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Democrats Target Latino Voters In Wisconsin And Around The Country

Democratic National Convention
Tom Perez, chair of the Democratic National Committee, says the Latino vote will be critical to pulling off a win in November.

Wednesday marks day three of the Democratic National Convention.

One of the sessions focused on turning out the Spanish speaking vote. It’s a segment of the population that both Democrats and Republicans have deemed essential.

Wisconsin state Rep. and Milwaukee Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa opened the session, laying out why she believes President Trump does not deserve the Latino vote. 

“Donald Trump has used fear, hate and division to attack our community. Instead of investing in our future, Trump poured billions into a wasteful and ineffective and divisive border wall. And now, we’re in the middle of this global pandemic. Latinos are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 infections and deaths,” Zamarripa says.

Another participant, Ana Navarro, is a lifelong Republican and GOP strategist. But this time, she stands with Democrat Joe Biden. She says she can’t forget how Trump has “failed” in a number of areas, including the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I will not forget that he has called the countries that we come from shitholes. I will not forget that he has said that neo-Nazis are good people too and that there are good people on both sides. I will not forget he has boasted of sexual assault against women. I will not forget that he has taken protesters off the street so that he could stage a photo op with a Bible,” Navarro says.

Still, it won’t be smooth sailing for the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris ticket among Latino voters. Luis Velasquez lives in Milwaukee and is organizing here. He was illegally brought to the U.S. 20 years ago at the age of 9. Velasquez says he has two younger brothers who are American citizens, he is a DACA recipient and his parents were deported to El Salvador. 

Velasquez says there’s a distrust of Biden among Latinos because he was vice president during the Barack Obama years when immigration reform was promised but not passed. Velasquez also says a large number of people were deported under the Obama administration. 

“Address it, because as Latinos we don’t sugarcoat the truth and Ana Navarro knows that very well. We don’t sugarcoat it. And so I would love again to have a response,” Velasquez says. 

The Nov. 3 election is just about two and a half months out. In 2016, Democrats lost Wisconsin by 21,000 votes. At the same time Latino voter turnout here fell by 1.5%. 

LaToya was a reporter with WUWM from 2006 to 2021.
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