Photo: NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP / Getty Images
Everyone wants to be an oracle when it comes to the Latino vote in 2022. People are making bold predictions about which candidates and which issues will be crucial for Latino voters when we’re not even past the first month of the year. Republicans have even rushed to create Latino community centers, where they believe coffee and cupcakes will replace real politics and meaningful legislative action that can actually help millions of Latinos across the country.
As leaders and professionals in this space, here’s what we know from our decades of work with Latino voters: People vote when they feel heard. No one can say for sure how Latinos will vote after two years of battling an overwhelming pandemic. But if you take a closer look, there’s one thing they want to hear from politicians: an uneven and unpredictable economy. At the end of 2020, the poll The Pew Research Center showed that “close to eight in ten registered Latino voters and American voters in general consider the economy to be very important to their vote.”
This is what is on the minds of Latinos: how many of their businesses They have closed, while others have barely stayed afloat. How many of your friends and family have lost a job that they haven’t yet recovered or have they had to leave their jobs and dedicate their time to being caregivers.
This is a reality for millions, and so far the Democrats and Republicans are perceived similarly when it comes to Latinos’ perception of the economy. So what makes the difference now, 10 months before the midterm elections? The actions. Legislation that can create jobs, help businesses with their daily expenses, and support struggling Latino families.
Democrats took action when they passed the Build Back Better Act in the House of Representatives late last year, without any Republican support, with ZERO Republican votes. House Democrats have passed legislation that will create good-paying jobs, reduce pollution that fuels climate disasters, lower energy costs for working families, and begin bringing justice to communities on the front lines of climate change.
The Build Back Better Act includes a clean energy tax credit transformational package, which provides an investment hose to the innovators powering our clean energy economy, supported by Fortune 500 CEOs and entrepreneurs alike. Now, waiting for the Senate to move forward, this legislation is at a critical juncture. As Democrats continue to fight to deliver a better, sustainable economy for all of us, Republicans stand by, hoping everyone will excuse their inaction with empty promises of a better future, where a better economy means favoring big business. oil and gas at the expense of the health of frontline communities.
But while Republicans hope business as usual, Latinos are hopeful and see the Build Back Better Act as a way to improve economic growth and create jobs. An overwhelming majority (87%) of Latinos support legislation that creates additional clean energy jobs such as in the wind and solar industries, and 86% support a legislative package that provides tax incentives to make clean energy sources available at lower costs.
So, thinking about this for the next 10 months, what is unacceptable is that candidates arrive at the last minute with empty promises. Now is the time for them to listen and explain what they will do to improve the economy of millions of Latino families. How they will create jobs, increase savings, avoid the volatility of energy prices derived from fossil fuels, while mitigating the impact of climate change.
Voters will remember those members of Congress who claim to care about the economy, while remaining indifferent when a real opportunity arrives, one that will make a significant difference in the lives of Latinos. It’s time to act, not empty gestures, this is the way we get Latinos to the polls.
Ben Monterroso, community leader and senior advisor to Poder Latinx; Vanessa Cardenas, former senior adviser for the Biden campaign