Former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina broke down Monday why he thinks the Democratic Party is losing support from a large portion of Latino voters.
Messina argued to host Joe Scarborough on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that Democrats have “messaging problems” with Latinos, and cited specific reasons why Democrats performed more poorly with Latinos in 2020 than in previous elections. (RELATED: Dems Need ‘A Wake-Up Call’: Former Obama Campaign Manager Messina Warns Of Future Party Losses)
Scarborough began by noting that Democrats saw Latino voter loss in various regions nationwide in 2020, not just in the Miami-Dade area. He argued that while former President Donald Trump campaigned a lot in the Miami area, the Latino voter loss seen in less competitive areas was due to issues like concerns over socialism.
“I agree. I think there’s a couple of things to unpack here. The first is our inability to canvass … We were not on the doors talking to these voters as they were deciding,” Messina responded. “The second, the Democratic Party has got to get around to the notion that we have messaging problems. The thing you said that I just agree with the most, and you and I have talked about this a lot before, Latino voters are not a monolith, and they are very different in some of these places.”
He continued, saying a state senator in Texas told him the Democrats’ embrace of the Green New Deal is why they performed so poorly near the southern border and were “bleeding” Latino voters in historic numbers. He added that Democrats have to look at their messaging and ask if they are appealing to all the voters they possibly can, as well as tackling socialism and explaining they “have a different vision for the future.”
“If we’re just going to play defense, we’re going to continue to bleed with these incredibly important voters. We cannot assume that Latino voters are part of our base. We have to treat them as persuadables and have a message to them that is very compelling and isn’t just the typical junk that we put out there the last 60 days of every election,” Messina concluded.
Exit polls from the 2020 election showed huge gains for Trump in the Latino vote compared to the 2016 election. The shift in the Latino vote in Florida has been attributed by some to the fear of socialism and proposals for more government run programs, such as Medicare-for-All.
Following the election, self-proclaimed democratic socialist Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized Democrats for not putting in the “necessary effort” to attract Latino voters. She said she had been sounding the alarm over Democrats’ “vulnerabilities” with Latinos “for a long, long time.”