During the 2020 Presidential election, even though it was billed as the most important election in American history, many Democrats believed their party overlooked their base in attempts to convert Trump voters.
Two groups who felt most overlooked were Black and Latino men, whose votes remained predominantly for Democrats, but showed an uptick in those who voted for the GOP candidate.
Voters of color are used to being relied upon to show up for Democrats, while investment in reaching and engaging them often comes late in the cycle — sometimes not until the fall, weeks before election day.
According to the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Jaime Harrison, that won’t happen in 2024, as he plans to re-engage and win back Latino and Black men who have drifted away from the party.
“The big thing is everyone wants to be seen, to be heard, to be valued, and you can’t take anybody or any vote for granted and I can say that as a man of color,” Harrison told TheMessenger.com. “When your community provides votes to a party, you never want to feel like you’re being taken for granted.”
Harrison added that he has “extra sensitivity” on the issue as the second Black man to serve as chair for Democrats in 175 years; a sensitivity that’s playing out with a $25 million ad buy targeting Latino and Black voters in key battleground states. According to the DNC, the advertising purchase was both the largest and earliest media buy for a reelection campaign into constituency media ever and served as “intentional investments in African American and Hispanic-owned media properties.”
It’s an investment that’s much-needed.
“It drove me crazy during 2020, when it looked like democracy was on the way out, and them Dems seemed to spend all their time courting Karens in the suburbs,” said Daryl Hattington, a Black man who felt ignored by the Democrats. “The Dems thought white women had had enough of being disrespected by them GOP men. Wrong. Wrong. They still voted for Trump and all his people, even with all the money Dems spent trying to get their votes.”
Though a Pew Research Center 2022 report showed most Latinos believe the Democrats care about them and worker harder for their votes than Republicans, some still felt they received the cold shoulder from Democrats. A common refrain during Texas elections since 2020, especially from Latinos in south Texas was Republicans were there talking to the people and Democrats weren’t.
That’s a sentiment held by Houston-area resident Jorge Vela.
“I look at political parties like relationships,” said Vela. “It’s not what they say, but what they do. And it looks to me like Republicans are doing more to get Brown votes. Are the Republicans racist? Yes. Are their policies problematic, especially for my people? Yes. But it’s not like Dems are light years better; maybe a little. But they need to invest more in this relationship with the Hispanic community.”
Maca Casado, the DNC’s Hispanic media director, believes the recent $25 million ad buy is evidence the Democrats are putting their money where their mouth is in terms of their commitment to winning back any Blacks and Latinos, who may have “temporarily” left their party.
Casado told The Messenger the investment builds on the aggressive work Democrats have been doing to mobilize and reach Latinos since the midterms and that President Biden’s agenda is delivering for the community.
Harrison also mentioned multiple ongoing outreach efforts of Black and Latino communities across the country to show with tangible actions that those communities, especially the men from those communities who, though traditional Democrats, leaned Republican during 2020 and 2022.
To that end, the DNC has partnered with sister committees, campaigns and state parties to fund coordinated campaign coalitions and organizing staff working with Black communities in many states, including Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Hattington heard about some of these efforts from relatives.
“I’ve got family in Virginia who hear me complaining about this all the time, telling me the Dems are serious about 2024. They say, ‘They’re already working and organizing in the hood.’ I hope they are, and that they keep on. I’m tired of having me and my vote overlooked. I’m not gonna vote for the KKK GOP, but I’ve been thinking about just not voting if the Dems don’t come correct. It sounds like they finally are. We’ll see.”