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“The result of this recall is going to be a barometer of Democrats’ readiness for next year’s mid-terms, because if Democrats can’t find a way to mobilize Latino voters to save a [Democratic] Governor, how the hell are we going to ask them to save a Democratic Congress and, therefore, the Biden administration’s agenda? Said Christian Arana, vice president of policy at the Latino Community Foundation, a statewide philanthropic organization that promotes the participation of Latino voters.

In a recent CBS News-YouGov poll, Latinos, who make up about 40% of California’s population and about 30% of the electorate, were also split on whether to vote “yes” or “no” on the recall. In a Berkeley-IGS survey in July, 4 in 10 Latinos were ready to dump Newsom.

Those numbers don’t surface in a red or purple state, but in big blue California, where no Republican holds office in the entire state, Joe Biden has beaten Trump here by nearly 30 percentage points and the Democrats. are almost twice as numerous as Republicans. And in his first election in 2018, Newsom himself won almost two-thirds of the Latin American vote, according to exit polls.

Just a small change in the preferences of Latino voters in California would be significant. It was California Proposition 187 – the ballot initiative, later overturned by the courts, banning undocumented migrants from receiving certain public services – that galvanized a generation of Latinos against the GOP. Democrats pummeled Republicans for it, running initiative ads in elections spanning more than a decade.

But Proposition 187 – and the angst it created among Latinos – is now a generation old. Meanwhile, Latinos have suffered disproportionately amid the coronavirus pandemic – both economically and through higher death rates.

Last year, Biden finally won the Latin American vote and the presidency by a good margin. But Republicans managed to make inroads with Latino voters across the country and vote. Now the GOP is targeting districts across the country – including a number of predominantly Latino districts – to further pull out Latin support from Democrats and topple the House.

A bad sign, Democratic candidate for governor and former governor Terry McAuliffe is far behind Biden’s numbers with Hispanic voters this year in Virginia – where about 10% of the population is Latino – according to a Crooked Media-Change poll Research.

“Yes [the GOP’s 2020 inroads with Latinos in south Texas were] not a wake-up call for Democrats, I don’t know what it is, ”said Fabian Núñez, former chairman of the California state assembly. “It’s one thing to lose Florida, it’s another to lose the Southwestern Latinos. And the lesson here for the Democratic Party is to make a long-term investment. “

Nuñez and other Latino leaders and organizations in California say Newsom has done a good job securing political victories for Latinos, and they downplay the polls. Some say if the polls are good, the problem is rather that Newsom – and Democrats in general – didn’t do a solid job of selling their victories or staying engaged with Latinos between elections.

“In the midst of this recall election, all we hear is how the governor is a tyrant – put on mask warrants and [other pandemic-era restrictions]. But on Newsom’s side, it’s “it’s a takeover.” It seems like Latinos are caught up in this intergalactic power struggle where we don’t fit into it, ”Arana said.

“There is no recognition of us, of our problems,” Arana added. “And we don’t feel like we’re part of the solution.”

To working-class Latinos in California, Newsom has at times seemed woefully out of touch. While encouraging Californians last year to avoid congregating for the holidays, he was pictured at a dinner party for a political adviser at upscale restaurant The French Laundry. In the middle of the recall campaign, he sold his $ 5.9 million home in the Bay Area. Earlier this month, Gustavo Arellano wrote in a Los Angeles Times column that “Newsom is about as loved by many Latinos as a stale Mexican coke.”

“French Laundry stuff is really bad for the Latino community,” said Amanda Renteria, who was the national political director of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and unsuccessfully ran for a congressional seat in the Central Valley of California in 2014.

Newsom, Renteria said, was “ahead” of disaster relief for undocumented migrants affected by the coronavirus. He made sure high-risk areas of the state in Latin America were prioritized for vaccines and implemented health insurance for undocumented immigrants over 50. He also appointed the first Latin American senator from California, Alex Padilla, to fill the post left by Kamala Harris. when she became vice president.

“From a political point of view, if you can judge, he did some really good programs,” Renteria said. “But he doesn’t feel like he’s connecting himself.”

Republicans attempt in the recall to bond with Latinos – something the GOP has long tried to do in California, with little success – by describing Democrats as out of touch with working-class Latinos hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic .

Former San Diego City Councilor Carl DeMaio Reform California’s pro-recall group has aired Spanish-language television commercials in Los Angeles and San Diego. Democrat Gloria Romero, a former California lawmaker who backed Newsom’s main Republican opponent Larry Elder, cut an ad for him in Spanish.

“Latinos are the changing demographics in this country,” DeMaio said. “In 2016, it was working class whites. In 2020, we started to see a dramatic change among working class Latinos, and that’s what’s happening right now. “

Newsom’s campaign said it did not see a deficit in Latin American motivation to vote for Newsom in its follow-up, but a lack of information about the election itself – an off-year contest held in September during a pandemic.

On Monday, the Newsom campaign began running statewide anti-recall ads featuring Senator Bernie Sanders, who is so popular with Latinos that he was called out by some supporters in the 2020 presidential primary. under the name “Tio Bernie”. And the campaign said it was making an eight-figure investment in targeting Latinos as part of a massive turnout, including text, digital and postal campaigns to raise awareness of the recall election in Latino households.

Recently in east Los Angeles, volunteers called in Spanish and Newsom, surrounded by campaign signs saying “Defense of California ” (defending my California), said, “You just have to wonder who would Larry Elder have appointed to replace Kamala Harris? He certainly wouldn’t have been the first Latino senator in California history.

“We support you. My children are supporting you, the community is supporting you, ”Franky Carrillo, a Los Angeles County Commissioner who ran a telephone table with his three children, told Newsom.

The poll suggesting Newsom’s struggles with Latinos may overstate the case. Modeling the turnout is difficult in any year, and even more so in a recall election outside of the year. The same CBS News-YouGov poll that divided Latinos on the recall issue also had a Newsom approval rating among Latinos of 55%.

Mike Madrid, a Republican consultant who focused on Latin politics in California, said “none of the data convinced me” that Newsom has a serious problem with Latinos.

“Most of the data I see shows very traditional voting patterns,” he said. “The only thing that’s different is all the experts are on fire.”

This week’s FiveThirtyEight poll average helped Newsom beat the recall by just over 4 percentage points. And with more than 4 million ballots already returned, Democrats far surpassed Republicans, accounting for about 55% of early returns, according to data firm Political Data Inc.

Yet even Democrats expect Republicans to outperform as the election approaches, and Latinos lag behind in early returns, as is typical in the state.

Michael Trujillo, a Democratic strategist in California, said the resurgence of the coronavirus in California could hamper in-person turnout operations, especially in high-density Latin American neighborhoods.

“What concerns me most is how you persuade Latino voters is that you have a conversation with them on their porch,” he said. “And with our Covid-sensitive volunteer base and our Covid-sensitive voters, it makes the pitch a lot harder to do. “

And Newsom’s campaign, even with its investment in turnout, fails to reach at least some Latino voters.

“My family has five Latino voters and we have yet to receive a single mail asking for our vote,” said Danielle Cendejas, a Democratic strategist based in the Los Angeles area. “I don’t know if it’s a ‘Democrats lose Latinos’ as much as, are we actually reaching out to Latinos and saying, ‘Here’s what’s at stake.’

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