Why Many Iowa Latinos Say They’re Backing Bernie Sanders

We asked a group of Latinos in central Iowa what are their top three presidential candidates in preparation for the Iowa Caucus 2020, that will take place on February 3.

From 70 Latinos interviewed, 34% said they will vote for Bernie Sanders, 31% for Elizabeth Warren and 29% for Joe Biden.

But what makes Sanders the leader among this group of Latinos In Iowa?

For Joaquin J. Flores, born in California, working as an attorney in Iowa for almost nine years, it’s clear that Sanders is the only candidate who can beat Donald Trump.

“Bernie Sanders, like Donald Trump, brings new and typically disengaged citizens into the fold. He excites the young, who will knock on doors and make phone calls for the campaign. Their passion will push this campaign over the finish line and on to victory,” Flores said.

Some of Flores’ concerns are climate change and the inhumane treatment of migrants and refugees at detention centers.

“The impact of the climate crisis impacts the poor and people of color disproportionately. Like many societal problems, we bear the brunt of this issue,” Flores said, and also expressed his concerns for the inhumane treatment of migrants. “History will look back at this time as one of the biggest tragedies in America.”

This year and the past year we saw many deaths of migrants, including children, while in detention or attempting to cross the border. In May, Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, a 16-year-old boy from Guatemala, died in a Border Patrol holding cell. A disturbing video of Carlos was released in December 2019. This is one of many cases under Trump administration that are under investigation.

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Flores also believes that Sanders has the knowledge to run circles around Trump in a head to head debate.

“There are very few candidates who can do the same,” he said. “Also, Bernie does not have many, if any, skeletons in his closet, unlike some of the other Democrat candidates.”

For Veronica Guevara, raised in Marshalltown and the daughter of immigrants from Mexico, Sanders and Warren can both match up well against Trump.

Some of the concerns she has in her community are the lack of access to vote for minorities:

“I am concerned about accessibility to the caucuses for my community,” Guevara said. “Especially for individuals with limited English proficiency. I believe there needs to be more initiatives and efforts focused on including all individuals and engaging all individuals to understand and participate in the Iowa Caucus (at a party level).”

For Alejandro Alfaro-Santiz, born in Guatemala and now a pastor in Des Moines, he is very familiar with what are some of the most important issues in his community, such as immigration, health care for all, college for all, and taking money out of politics.

He identifies more with Sanders and his consistent message.

“His message resonates with all American people,” Alfaro-Santiz said. “Last election he won 23 primaries.”

For Alvaro Mena, an immigrant from Central America, his top presidential candidates for the Iowa Caucus are Biden and Sanders, but he’s leaning toward Sanders.

“He has a record of being a supporter of the people,” Alvaro said.

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Some of Alvaro’s concerns are immigration reform, fixing tax loopholes for the wealthy and fix the housing crisis.

A Fox News Survey out of Nevada last month showcased the base of Sanders’ strength. Nearly a third of Hispanics polled, 31%, backed the Vermont independent, giving him a 7-point edge over his closest competitor, Biden, who was at 24%. Warren garnered 10% support of Latinos.

The Iowa caucuses for both parties will be held on February 3, 2020. There are some differences between the Democratic and Republican caucuses, but the key one is that in the Democratic caucus, the participants separate into groups based on their support of a candidate.


by Fabiola Schirrmeister
Posted 12/11/19

1 Comment on "Why Many Iowa Latinos Say They’re Backing Bernie Sanders"

  • Sanders has an impressive ground game – the next six weeks are going to be very interesting to see if he can convince his fair share of undecideds before the Caucus

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