Myth of the Monolith: The Latino Vote in Texas and Beyond
A record 32 million Latino Americans were eligible to vote in 2020. But the 2020 election showed that there is no such thing as the “Hispanic vote.” Nowhere was this more apparent than in Texas, where Donald Trump gained support among these voters, dashing Democrats’ hopes of flipping the state blue.
What can we learn from electoral outcomes in Texas and other battleground states like Florida and Arizona to better understand the differing interests, values, and cultural histories of voters within this broad bloc? What’s the distinction between Tejano and Latino? And what role does age, gender, location, and socioeconomic status play here?
Join panelists Matt Barretto, Sharon Navarro, Jason Villalba, and Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez for a discussion on these questions and more. Ray Suarez will moderate.
Thursday, December 17, 2020
12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. ET
Virtual Webinar (Zoom)
Dr. Matt A. Barreto, Co-founder and Managing Partner, Latino Decision
Dr. Matt A. Barreto is Co-founder and Managing Partner of the polling and research firm Latino Decisions which he co-founded with Gary Segura in 2007. Time Magazine called Latino Decisions the “gold-standard in Latino American polling” and The Guardian wrote that Latino Decisions is “the leading Latino political opinion research group” in the United States. Barreto has been recognized as “the pollster that has his finger on the pulse of the Latino electorate.” In 2020 Barreto was hired by the Joe Biden presidential campaign to direct polling and focus group research for Latino voters. In the prior cycle, Barreto conducted polling and focus groups for the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. That same year, he also directed Latino outreach research for the U.S. Senate campaigns of Catherine Cortez-Masto (NV) and Michael Bennet (CO).
In 2018 Latino Decisions was one of the earliest consulting firms hired by the DCCC as part of their year-of-engagement plan which conducted extensive research and messaging strategy to understand the best ways to communicate and engage with Latino voters across dozens of competitive battleground districts. In a 2018 post-election article, the New York Times wrote “the polling company Latino Decisions conducted nationwide focus groups to better identify the needs of Latino voters and to tailor a proper message.” And NBC News added “For the election, several Democratic political fundraising committees commissioned the polling firm Latino Decisions to conduct polling and focus groups and try out some messaging of Latinos. According to DCCC chair Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, “Latinos showed up to the polls because we talked to them, we listened to them, our candidates connected with their personal stories, we knocked on their doors we reached out online.”
Barreto also directed research for groups such as Priorities USA, House Majority PAC, and CHC BOLD PAC in 2018 to understand Latinos views in the midterm, challenges and opportunities to mobilizing the Latino vote and message testing.
In previous cycles, Barreto implemented the first ever weekly tracking poll of Latino voters during the 2010 election, which continued through subsequent elections, including 2018. Working closely with Segura, he has also overseen large multi-state election eve polls, battleground tracking polls, extensive message testing research and countless focus groups. He has been invited to brief the U.S. Senate, the White House, Congressional Committees, and has been a keynote speaker at many of the major Hispanic association conferences including NALEO, LULAC, CHCI, NCLR/Unidos and others.
Barreto is also a professor of Political Science and Chicana/o Studies at UCLA where he teaches courses on Latino politics, elections, immigration politics, and statistical analysis. He is the author of four books and more than 60 academic articles, and his research has won several national awards and grants. Barreto received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Irvine in 2005, and was on the faculty at the University of Washington for 10 years before joining UCLA in 2015. At UCLA he also serves as founding faculty director of the Latino Policy & Politics Initiative, in the Luskin School of Public Affairs
Dr. Sharon Navarro, Associate Professor, University of Texas at San Antonio
Dr. Navarro received her master’s degree from the University of Texas at El Paso and a second master’s degree and PhD in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She specializes in Latino/a politics, women in politics, and race in American politics. Her most recent publications include Latinas in American Politics (Lexington Press, 2016) and Latino Urban Agency (UNT Press, 2013). She has co-authored Politicas: Latina Public Officials in Texas, authored Latina Legislator: Leticia Van De Putte and the Road to Leadership, and co-edited Latino Americans and Political Participation, as well as several articles on Latina judges in the Texas judiciary. She is currently writing a book tentatively titled Leticia Van de Putte and the Race for Texas Lieutenant Governor. Dr. Navarro is active in the local community and offers training seminars on minority women running for elected office. She is also an avid cyclist and runner.
