Joe Biden’s campaign is launching a new voter mobilization effort aimed at Hispanic men as it looks to maximize its share of the Latino vote, with just 22 days left before Election Day, Newsweek has learned.
The program, called The Luchadores, or “The Fighters” in English, is comprised of digital ads in battleground states that will feature celebrities like comedian George Lopez and former Daily Show star Al Madrigal. Beyond the campaign using its own social media channels to promote the initiative, it is partnering with top Spanish-language and Latino-focused radio stations in battleground states like Nevada, as well as TV networks like El Rey, to amplify the program.
“Latino men have been attacked by Trump since day one,” George Lopez told Newsweek. “This year, we have a chance to show him who we really are—a group of hard workers, family men and fighters.”
The Biden campaign noted that it isn’t done with persuasion work aimed at the small number of undecided voters, but said it is also turning aggressively to mobilize segments of the Latino vote in service of meeting or exceeding the recent high-water mark of 71 percent Hispanic support in the 2012 Obama-Biden reelection campaign, senior advisor Cristobal Alex told Newsweek.
“Latinos are poised to be difference makers in Florida, Arizona, and Texas, but also in Nebraska, where we’re turning out Latino voters in south Omaha,” Alex said. “The same is true in Pennsylvania, where there are Latinos with real political muscle.”
Newsweek reported that the cash-flush Biden campaign identified more Latino voters in August and September to send ads and direct mail to in an effort to maximize its vote share among the key constituency, while paying for polls with robust sample sizes of 3,800 and 4,200 Latinos to aid in micro-targeting voters.
Latino men have been more apt to support President Donald Trump than women, both in 2016 and during his presidency. Democrats have sometimes lamented that they have a strong message aimed at Latinas, who dislike Trump more, reaching them effectively with messages on issues like health care and reproductive rights, but the same can not be said for men.
Pollsters say the economy matters to Latino men, which the Biden campaign acknowledged will also be part of the messaging of the program.
“This election, our economic stability, healthcare and civil rights are all on the ballot,” Representative Chuy Garcia, who is working closely with the Biden campaign on Latino efforts, told Newsweek. “To sit out this election is to give up your power.”
“How do you take care of your family in an economy like this?” Alex asked.
“Speaking for myself, as a father of a little girl, I want to make sure she has every chance to succeed in life,” he said. “For a lot of men around the country, how do we make sure there are good jobs out there that pay well with health care?
Alex noted that the directive is to talk about how Biden’s economic plan will include Latinos as a driving force to get back what the economy lost, and beyond.
The NALEO Education Fund tracking poll, conducted by Latino Decisions, which was released after Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis, showed Latinas supporting Biden at 69 percent, and men ticking up at 64 percent, both numbers at Hillary Clinton levels, according to 2016 exit polls. The Biden campaign believes it’s just the beginning, arguing men are finally starting to trend more towards Biden.
The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment, but Republicans themselves have not abandoned reaching Latino men. A new “Fighters Against Socialism” bus tour hit Tampa, Florida on Sunday, including UFC star Jorge Masvidal, who is Cuban-American, and Donald Trump Jr., and will also visit Orlando and Miami, where Senator Marco Rubio will take part.
In a Fox News interview, Masvidal said “socialism might sound great from your liberal professor at a podium” but it’s not right for the country, and argued it’s what Democrats have to offer.
Stephanie Valencia, with Democratic research firm EquisLabs, calls this openness to voting for the president among young Latino men “Trump-intrigue,” but said her group’s polling showed his support dropping among young men from August to September.
In this final phase of the election, both campaigns appear to be trying to heed Valencia’s suggestion that the core way to communicate with this segment of voters is through authentic messaging and messengers where voters receive their information.
“Where we’ve seen softness with this group continues to be the economy,” she said. “Biden, Democrats, and progressives need to make a strong case for how Biden’s approach with the economy will benefit them.”
Jose Parra, a former senior aide for Harry Reid who has worked with campaigns in Florida, said the two campaigns are going after each other’s voters, with Biden making recent inroads with seniors, and Trump going after Hispanics in Florida.
But with a fundraising operation that is raining cash in back-to-back record months, Parra said the Biden campaign approach to maximize its Latino vote share is a smart one.
“Pushing on a particular segment of the Latino population is a way to shore up those margins,” he said, “in Florida where you always win at the margins, and probably even in Arizona.”
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