People For the American Way

Dolores Huerta: Democratic Candidates Must Earn Latino Support

Op-Ed
Dolores Huerta: Democratic Candidates Must Earn Latino Support
Photo: Gage Skidmore / Flickr

In an op-ed in Univision, civil rights and labor leader and PFAW board member Dolores Huerta discusses the critical need for Democratic candidates to invest long-term in Latino voter outreach.

Huerta points out that Latinos have helped tip the scales in past Democratic victories, even in states with modest Latino populations, and urges candidates to prioritize the Latino electorate by appealing to their priorities and concerns.

She writes:

Conventional political wisdom has largely dismissed Latinos as a “low propensity” voting bloc. But we have proven over the last few years that when Democratic candidates put in the work, Latinos turn out in record number to vote for them.

In Virginia, for example, Latino voters played a decisive role in handing the 2013 gubernatorial election to Democrat Terry McAuliffe over former Virginia congressman and attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, a far-right conservative. McAuliffe earned about 59,000 votes from Latino voters in Virginia that year –– and he claimed victory by a razor-thin margin of about 56,000 votes …

By all accounts, the race would have gone to Cuccinelli without those key Latino voters. But the support didn’t happen automatically – it happened because McAuliffe and his supporters, including myself as part of People For the American Way’s Latinos Vote! program, went all in against Cuccinelli …

After four years of Trump and his cronies’ racism and hostility, Latinos are more motivated than ever to defeat Trump and end his regime of racist hate for good. But we need to know what – and who – we’re fighting for.

Read Huerta’s op-ed in English here and in Spanish here.