Jason Villalba, Counsel, Foley & Lardner LLP
Jason Villalba is a financial lawyer in Foley & Lardner LLP's corporate practice group in Dallas. He focuses his practice in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, private equity, venture capital, private securities and general corporate law. Jason has experience in a wide array of corporate transactions including mergers, acquisitions and divestitures of public, private and middle-market companies; venture capital and private equity financing transactions; transactions involving emerging growth and technology companies; public offerings of securities under the Securities Act of 1933; and public company corporate compliance under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
A significant number of Jason's clients conduct their primary operations within the technology sector. As a result, he has developed and cultivated a unique practice experience centering on technology-centric companies and transactions.
Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, Civil Rights Leader
Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez is a leading civil rights leader and former 202 US Senate candidate. She was named “Hero of the New South” by Southern Living Magazine and her work has been featured on NPR, Vogue, The New York Times, MTV, USA Today, Univision, MSNBC’s Up Late with Alec Baldwin, among others. She is also a JM Kaplin Innovation Prize winner and a Roddenberry award winner.
Cristina is the founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Jolt — a Texas-wide organization that lifts up the voice, vote and issues impacting Latinos. Founded in 2016, Jolt seeks to win the nearly 11 million Latinos living in Texas the power and respect they deserve. Jolt’s work has reached tens of millions of Americans, mobilized thousands to action and built the leadership of young Latinos across Texas.
Cristina began her social justice career when she co-founded Workers Defense Project (WDP), a workers’ rights organization with the mission to win better working conditions for immigrant workers in Texas. She built WDP from a small volunteer project into a statewide organization that was named “one of the most creative organization’s for immigrant workers in the country” by the The New York Times. She helped lead the organization for over a decade, taking on two of the most powerful special interest groups in Texas – the construction and real-estate industries.
At WDP, Cristina won the passage of half a dozen local and state laws better protecting the rights of hundreds of thousands of workers. Additionally, Cristina uncovered widespread safety hazards facing construction workers in Texas, leading to a federal investigation and new national initiatives to ensure stronger workplace safety enforcement for vulnerable worker populations.
Cristina is an author on issues of race, gender and immigration, and she is the co-author of “Presente! Latino Immigrant Voices in the Struggle for Racial Justice” published by AK Press (2014).
Ray Suarez, Co-host of WorldAffairs, journalist and author
Journalist and author Ray Suarez is the co-host of World Affairs, produced by the World Affairs Council of Northern California in partnership with KQED-FM. Suarez recently completed an appointment as the McCloy Visiting Professor of American Studies at Amherst College. From 2013-2016 he was the host of Al Jazeera America’s daily news program, Inside Story. The program covered a wide array of national and international news stories, from the rise of Donald Trump to long-term unemployment to the Russian seizure of the Crimean peninsula to the arrival of the zika virus on US soil.
Before coming to AJAM, Suarez spent 14 years as a correspondent and anchor at public television’s nightly newscast, The PBS NewsHour, where he rose to become chief national correspondent. During his years at The NewsHour, Suarez covered the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, four presidential elections, reported from the floor of seven party political conventions, moderated two presidential primary candidates’ debates, reported from the devastating Haitian earthquake, the 2006 Mexico elections, the H1N1 virus pandemic in Mexico, and the explosion of tuberculosis/HIV co-infection in South Africa among hundreds of others.
Suarez came to The NewsHour from six-and-a-half years as the Washington-based host of NPR’s Talk of the Nation. During his time as host, the program’s carriage more than doubled to more than 150 radio stations, and the audience more than tripled in size. The New York Times called Suarez the “thinking man’s talk show host,” and “a national resource.” The magazine Utne Reader called him a “visionary.” Talk of the Nation made history, broadcasting live coast to coast across South Africa and across the United States, connecting these two audiences to talk about the post-apartheid future during the first elections after liberation. During Northern Ireland’s first Christmas in peace after decades of The Troubles, Talk of the Nation became the first radio program ever simulcast over Ireland’s RTE, Britain’s BBC, and NPR in the United States.