During a Wednesday town hall about Latinos and COVID-19 with Univision’s Jorge Ramos that featured Senators Robert Menendez, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Bernie Sanders, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) national president Domingo Garcia said that political parties “need to do more” for Latinos to vote for them, noting that the days of using Latinos as “political piñatas” are over.
“Both parties need to do more if they expect Latinos to believe them and and vote for them,” Garcia said. “I think one of the silver linings that may come out of this pandemic is that politicians using Latinos as political piñatas may find it will not pay off for them. As for other Americans who share that view, think about what would happen if these workers in the packing plants, in the fields were not on the job every day. There won’t be food on your table. There might not be the construction because that’s where Latinos are. So it’s time we get a bipartisan bill to create emergency protected status during this pandemic and undocumented Latinos are afraid to seek testing and treatment. There may be a golpe de castigo [a blow of punishment] for Republicans and they will wake up.”
“In addition to how Latinos promise to impact the 2020 vote, there is the presence of Latinos today in the economy that is being felt throughout the United States. Equally important is being counted as the fastest growing demographic in the nation,” a LULAC media release about the town hall noted.
In 2016, the voting rate for Latinos in the national elections was at 47.6%. According to Pew, “the number of Latino nonvoters —those eligible to vote who do not cast a ballot, or 14 million in 2016— was larger than the number of Latino voters, a trend that extends back to each presidential election since 1996.” Still, Pew noted, the number of Latinos who did vote in 2016 was a record number.