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Photo: Saul Loeb/Getty Images
Photo: Saul Loeb/Getty Images

There should be a Latino moderator for the 2020 presidential debates

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Recorte al Estado

Agosto 11, 2022

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Agosto 10, 2022

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The Latino community is one of the most diverse demographic groups in the United States, and this year Hispanics and Latinos are projected to be the largest non-white voting demographic eligible to show-up to the polls.

A record 32 million Latinos will be eligible to vote during this presidential election, the largest non-white demographic group in history. Young Latinos are especially critical to the Latino vote, but this is only if they show up to the polls.

That’s why this year there should be a Latino moderator for the 2020 presidential debates.

In 2016, The Commission on Presidential Debates failed to have a Latino present in its diverse lineup of moderators. A mistake, argued an NBC op-ed, because one of the most important issues of the 2016 race was immigration. 

None of the 2016 presidential debates between President Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton featured Latino moderators, but both campaigns actively pursued the demographic’s vote. 

Not only is this an issue of visibility, but voice. No one on the panel of moderators could ask questions in such a way that only Latinos or Latino immigrants could ask.

This year, the Latino vote is expected to see its biggest year yet. Not only is the demographic expected to make records on Election Day, the Latino community has also been one of the most visible this year– and not for the best reasons. 

The coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately affected Hispanic and Latino populations the most in both cases and deaths, and currently those risking their lives as essential workers are predominantly Latinos.

The Latino Community Foundation wrote a petition directed at Janet H. Brown, the executive director of The Commission on Presidential Debates, urging the commission to consider a Latino journalist to moderate one of the upcoming presidential debates.
 

“With less than 100 days from the next presidential election, we respectfully write the Commission to invite a Latino journalist to moderate one of the three presidential and/or vice-presidential debates,” wrote the Latino Community Foundation.

In the petition, the foundation describes having a Latino moderator as, “no longer considered a nice-to-have, but essential to fulfill the Commission’s mission and to be in tune with the needs and opportunities of the American electorate.”

The petition names multiple journalists, including journalists like Ilia Calderon and Jorge Ramos of Univisión, Alicia Menendez of MSNBC, Maria Elena Salinas of CBS News, Vanessa Huac of Telemundo and Cecilia Vega of ABC News, essentially showing the Commission how easy it is to find a prominent candidate. 

The only thing left is to choose.

Latinos have a considerable role in the future of this nation’s leadership. It would be a disservice to ignore someone with nuanced knowledge of issues Latinos face today.

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