Rebecca Morin, USA TODAY
Published 3:33 p.m. ET Aug. 17, 2020 | Updated 11:13 p.m. ET Aug. 17, 2020
Latinos have rapidly grown to become the nation’s largest minority population. But because so many are too young to vote or here illegally, they are vastly underrepresented in government. (Aug. 12)
WASHINGTON – Top Latino activists and politicians are criticizing the lack of representation during this week’s Democratic National Convention.
Only three Latino speakers have their own speaking slot in the Democratic National Convention’s primetime lineup: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada.
The four-night convention begins Monday with a 2-hour primetime program.
Julián Castro, the only Latino to run for president in 2020 and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary, was a keynote speaker at the 2012 DNC and this year will be speaking on a panel with other 2020 presidential candidates. However, other presidential contenders also will be speaking during the primetime event, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Mike Bloomberg and Sen. Cory Booker.
“I’d be lying to you if I said that I’m not disappointed that there aren’t more Latinos and Latinas generally speaking on that program,” Castro told MSNBC Saturday, adding that he’s also disappointed that there isn’t someone who is Native or Muslim American speaking during this primetime hour.
“You think about the beautiful coalition that has become the Democratic Party over the last few years, I’m not sure right now that it’s fully represented on that stage,” he added.
Several progressive echoed Castro’s disappointment.
President Donald Trump signs an executive order creating a new advisory commission tasked with improving Hispanic Americans’ access to economic and educational opportunities, a push that comes as he hopes to increase his share of the Latino vote. (July 9)
“How much does the Democratic Party care about Latinos? So much they will rather include Republicans & Bloomberg in the #DNC speaker lineup & not Julian Castro & other Latino leaders,” Cristina Jiménez, co-founder of United We Dream, wrote in a tweet. “And no don’t tell me that giving AOC 60 secs is enough.”
Cristóbal Alex, a senior Biden adviser, addressed some of these concerns Friday in a Twitter thread. He noted that several local Latino politicians – Nevada state Sen. Yvanna Cancela, Long Beach, California, Mayor Robert Garcia and Texas state Rep. Victoria Neave – will also be among 17 “rising stars” that are slated to give a keynote address.
“There has been a lot of excitement & questions about the upcoming convention. I’m here to share that Latinos will represent, with important voices from around the nation that showcase our community’s strength & resilience. But, this isnt like a typical convention,” he wrote. “For starters, we aren’t going to have 10 hours of speeches per day. This is 2 hours per night with a goal of reaching voters across the nation, including Latino voters. Thats why @JulianCastro has a role.”
Monday night’s event was also emceed by a top Latino celebrity and activist.
Eva Longoria Bastón was the face of the convention Monday, where she introduced speakers and kept the conversation of the convention going. The actress has been a long time political activist and co-founded Latino Victory, which helps to elect Latinos to state and national public office.
A new survey, which comes on the heels of the criticism, also shows that two-thirds of Latinos say they haven’t seen any outreach from political campaigns or groups for the 2020 election.
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According to a Somos/UnidosUS national survey of Latinos, 64% of registered Latino voters they had not received any contact from either party or non-partisan civic group for the 2020 election.
The survey also shows that 66% of Latino voters back Biden, while President Donald Trump gets 24% support with Latino voters. Latinos will make up the largest minority group of the electorate for the first time this year.
Janet Murguia, president of UnidosUS, said Monday that while she understand that there is a lot of competition for time, there was “some disappointment to be honest about not seeing more Latinos or Latinos in primetime at the convention.”
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“You’ve got to really make sure that representation is not just seen, but is felt. And for us, we need to be seeing that representation,” Murguia said.
With the election coming up in November, many wonder if we could have a contested election and how likely is that to happen?
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