Biden Must Get Ready to Fight for Florida

Biden campaign

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By Giselle Balido

April 14, 2020

Although he beat Bernie Sanders in the Florida primary, Joe Biden still has a lot of work to do to win the Latino vote in one of the country’s most populous swing states. 

After the ex-senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders dropped out from the 2020 presidential campaign and endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden, the door is wide-open for Mr. Biden to face off against incumbent Donald Trump in the general election in November.

But although many activists believe there’s little chance that Latino Democrats would abandon a Democratic nominee for President Donald Trump, the news is not entirely rosy for the former Vice President. This holds especially true with Latino voters in Florida, one of the nation’s most populous, and important, swing states.

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“The assumption that Latinos will vote for Biden just because he isn’t Trump must not be a strategy that the campaign embraces, and from now until November he must convince us why he’s the right candidate,” says William Joel Bravo, Senior Field Manager of Florida Immigration Coalition (FLIC) Votes.

“In order to unite the party and engage Latinos, the message must be beyond getting rid of [Trump],” he added. Instead, the message Bravo told The Americano, must be grounded on policy and effect. “Full stop, Joe Biden must embrace a more progressive health care policy, immigration reform plan, and continue to make advances in access to higher education.” 

Addressing Past Mistakes

Professor of Government and Latino Studies at Cornell University Sergio Garcia-Rios, an expert on Latino voter participation, agrees that health care is the main concern of Latino voters and believes that Biden needs to be very clear and specific on what he wants to do in this regard. “Latino voters are still not satisfied with Biden’s vague support of Obamacare as the solution,“ Garcia-Rios wrote on Cornell’s The Hill.

But even if he manages to erase potential voters’ doubts about health care, Biden will still need to address some of his past mistakes, say both Bravo and Garcia Rios. For Bravo, the “proliferation of the deportation machine that was expanded under the Obama-Biden administration” still has Latinos hurting. So even though Biden recently acknowledged that the deportations were a mistake during a Facebook Live event with Univision’s Jorge Ramos, Bravo believes that “he must make it clear to the Latino community that he has learned from his grave errors and will work every single day for the votes of our community.” 

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Garcia-Rios, for his part, added that to attract Latino voters, Biden must also have to be really clear about other issues that matter to them. As he pointed out, “Sanders set out a plan for what he would accomplish in his first 100 days in office, including comprehensive immigration reform and addressing DACA,” while all Biden has said is that immigration reform would “have to be discussed.” 

In addition, Biden’s campaign’s messaging has not been particularly strong in challenging The Trump administration’s weak and ineffective handling of the alarming spread of COVID-19 in the Sunshine State, which could gain him an edge with voters. 

But despite all these weak spots in the Biden campaign and messaging, Bravo believes that the promised support of Bernie Sanders will boost Biden’s chances to defeat Trump.

“It is beneficial for Joe Biden that Sen. Sanders will be right next to him in the fight to take down Trump, and it is important that a concerted effort to court Sanders’ voters is emphasized in the campaign plan,” finalizes Bravo.


CATEGORIES: Elections | Florida | Latinos | Voting


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