Nearly 100 Latino leaders and activists from throughout Southern California met at the Zacatecas Restaurant in Riverside, Wednesday evening, February 19, from 7 to 9:30 pm. The Summit’s agenda included a presentation by Professor Tinker Salas, historian from Pomona College and retired Professor, sociologist Jose Calderon from Pitzer College, who both addressed “why Latinos need to mobilize and support Sanders for President.” Rafael Navar, Sander’s State Campaign Director and Sam Sukatan, Sander’s Orange County and Inland Empire Area Coordinator reported on various aspects of Sander’s campaign. Emeritus political scientist, UCR Professor, Armando Navarro, who convoked the Latino Summit, presented “El Plan de Riverside,” a strategic statewide Get-Out-the-Vote (GOTV) plan of action to mobilize the state’s Latino vote for the March 3rd California Primary in support for Independent/Democrat Bernie Sanders for President.
According to Armando Navarro, “Inspired by Sanders transformative agenda and driven by their determination to defeat the re-election of Republican President Donald Trump, Latino Summit participants adopted ‘El Plan de Riverside.’ It seeks to ignite the rise of a statewide and ultimately a nationwide “Latino Electoral Mobilization Movement.” And its purpose is to contribute and ensure to the success of the ‘electoral overthrow’ of President Trump, who has categorized, particularly Mexicanos, as ‘criminals, rapists, and undesirables,’ and to ensure the election of Sanders as this country’s next President.
“Starting February 19 through March 3rd in coordination with the Sander’s state, regional, and local GOTV efforts, El Plan de Riverside call for action will be implemented. Latinos will utilize a number of “political tools” to create a historic voter turnout for the California March 3rd Primary in support of Bernie Sanders quest for winning the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, such as the formation of Viva Sanders Committees, use of “social media,” press conferences, rallies, community forums, radio and television interviews, and especially the canvassing of precincts and telephone banking, all designed to energize and get the Latino vote out,” explained Navarro.
Navarro added that efforts will be made to promote a “Brown/Black alliance” in support for Bernie Sanders. “Together in solidarity, the two communities would make Bernie’s multi-generational and multi-racial coalition politically indomitable in the struggle to defeat the re-election of President Trump,” stated Navarro.
Already the impact of the Latino’s vote on Sander’s presidential campaign was particularly evident in the Nevada Caucuses. Sanders received 53% of the Latino vote. As of Sunday with 60% of the votes counted, Sanders’s secured a landslide Nevada win and blowout. He won by a whopping 47% of the vote; Biden came in second with 19.6%; followed by Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg, 15.3%; Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren 10.1%, and Minnesota Senator, Amy Klobuchar, 4.6%. In South Carolina, with nearly 100,000 eligible Latino voters, a high percentage will vote for Bernie, significantly contributing to Sander’s victory.
Therefore, going into Super Tuesday, March 3rd California primary, Latinos will decisively contribute to “Sander’s Big Win” in California, making his movement “unstoppable.” In 2020 Latino’s in California number 16 million, and comprise 40% of the state’s population. Politically, Latino’s make-up 7.9 million eligible voters and constitute nearly 5 million registered voters. A poll taken in November 2019, reported that 74% of California Latino voters expect to vote in the March 3rd California Primary. Some 58% of Latino voters are registered Democrats, 18% Republican, and the rest, Independents. Latinos will hence have a historic huge voter turn-out for Bernie Sanders. Likewise, the Latino vote will also contribute to other major Bernie electoral wins in Texas, Colorado, and among the other twelve primary states in contention, forecasted Navarro.”
A brief nationwide Latino Voter profile reveals why the Latino vote will be crucial to Sander’s defeat of Trump. Like never before, Mexicanos and other Latinos in the U.S., according to the Pew Research Center, today number some 60 million. In 2020 Latinos comprise the largest racial/ethnic minority in the 2020 presidential election, numbering 32 million (13.3%) eligible voters; compared to Black’s 30 million (12.5%); and Asian’s 4.7% eligible voters. Latino voters constitute at least 11% of the country’s total registered voters, which translates to approximately some 16 million registered Latino voters. In the 2018 Mid-term elections, a 93% increase occurred from the previous Mid-tern elections in 2014.
“The Latino vote will be “super-vital” to Sander’s victory over Trump in November. Its impact will be unprecedented in both the “popular and electoral college vote.” In the latter, a minimum of just “twelve states,” will be impacted, totaling some 209 electoral votes,” stated Navarro. The states include: California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, and Florida. The Latino vote will be the ‘balance of power’ to Sander’s historic presidential victory come this November,” stated Navarro.
A number of Latino leaders commented on the anticipated Latino Electoral Mobilization Movement.” Jose Calderon added, “Bernie represents transformative change. His policies on immigration reform, climate change, universal health care, job creation, minimum wage increase to $15.00 per hour, major cutbacks on defense spending, and non-interventionist oriented foreign policy are resonation with the Latino electorate.”
Marta Samano, San Gabriel Valley community activist, stated, “The Latino Leadership Summit agenda as an immediate short-term objective, will focus on the creation of a historic statewide grassroots movement to create a massive Latino voter turnout for Bernie for the March 3rd California Primary.”
Long-time immigrant rights activist, Juan Jose Gutierrez of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition stated, “Trump himself is the Latino community’s greatest energizing and propelling force. He represents a severe threat to immigrants and to the survival of both the planet and U.S. Ya Basta, enough of Trump’s attacks on Mexicanos and immigrants. We must electorally mobilize and in solidarity with others, organize to ensure his defeat in the November 3rd presidential elections.” Felipe Aguirre, former mayor of Maywood and long-time community activist who supports Bernie stated, “The timing of the Latino Leadership Summit was propitious, since the Latino vote was crucial for Sander’s win in the Nevada Caucuses, and again will be vital, for the South Carolina primary; and in particular for Super Tuesday’s 14 state primaries on March 3, especially her in California.”