Presidential Campaigns

President Trump Aims To Win Over Latino Voters For 2020 Election

Through several White House initiatives and executive orders, President Trump is actively courting Latino voters ahead of the 2020 election.

President Trump Aims To Win Over Latino Voters For 2020 Election
AP/Evan Vucci

President Donald Trump is ramping up efforts to win over Latino voters this November.

In July alone, President Trump announced the Hispanic Prosperity Initiative, held a meeting with the Mexican president on USMCA and promised upcoming action on DACA — something that could offer so-called Dreamers a pathway to citizenship. 

"But we're going to take care of DACA, because I'm going to be doing, in the not-too-distant future — pretty soon I'm going to be signing a new immigration action," Trump said. 

Focusing on the key voting bloc is one way experts say the Trump campaign is hoping to get back on track, since polling shows him trailing presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

"So I think the coronavirus, the economic impact of the coronavirus and the Black Lives Matter protests really shook things up," said Geraldo Cadava, an author and associate professor at Northwestern University. "And I think the string of events as an effort to kind of redirect the campaign to focus not just exclusively on the economy and how it was doing before the coronavirus, but to kind of focus on this whole range of issues."

Latino Americans have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus. But the Trump campaign's messaging has been centered on the economy, school choice and accusing Democrats of moving towards socialism. 

"There's a big difference between such another thing, socialism or the government's going to be running things," said Adolfo Franco. "I feel the Democratic Party and Joe Biden is being dragged very much in that direction versus our direction, which is less government and more opportunity."

Adolfo Franco has consulted with President Trump's re-election campaign on a variety of issues including Hispanic outreach. He says the Latinos for Trump Coalition, which launched over a year ago, has made investments as well as national and targeted outreach efforts in key states like Arizona, Florida, Texas, New Mexico and Nevada. 

Biden leads President Trump among Latino voters at 59% to 39% in a recent NPR/PBS News Hour/Marist poll. If figures like this hold, that would be a slight improvement for President Trump, who won 28% of the Latino vote in 2016. Biden has so far underperformed among Hispanic voters compared to how Hillary Clinton did four years ago.

Geraldo Cadava says both political parties could benefit by direct outreach to different groups within the Latino community but that it's also important to have a national approach.

"So I think you need to also, at the same time that you're segmenting the Latino vote, you can't just put it in a box and think that they're only in states like Arizona or Florida and that's where you need to run Latino campaigns. I think you also at the same time need to think of Latinos as a national voting bloc as well," Cadava said.