity of one of the most sacred institutions in this country, which is democracy. That's what happened, and what is happening is unusual. Trump has not been part of the Republican debates, he has these accusations in the strictly commercial field, all against him, a judge has already banned him from doing business in New York, now the most serious processes related to the assault on Congress are coming, there is the ruling of the Colorado Court and the same thing continues to happen: nothing touches Trump. On the contrary, his popularity continues to rise.

And why do you think that happens?

There are basically to reasons. First, that the Republican Party has a very serious crisis and a tremendous lack of casting in terms of candidates. If we take a look at the people who have been participating in the internal debates, beyond Ambassador Nikki Haley, who deserves a certain respect for her quality as a person, the rest... Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is an eyesore. On the other hand, let's not forget that politics in this country became a media show a long time ago. Politically speaking, a candidate who simply leaves the screen and does not stay behind it as happens with the majority of Republicans, and breaks and reaches that emotional contact with the voter pays much more. Candidate who does not reach the heart, does not win an election. Trump in his brutal, savage, aggressive way, achieved this brutal conquest and obviously keeps a broad base of the Republican Party conquered. Not all, there is a sector of the party that rejects him, that does not accept him as a Republican, and there is a sector in the middle that goes back and forth. There is still great uncertainty.

"Hay una ola de cambio inmensa y es curioso que Estados Unidos se haya congelado en el tiempo"

Nikki Haley is growing in the polls and also has the support of the Republican economic power. Is there any chance for her to become Trump's main rival?

Look, of everything that is currently in the Republican world, I think it's the only alternative to Trump. She is the only one that follows the steps, she is still 20 or 30 points behind Trump, but she is the only one with the capacity to grow. Of course, if she does not run out of gasoline or money. There is nothing more expensive than a political campaign in the United States. Millions and millions of dollars in a campaign, and when you run out of money, the show ends.

The Koch brothers are not enough.

To keep an internal, yes. But to enter a general competition, we are probably talking about 200 or 300 million dollars, no, no, you don't get there.

A candidate who does not reach the heart of people, does not win an election. Trump, in his brutal, savage, aggressive way, achieved his brutal conquest and obviously keeps a broad base of the Republican Party conquered.

Biden appears behind Trump in most polls. What is the problem: his age, the campaign, the management?

I remember a classic debate, between Clinton and the Republican Bob Dole, very loved and respected, and they talked about the tremendous age difference that existed between them. At one point, Dole turns to Clinton and says: "I know that for some I am already old, finished, and I want you to know that I still have energy, I have desire, I have ideas and I want to continue working for my country." It's Clinton's turn, he looks at him and says: "First of all, I have never insinuated that my friend Bob Dole is old: the only thing that worries me is the age of his ideas." In this case, it's both. I'm a Democrat and I supported Biden in all my public interventions, firs because he deserves a lot of respect; second, because I saw him as the only alternative to the string of brutalities, internal confrontation and divisiveness that Trump promoted in four years. But now Biden should step aside. His age... being president of the US is a very hard job, it's an exhausting job, and I even see certain problems that go beyond the age of ideas, and it's the age of age. I'm worried about his health, but in addition, I also think that it is time for a change, for a generational change in politics.

"Kamala Harris is the only Democratic leader who could seriously fight Trump and win"

Who can incarnate that change?

For me, the perfect candidate is Michelle Obama, because she is so intelligent, but she is not going to run. The one who has a fairly big possibility is Kamala Harris, who has been hidden these four years with Biden, I think with the intention probably of launching her later. The Vice-president starts a campaign on January 2 with the issue of defending the right to abortion, an issue that has become highly politicized. And I can tell you one thing, I say it as a political advisor: if the Democrats aim to turn this election into a referendum on abortion and the continuity of women's rights, they can change the dynamics of this election and I think they would have a great opportunity to retain the White House. But with Kamala, not with Biden.

It was very important for Democrats in the midterm elections.

Absolutely. It was exactly the issue that marked the result of the midterms. Some skeptics say the issue is over. No! It may have happened in the media, but in the daily reality of thousands of women, I assure you that it is still an important issue.

I am a Democrat and I supported Biden in all my public interventions, but now he should step aside. I am worried about his health, but also, it's time for a change, for a generational change in politics.

Just as she was important in the 2020 campaign, Harris now fails to convince many Democrats and receives systematic criticism in the media for her role in public office.

You said it right. Nobody appreciates what they don't know. We saw Kamala Harris for the last time, I think, when she won the election, raising her arm to Biden, and from there, bye bye, they hid her. There is nothing more sad and regrettable in this country than being vice-president. It's a decorative piece. This task that is entrusted to her now is going to give her some visibility, I don't know if with a desire to launch her as a pre-candidate, or if they are simply testing the temperature to see how she does. It can be both. It is suggestive that it was not done before. I think that she is a woman with the ability, preparation, presence, intelligence, youth and is a woman. Some say Hillary Clinton was already there. No for God's sake, Hillary Clinton is establishment, from an older generation, a woman who came with all the rejection of a broad Democratic base. She was never representative of the female presence in politics. It would be fantastic, it would be refreshing and I think that today Kamala Harris would be the only figure on the Democratic side who could seriously give a good fight and could even win the battle against Trump.

