“Yes, there are Latino citizens and voters who are more comfortable in Spanish, but people are interested in what kind of a candidate you are and … what are you planning to do,” said Clarissa Martinez de Castro, the deputy vice president for policy and advocacy at UnidosUS, one of the oldest Latino advocacy groups in the country. “I think a lot of times, where Latino voters are concerned, they tend to be either taken for granted and/or attacked. And so our biggest fear is that we see a continuation of that.”
She and other organizers are concerned that both parties are following an outdated political playbook that casts Latino interests as alien to the concerns of working-class white Americans in the Midwest and Rust Belt states that Democrats are determined to win in the general election. As my colleague Ron Brownstein wrote last week, demographic trends suggest that the Rust Belt states Democrats are trying to wrest from Trump will only lose political influence as Americans move south and west—lending more political power to the states where Latinos already reside.
Jacqueline Martinez Garcel, the head of the California-based Latino Community Foundation, points to the Democratic sweep of longtime Republican strongholds in Southern California during the midterms as evidence that candidates should think of Latino interests beyond immigration as part of their mainstream agendas.