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What the 2020 election tells us about the Latino Vote

Frankie Miranda, Hispanic Federation President, joined Yahoo Finance to discuss the historic Latino voter turn out for the Presidential election and the role the Latino vote is playing this election cycle.

Video Transcript

KRISTIN MYERS: Well, all eyes are still on the election. Two days after the last vote was cast, the Associated Press puts Biden ahead in the electoral college votes. That's 264 to Donald Trump's 214. Now, of course, the votes are still being counted. But we are getting a pretty clear picture on how certain voting blocs cast their votes in this year's presidential election.

So we're going to start today by digging into the complexity of the Hispanic vote with our first guest Hispanic Federation President Frankie Miranda. Frankie, thank you so much for joining us today. You know, for years, we've been discussing that Hispanic voters are not a monolith. And if we look at the exit polls from the Associated Press, we have right now that Trump grabbed 35% of the Hispanic vote.

Now, this does represent an uptick from 2016, at least, if we compare it to the exit polls provided by Pew Research that showed only 28 of his-- 28%-- excuse me-- of Hispanic voters voted for Donald Trump. I believe that Democrats have long counted on the Hispanic voting bloc, essentially, to vote for them. As you're looking at this year's election, what do you think Democrats failed to do this year to motivate Hispanic voters?

FRANKIE MIRANDA: I think that they're continuing with the conversation about not being a [? monolithic ?] bloc. Candidates and campaigns need to understand that they need to talk to us about the different topics that we care about. And communities that may seem the same may not be in terms of interest. Let's take into consideration, for example, Cubans in Miami that had been all over the news with Cubans that live in New Jersey in the Northeast.

The same thing will happen with communities-- Mexicans that have been here for many generations and newly arrived in border towns. Puerto Ricans, for example, that had been in New York for many generations and have gone to live in Florida versus those that were displaced because of the natural disasters in Puerto Rico after Hurricane [INAUDIBLE] and Maria and the earthquake. So there is a constant conversation about really understanding that our community, though, really, you need to talk to us in different ways depending on the situation and who we are.

KRISTIN MYERS: So to that point, Frankie, I'm really glad that you mentioned, especially that Cuban-American vote, because we do actually have some graphics for everyone at home to look at. We saw that 51% of Cuban-American voters voted for Donald Trump. But now, this is interesting. Compare that to only 32% of Mexican-Americans, 32% of Puerto Ricans.

So, obviously, there's a lot of very different politics at play here within the Hispanic voting bloc itself. To your point, right, about how the campaigns need to think through about how they are talking to Hispanic voters. How should the campaigns start approaching the Hispanic vote considering that there's many different conversations that need to be happening just within the Hispanic bloc?

FRANKIE MIRANDA: Absolutely. What we need is more resources and investments in community. Coming into communities a few months before the election, it's not going to have the outcome. The Hispanic Federation is a nonpartisan civic engagement organization. We are in communities all year round talking to our members of our community about civic engagement education, naturalization, voter registration, get out the vote-- the importance of many aspects of our community.

The campaigns and the candidates need to do the same. They need to be investing in communities, not enough [? per ?] [? thought ?] or just trying to provide campaigns and ads in Español or in Spanish. It is not enough just to do that. And, unfortunately, our community has been a target for a lot of misinformation and disinformation.

And we also, we need to remember that the Latino community has had a disproportionate impact because of the pandemic. We have been losing jobs at a higher rate, higher infection rates, and also, the loss of loved ones. So when we talk about our community, when we talk about the issues that we care about, you need to talk to us in our terms and the issues that are affecting us depending also on the wave on how the pandemic is moving around.

- And what has been your reaction to what, for example, AOC has said-- Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez-- in terms of the impact Democrats have had on the Latino community and it possibly not being enough?

FRANKIE MIRANDA: We feel that the candidates need to do more all across the board. I think that there has been attempts to reach out to our community. And some of them have been fueled with misinformation. There has been a very toxic narrative around our community for many years. And people have been talking about us as we don't belong here that we are drug dealers, rapists.

Those are the words that some of the candidates have used. And we need to really engage our community and making sure that the investment is there and also that the right conversation is happening in our community. And, again, you know, talking about misinformation, of course, there are messages that are going to resonate in our community that we didn't have the opportunity to counter in the sense of like, how is the community really trying to counter some of that misinformation that has been targeting us?

JENNIFER ROGERS: So to that point on misinformation, I mean, the Mueller Report found in the 2016 election that no group of Americans was targeted more by Russian intelligence and African-Americans. And recently, there's been a lot of focus on misinformation targeting Spanish speakers. And the content moderation is much less developed for any language other than English.

So how much are the companies here responsible? Does Facebook need to be doing more to get their content moderation up to the same standards as it is for English language which we all know has problems as well?

FRANKIE MIRANDA: And to add to that, the robocalls that were targeting also our neighborhoods and were telling people that the election was already decided, to stay healthy, to really dig into the fear of getting infected. We need to do much more. We need to do much more. Companies that are part of the social media environment needs to do more.

Our Latinos-- every 30 second in this country, a Latino turns 18 years old. They are very active in social media. And a positive side is that they have been very much part of the conversation of Black Life Matters and social justice in this country. But at the same time, they have noticed-- those bad agents have noticed that we are active, that we are-- we have a high percentage of people using smartphones. This is the way that we communicate with our loved ones in our countries of origin.

So we may not have a computer at home, but we may have-- we do have a smartphone that we can use to do these kind of exchanges with loved ones. So it is true that we are now being targeted because our numbers, our shear numbers. And on the positive side, I just want to talk about the turnout, because the fact is that we're talking about how Latinos have voted.

But the fact is that as an organization that is nonpartisan that our goal is to get Latinos to vote that we have broken already all records from 2016. And that is also a positive sign because people need to take notice about our community. And how are we going to decide in the future which are the candidates are going to stay in office or the new ones?

KRISTIN MYERS: And I know that this is, of course, a conversation that is going to be ongoing, especially as the votes continue to be counted and even looking forward to the 2022 and 2024 elections. But we're going to have to leave that conversation there. Frankie Miranda, president of the Hispanic Federation. Thank you so much for joining us today.

FRANKIE MIRANDA: Thank you for having me.