Things That Matter

Latino Voters Will Be A Huge Force In The 2020 Election And Pete Buttigieg Just Released A Details Plan On Latino Issues

We have been saying it for a few months now, almost like a mantra: the holy grail of US politics, in particular during presidential campaigns, is the Latino vote. Of course we have also stated that it would be ineffective to put all people of Latino heritage in the same basket, as we can have contrasting and even opposing political views.

However, Democratic presidential hopefuls are realizing how important the Latino vote will be in the 2020 presidential election, particularly considering the confrontational position that President Donald J Trump has held against non-elite US Latinos.

Once Democrats figure out who their candidate will actually be (numbers say Joe Biden, but esto no se acaba hasta que se acaba), a comprehensive strategy to appeal to the Latino vote should be devised. In the meantime, one of the most surprising candidates, Pete Buttigieg, has released a white paper which outlines what a Buttigieg presidency would look like in terms of Latino issues. 

Latinos will be the largest ethnic group in the 2020 elections.

Credit: EqualityForAll / Instagram

This is not something that candidates, including Trump, can afford to ignore. This vote is elusive, however, as for far too long political parties have failed to understand its complexity. A recent study shows that “Only 48% of Hispanics in the United States believe they are unified, and 62% believe that they don’t speak with the same voice.”

This is significant and challenges simplistic views of a unified Latino or Hispanic voice. Another significant finding: “62% think that a Hispanic/Latino person is likely to be elected president of the United States in the course of their lives”. So, dear Castro twins, do not despair just yet! 

The Buttigieg campaign has promised to make Latinos count and this white paper is the first step towards at least acknowledging our importance.

Credit: Pete For America

The campaign said in a media release: “The Latino community is an integral force in pushing our nation toward achieving inclusive, progressive ideals. In so many ways, members of the Latino community uphold and embody the values that make us American”. This statement runs almost opposite to the official discourse of the Trump administration (or at least of Trump himself during one of his many rants). It is important to note that Mayor Pete is under performing with US Latinos, with single digit numbers in terms of preference. 

The paper highlights the discrimination that Latinos have been subject to for decades, and promises swift action if Pete Buttigieg is elected president.

The Mayor is not holding back words when it comes to the current administration and the many instances of blatant discrimination that different types of Latinos have been subject to. Buttigieg shows some awareness of the similarities that bound us together, but also of the differences that make Latino culture complex and rich.

The media release from the campaign continues: “Despite these contributions, Latinos have been subjected to relentless and bigoted attacks by this President and his administration. Whether it is the disenfranchisement of the people of Puerto Rico or Latino neighborhoods denied access to clean air and water, Latinos in the United States have been burdened for too long by a legacy of systemic discrimination. As President, I will put an end to this administration’s discriminatory policies and work to dismantle the institutional barriers that have denied Latinos the opportunity to belong in their country.”

Sounds like a good start! But ranting is not enough, so what are the policies that a Buttigieg presidency would put into motion?

So what are the actual actions that Buttigieg would take to better the lives of Latinos in the United States?

The white paper is titled “El Pueblo Unido/A People United: A New Era for Latinos” and it covers a wide range of issues that goes from the economy to education, housing, health care, the environment, immigration and the status of Puerto Rico. The first action seems to be shifting the discourse surrounding the Latino experience. For once, he calls the El Paso massacre an act of terrorism, something that current authorities fail to do even though the massacre was racially motivated and had an obvious political undertone.

These are some of the major points covered in the white paper, and the proposals that are most significant: 

  • Move towards political representation for Puerto Rico, meaning that the island should have a say in the Electoral College. The white paper also opens the door for Puerto Rico to become a State if its people want to move in that direction. 
  • As for immigration, Buttigieg would promote a path for citizenship for 11 million people, expedite the reunification of families and reconsider the list of removable offenses as the current one is often judged as too harsh. 
  • He would also push for a federal fund of $10 billion to promote entrepreneurship among vulnerable populations such as Latinos. 

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