Latino Victory (LV) is one of the main organizations that support the candidacies of Latinos in the country. Founded in 2014 by Eva Longoria BastÃ³n and Henry R. MuÃ±oz III, the group is the visible face of Latinos seeking to make their way into politics not only at the state level, but also nationally.
In an exclusive interview with LPO, Nathalie Rayes, the President and CEO of Latino Victory, talks about what can be expected from the Latino vote for these November elections, the support of hispanic community to Democrats, and the Latino candidates in each states.
Even though the latest opinion polls show that the Latino vote could be going to the Republicans, Rayes remains optimistic and says they will continue to support the Biden administration.Taking into account that Latinos are 19% of the population but are underrepresented in Congress, do you think that this midterm election could be key to transforming them into leaders on a national scale?
A top priority for us as an organization in this midterm election is to ensure more Latinos are elected to Congress. There are a broad, diverse array of Latino candidates running for Congress in states like Texas, California, New Mexico, Florida, and Arizona, and states with growing Latino populations such as Colorado, Oregon and Nebraska.
Every one of Latino Victory's endorsed congressional candidates are experienced leaders in their communities, and they have the potential to emerge during the midterm election as national leaders. We believe that all politics are local. At the moment, the most important quality that Latino candidates running for Congress have is that they are in touch with their communities. They know the issues that matter the most to the people voting for them in November. But yes, there is a lot of talent, and all of them are prepared to head to Capitol Hill to champion the Latino community, to support policies that will improve their communities' quality of life and become national leaders in the process.Campaigns are expensive and on this occasion Latino Victory Fund were alerting about self-financed candidates and money from cryptocurrencies. How is this situation affecting the Latino candidates that you support? Is it an unequal battle they are fighting?
We know that one of the most impeding barriers preventing Latinos from running for office is access to resources. Because they have unlimited resources and the ability to run political ads 24/7, self-funded and multi-millionaire and billionaire candidates pose a real threat to Latino candidates' chances of winning and increasing Latino representation in elected office.
These candidates, who have unlimited resources, are adding more bricks to the barriers that Latino candidates have to jump to win. Which it's why organizations like Latino Victory are instrumental in leveling the playing field for Latino candidates so that they have the resources they need to run competitive races and win. We're focused on fighting to close the leadership gap and get more Latinos elected into office.
In which states are you more confident that Latino candidates can be protagonists in these elections?
Latino candidates can win in every state. There are Latino states where candidates are at the forefront, such as Texas, New Mexico, California, Florida, and Arizona. But Latino candidates are also successful in states where Latinos are a growing population. Latinos are running in states of Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, Colorado and Georgia, and these candidates have the ability not only to win elections but to mobilize Latino voters in their states to turn out to vote and even impact top-of-ticket races such as the Senate, the U.S. House and even the White House.
Many polls have appeared showing that the Biden administration is losing the support of the Latino vote. Do you think so? And in any case, why do you think it would be happening?
The Latino community and Latino voters are not a monolithic group. Our community is diverse, we have diverse political views, and there will always be a percentage of Latino voters who vote Republican. But the fact is that a majority of Latinos continue supporting the Democratic Party.
They supported President Biden and Vice President Harris by more than 60 percent in the presidential election. We're confident that Latino voters will turn out to vote in support of Democrats in the midterm elections and beyond. When it comes to Latino support for Democrats, it's important to note two things. First, Latinos support Democrats because this party aligns closely to the issues they support-access to affordable health care, support for affordable, high-quality education, job creation and a livable wage, and support for reproductive rights.
Second, this support won't occur on its own-demographics are not destiny. We need to put in the work. It's important for Democrats to continue engaging Latino voters, investing early in voter mobilization outreach and raising awareness of the successes that the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress have achieved over the past year.
Do you think there is a possibility that the economic situation will cause Latino voters to turn to the Republican Party? Is there a danger zone?
Latino voters are rightfully addressing issues that concern their well-being, and the economy and job creation are top priority issues for Latinos. What's important to note is that under President Biden's administration, our country is on its way to a strong economic recovery. The latest unemployment rate is 3,9 percent, and in May, the economy added nearly 400.000 jobs totaling 8.9 million since President Biden took office.
However, there is still a lot of work to be done. Democrats have proven time and time again that their policies help working families and strengthen our economy, and that's why Latino voters have consistently supported Democrats. Republicans don't have a solution for anything but giving big tax breaks to the wealthiest and corporations-they don't care about the working class. What Democrats need to do now is to ensure Latinos know of their successes ahead of the election.
Another important aspect beyond the candidates is that the Latino population is going to vote. How to promote so that the number of Latinos who attend the polls grows? I imagine that will be key for the candidates who represent the community.
Latinos are the second-largest voting bloc in the country, a powerhouse demographic that can determine races at all government levels. But this voting power won't harness itself. Every election cycle, we've seen think pieces and pundits wondering if the Latino voters will turn out to vote and what's the secret to mobilize this powerful bloc.
There's no secret-we're like any other voter. Democrats and organizations need to simply meet Latino voters where they are, talk to them, ask them what issues matter most to them and engage them year round. We can't just arrive one month before Election Day and expect a phenomenal turnout-consistent and early investment in Latino communities is key. A solid voter mobilization plan must include investing in Latino voters early, in a culturally-competent manner and targeted to each specific Latino audience.
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