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Presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden (left) and César Chávez's granddaughter, Julie Chávez Rodríguez (right)
Presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden (left) and César Chávez's granddaughter, Julie Chávez Rodríguez (right)

Joe Biden uses Cesar Chavez's image to expand his reach in the Latino community

The former vice president announced that the granddaughter of the deceased community leader would be the chief adviser to his campaign on Latino issues.

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"Desperate times, desperate measures" seems to be definitely the Democratic motto to beat Donald Trump this November.

Especially when the de facto nominee is someone like Joe Biden.

Despite claiming to want to be a "transitional" candidate out of the Trump Administration disaster, the former vice president still has a long way to go in a presidential campaign dwarfed by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The inability to travel the country or hold public events has made the situation more difficult, especially when it comes to reaching communities of color, which have been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 infection and deaths.

But before all this, Biden already had problems of acceptance among the Latino community.

Not only because he was Barack Obama's vice president, best remembered by Latinos as the "deporter in chief," but also because of his lack of concrete proposals during the primaries.

For Ruben Navarrette, one of the most widely read Latino columnists in the country, this is a serious problem for the Biden campaign –and for the country as a whole.

In his latest column for the West Central Tribune, Navarrette explains how, while the Republican Party has a strong Latino voter base, among Cuban-Americans, Venezuelans, and Colombians, and although Democrats have the support of Puerto Ricans, Dominicans and Central Americans, the bulk of Mexican voters –who represent the majority of Hispanics in the country– remain undecided, in part because of the lack of options at the table.

“Basically conservative, we're registered Democrats who will vote for middle-of-the-road Republicans without changing party registration,” he said.

“The hard truth is that the 77-year-old former vice president has never spent much time around, or been the least bit curious about, the ethnic group that — in his lifetime — surpassed African Americans to become America's largest minority,” he added. “That was a huge story when it happened, in 2003, and Biden probably spent that day reading the sports page.”

This could explain why the Biden campaign has decided to incorporate Cesar Chavez's name into its team, with a view to decorating with Latino icons the only option left to beat Trump in November.

After Latina leader Dolores Huerta gave her support to the former vice president's campaign, it will now be Chavez' granddaughter, Julie Chavez Rodriguez, who will join the effort as the campaign's top advisor and ranking Latina, her team told Telemundo News last week, assuring that their goal will be to "strengthen operations in key states and join efforts with related coalitions.”

Chavez will join Cristobal Alex, former president of the Latino Victory Fund and senior advisor for Hispanic affairs, and will focus resources on swing states such as Florida and Arizona, according to NBC News.

According to Latino Decisions, 59% of registered Latinos support the former vice president's candidacy, while 22% support President Trump.

However, Chávez's arrival to Biden’s team is due to the controversial departure of Vanessa Cárdenas at the end of last year as the highest-ranking Latina in the campaign who, Politico said, was "frustrated at not having a voice in decision making and at what she perceived as Biden's lack of firm commitment to Latinos.”

The next few months will tell whether the decision to put name before effort will yield the necessary result for the country's most vibrant demographics of color to decide whether or not to support the vice president.

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