Biden desliza que podría bajarse: "No soy el único que puede vencer a Trump"

Is this debate taking place within the Democratic Party? Are they looking for Biden to step aside?

On the one hand, there is a sector of the Democratic Party that sees Biden's intention to launch again with great sympathy. Many think it's better to know bad things than to know good ones. They say Biden is an older man, he could be my grandfather, how nice that he has this energy, we owe him a lot. There is merit, gratitude and recognition. But on the other hand, all these people also think and say: if not him, who? That's the point. Let's give Kamala Harris a chance, that doesn't work either, I think so, she helped a lot in Biden's campaign and could do the same in campaign for her. But let's see her in action, see how she performs and let the public that today sees no other alternative begin to weight it. Not simply supporting a virtual repeater candidate by default, because there is no one else.

Harris starts a campaign on January 2 for abortion rights. I say this as a political advisor: if Democrats want to turn this election into a referendum on abortion, they can change the dynamic and retain the White House. But with Kamala, not with Biden.

As an advisor, what should Biden's message be to explain this step aside to society? How would you justify it?

Very easy. I mean, Kamala represents two important things. Firstly, the continuity of the good things we have done, but also the need for those things to continue to be done with energy, perspective and dedication that only a young woman can do. At this moment, our country demands a combination of the two things, of experience, of the moral solvency of the party, of continuity, but it requires new vigor and new sensitivity. In addition, remember that it was Biden who brought her to the vice presidency. Post delivery would be very easy. I would presenti it as a diamond in the rough, that there has been no opportunity to polish and that has the only opportunity to be polished in the next five or six months.

FOTO - LPO / Enrique Tubio

What do Democrats have to retain and seduce the Latino vote?

I would like to say that there is a lot in common, but I'm not going to respond as a Democrat, I'm going to talk coldly, as an analyst. I have to admit: a lot was promised and little was done. On the issue of immigration, there were very high expectations of a kind of amnesty, a lot of progress was made on the issue of Dreamers, but Biden fell short of what should have been done. To further facilitate the reintegration of so many undocumented immigrants, to bring them out of the shadows, which would have been a necessary humanitarian mission first, there are thousands of families living in the shadows. And it would also have been a good deal for the United States, because it would have actively incorporated them as taxpayers, so that they would pay their taxes. It would have been good for everyone. No one did it. There was a lack of political negotiation, some people say. Yes, but let's not forget that when Biden started he had both chambers. I think there was a lack of political will. I read some survey out there where Latino preference for the Democratic Party has suffered a drop. Before it was much bigger, it is still mostly a Latino party, but it is no longer massively what it was before. There has been a generational change. Biden has done little to renew the romance with the Latino vote, unfortunately I have to admit it. But Trump just said that the blood of this country has been poisoned by undocumented immigrants. It is exactly the same version of Hitler when he said Jewish blood contaminates the soul of our nation. That is bloodcurdling and that type of thing can compensate a little bit for disappointment and apathy that exist in certain sectors of the Latino vote against the Democrats. I think the vote can be polarized again.

Venezuelans who for four years begged Trump to give them temporary protected status gave Trump the victory. Trump has bullied them like hell all his life, but they continue to follow him like little sheep.

How do you explain that Trump has support from Latin sectors in this context?

In Miami, for example, there is a very large Venezuelan community and they were the ones who gave Trump victory in Florida the last election. Although Trump lost the presidential election to Biden, he retained the vote of my state, Florida. It was mostly Venezuelans who helped. Venezuelans who have been ignored time and time again, Venezuelans who for four years begged Donald Trump to give them temporary protected status due to the persecution of the communist dictatorship of Maduro.

"Trump dice que apoya al pueblo cubano, pero se parece mucho a los dictadores socialistas que hicieron huir a muchos hispanos"

What Trump did most was to send Mike Pence, his vice-president, to eat arepas at a restaurant in Doral. For me it was a joke, and you had to be very stupid to believe that this was a gesture of political good will. Trump has bullied them all his life, but Venezuelans continue to follow him like little sheep. He has their vote. At least, in the case of Florida, the Venezuelan vote, which is an important vote of a community that has grown a lot, is in favor of Trump. I don't understand that, I don't understand how a community that has been ignored, forgotten, left in the backyard during Trump's four years continues to faithfully believe that Trump is the option.

The Latino vote is strong in Florida, but you highlight the heterogeneity of the Hispanic community.

When people talk about the Latino vote, we should ask what is that. The Colombian vote, the Central American vote, the Mexican vote, they want to put it on a single cake and they put the Latin as the cherry. We started badly, because we would have to segregate who they are and where they are going. But once again, and this is the daily story, the issue of immigration will once again be a central issue, a topic of concern, and of course we are going to hear promises from one side, promises from the other and then disappointments will come on one side and on the other. Because hope is the last thing to go.

Translator: Bibiana Ruiz.

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