There are only 38 days until Election Day, and some of us cannot wait to see change. For many in the Latino community, this administration has been a nightmare from day one, with us enduring the insults of then-candidate Trump to suffering growing persecution and inequality from his administration.
In a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center this July, Latino registered voters outlined the issues they care about the most. At the top of the list are the economy, health care and the coronavirus outbreak.
Although Iowa is not the mecca of the fast-growing Latino electorate in the nation, it is still considered a political center in the Midwest that has changed history before.
There are 80,000 eligible Latino voters in Iowa, and I set out to learn where they stand on Election Day. I polled my followers in social media and here is what I found out.
Overwhelmingly respondents said they support and will vote for Vice President Biden and Kamala Harris.
Iowa Latinos said this about why they are supporting the Biden-Harris ticket:
Connie Lozano is in her late 60’s and she said: “I am voting for Biden because he would be a leader that we are totally missing under this administration. Our pandemic death rates are up, our economy is worse, fraud is rampant, and the interests right now is in taking care of the rich, not the poor and the thousands of people losing their jobs. My vote is for immigration reform (helping the Dreamers for one) and climate change as two important issues that we need to work on. Biden is the only candidate that will bring positive changes for these important issues.”
David Quinones, IT professional: “Trump’s administration has failed me and most of us. He has created the worst division and has taken us decades back in time. I truthfully have not seen any growth in our economy, we haven not innovated, we have failed horribly in the pandemic and he even stopped funding the program that would have had us somewhat better prepared. Joe Biden and the Democratic Party are known for the people’s party. For Latinos, the last four years have not been easy. The only lesson to learn is to never repeat our mistakes. We need a President that will unite us, find the solution, become innovated and most of all people someone that will unite us. I do look forward to having Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the office for a well overdue change!”
Beatrice Silva-Salas, from West Des Moines added some of her thoughts: “The 2020 elections are the most consequential in generations. This administration has been systematically and successfully chipping away at our democratic institutions, values, and norms. Tragically, the checks and balances that were put into place throughout our government, have failed. Yet, I remain hopeful. I am reminded that the power remains in the people of this country.”
“I am voting for Biden and Harris because their values, morals, and vision for our country, align with mine,” Silva-Salas continued. “The Biden-Harris plan on JoeBiden.com details exactly how they plan to restore our great nation from day one … We need Biden-Harris to create a Covid response team lead by scientists, to help stop the continued spreading of the virus.”
Alicia Peña, 60, said: “Biden was never my choice, I almost refuse to vote, but that would defeat the purpose to get Trump out. I do think he can do a better job.”
There is a growing concern that Latinos who were eager to vote for a more progressive candidate may be conflicted and instead of voting for “the lesser of two evils” may end up abstaining.
So, what are campaigns doing differently today to secure the Latino vote? Given the unprecedented restrictions of pandemic times, what else can be done?
Some of their efforts on the Democratic front include the Latino Leadership Council, and just a few days ago the Biden campaign held a virtual phone bank called “Todos con Biden” where Illinois Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia participated.
There is a record 32 million Latinos projected to vote in 2020 nationwide and securing their support has become increasingly important for presidential campaigns.
Parties could borrow a concept from the postal service that included important reminders for voters: Start today. Understand the process. Keep rules and dates present. Request your mail-in-ballot (often called “absentee” ballot) at least 15 days before Election Day (that would be mid-October) and return at least 7 days before the Nov. 3 election (if not much earlier) or — even better — vote early in-person at a county auditor’s office.
Constant bilingual communication is helpful. Addressing the top issues of concern for Latinos will go a long way too. Most importantly, candidates must build long lasting and trusted relationships with true leaders of the community, only then political movements will seal the long awaited and meaningful inclusion of the Latino electorate.
by Claudia Thrane
Iowa Starting Line is an independently owned progressive news outlet devoted to providing unique, insightful coverage on Iowa news and politics. We need reader support to continue operating — please donate here. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more coverage.