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Latino Vote Photo: (ROBYN BECK / AFP / Getty Images)
Latino Vote Photo (ROBYN BECK / AFP / Getty Images)

Dear Democrats, Latinos can’t hear you

The Democratic Party remains committed to following strategies that have already been defeated in politics, once again ignoring one of the most important…

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Do Democrats really know what Latinos need? Are they really listening to us?

That is the question we all ask ourselves since Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016 (and yes, maybe even before, but the urgency of the last few months has made this reality become more and more ingrained).

In classical stories, the villain is not the only one to blame, but also those who refuse to oppose him with the best tools at hand.

A few days ago we discussed the findings of a study funded by the Democratic Party on the position of Latino voters regarding their political proposals.

The conclusion is not surprising: Latinos are not sure about voting for Democrats and, in the absence of a tangible option, some prefer to not even vote at all.

History repeats itself, and errors too

But let's not be so hard. The Democratic National Committee appointed a new director of Hispanic media last week to try to reformulate its recruitment strategies in the Latino community, as NBC News reported.

In his new position, Enrique Gutiérrez seems to be clear on the challenges of the coming months, especially after his personal experience as a Latino in the country.

According to Gutiérrez, he "has witnessed firsthand how policies can have a personal impact on mobilization" within the country, echoing the government's "zero tolerance policy" and its anti-immigrant agenda in general.

"He was a young boy of about 8 or 9 years old when California's Proposition 187 – a ballot measure that cracked down on immigrants - brought politics into the mix of his family’s kitchen table. His parents, legal residents from Mexico then, suddenly turned their attention to politics," explains NBC.

"Proposition 187 changed the perspective of my family and my perspective growing up," Gutierrez said. "I saw a shift in them that we are not really secure.”

"The same change that invoked that spirit in me is why I’m fighting the Proposition 187 of now," he said, referring to White House immigration policies.

His mission will now be to communicate clearly, plainly and precisely what the Democratic Party intends to do for Hispanics and why this community should support them.

But the matter will not be so easy. The Latino community in the United States is a segment of the population that usually has its hands full with work, economic survival, education of their children and, now, the daunting task to avoid racism and latent xenophobia in the country.

Getting the attention of this population, which has very little time to devote to Washington, is key to the Party.

For José Parra, founder of the political consulting firm Prospero Latino, the Democrats "must stop considering Latino voters as a given entity rather than a constituency that needs recruitment," he told the media.

Change the message and the channel

The old strategy of throwing the message into the void and waiting for someone to pick it up is precisely what Parra believes should change, being replaced with an "accessible, specific and genuine" message.

In a political moment where change is the rule and where the transformation of strategies is an emergency, the Democratic Party seems to be going through a paradoxical crisis of spirit.

Tom Steyer, the hedge-fund billionaire turned left-wing political activist, explained this during the annual conference of Netroots Nation.

As reported by the BBC, Steyer made it clear that the Democratic establishment in Washington is not listening to its voters nor is it clear on what its supporters need.

"I do not see a single constructive thing coming out of Washington. Not one," he said.

For the activist, the problem is not only Donald Trump and his entourage of followers, but the absence of an antagonistic program that really works and that doesn’t transform "reds" into "blues" but, as the president of Democracy in Color Aimee Allison said, transform them from "non-voter" into "voter."

Unlike what many anticipate, the Democratic Party doesn’t have the courage to settle an internal civil war but is determined to seek the most productive option to reach an audience that got tired of waiting for a message in their own language.

Campaigns and victories like that of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York show that the way is not dividing the Party between the center-conservatives and those more inclined to the socialist left, but adopting the "visionary" and "daring" model of policies made in the street, hand in hand with people who can really make a difference.

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