Latino voters get early love from outside Biden group ahead of mid-term elections
“Remember when I said “start early” HERE YOU GO!” Political Analyst Chuck Rocha wrote on Twitter.
Coming out of the 2020 election, it has been widely acknowledged that President Joe Biden initiated Latino outreach much too late, and it led to underperformance in a couple key states — Texas and Florida. Looking ahead, there’s time to rectify the late show of attention to the nation’s second-largest voting population, but only if outreach begins now.
Latinos are the new swing vote, and mobilization efforts are only just beginning to understand what this voting bloc wants from its candidates. No longer can political campaigns appeal to Latinos at the last moment, and with relatively less financial investment in voter participation.
A newly-formed Biden outside group, Build Back Together is trying to fill-in this void. In the months since its formation, the group has emerged with efforts to help sell, build and maintain support for Biden's policy agenda for Latinos, especially now, with his newly-announced COVID-19 rescue package.
While not in direct control of the group, the Biden administration has close connections with Build Back Together, created in part by President Barack Obama's former deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter and other prominent Democrats.
Its first initiative is making sure Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan is communicated to Latino voters. To help, they’ve announced the addition of several high profile Latino political strategists to their team.
Mayra Macías, former executive director of the Latino Victory Project, is joining in a co-leadership role as a chief strategy officer. Latino Victory is a well-known organization that amplifies progressive Latino candidates across the U.S. Her initiative — the bulk of the new Latino strategy — will focus on reaching Latino audiences through paid and earned media.
“There is nothing more important to me at this time than to communicate to everyday people all the good our country can accomplish when we vote for leaders who center our communities,” she said.
The group is also bringing in senior Latino spokespeople, with the addition of Bully Pulpit Interactive’s Xochitl Hinojosa, a former communications director for the Democratic National Committee (DNC). She will also manage earned media strategy.
One of the most vocal advocates on the issue of late Latino outreach is analyst Chuck Rocha, the mastermind behind Sen. Bernie Sanders’ success among Latino voters when he ran for president.
“Remember when I said, “start early” HERE YOU GO!” Rocha wrote on Twitter after Building Back Together’s announcement.
Announcement @SolidarityLLC team is SUPER proud to be joining the Build Back Together team! I’m super pumped to be joined by familia @lachicamayra @XochitlHinojosa @realMABarreto and so many other. Remember when I said “start early” HERE YOU GO! #LatinoVote https://t.co/9bdddRafKw
— Chuck Rocha (@ChuckRocha) April 26, 2021
Rocha will lead the strategy for Latino-focused ads.
He leads Solidarity Strategies, which joins Latino Victory Project, Voto Latino, Mosaic — which managed Hispanic outreach for Biden’s 2020 campaign — Somos Votantes, and Alianza for Progress in the initiative. The bulk of the partnering organizations are Latino-led firms.
The new additions will be joining Matt Barreto, who was announced as a senior advisor for Building Back Together earlier in 2021, and is currently president of Barreto Seguro Partners.
The outreach plan begins in Florida, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Arizona, all swing states with high populations of swing-vote Latinos. They will focus on Spanish-language television ads on networks like Univision and Telemundo, along with bilingual digital ads and radio.
At first glance, it may be problematic considering the misplaced notion that all Latinos exclusively watch those Spanish language channels, but with longtime advocates of this flaw in political outreach, namely Rocha, on the team, it’ll be interesting to see how the strategy plays out.
The initiative calls itself “multi-layered” and that it will focus heavily on digital platforms. It will also have a heavy focus on how Biden’s American Jobs Plan will impact Latino families.
Later, the group says it will launch an immigration initiative, focused on uplifting the administration’s immigration policies. Nearly 100 days in, it is to be seen how that plays out.
Behind it all, is the Biden administration’s urgency to get his landmark American Rescue Plan communicated to Latino voters. Why should it matter to them, and why should they stick with Biden because of it?
There are heavy political implications, but in any case, the outreach to Latinos this far in advance is unprecedented, and a sign for what may finally become the norm.