In 2020, Sen. Bernie Sanders dominated the Latino vote in almost every early primary state. The historic campaign to mobilize and turn out Latino voters set the standard for what successful Latino outreach looks like.
Chuck Rocha, the architect of the widely successful operation, formed Nuestro PAC and assembled a team that stands uniquely poised to run the most culturally competent independent expenditures in the history of political campaigns.
In just five months, we raised and spent $10 million running bilingual ads in eight key electoral states, helping deliver wins for Biden in Arizona, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania. We continued our success in the Georgia Senate runoff elections where we ran bilingual ads targeting Latinos to win the Senate for Democrats.
In 2020, Nuestro PAC became the largest independent Latino-focused super PAC in the country and were the only Latino super PAC to sit at the Presidential IE coordinating table. We also won the most awards out of any super PAC at the American Association of Political Consultants awards and the Campaigns and Elections awards.
After the 2020 election cycle, Nuestro PAC carried out a study on the infrastructure, strategy and results of the election with regard to Latino voters. Although Democrats achieved the highest turnout in history, ultimately winning the presidency and control over the House and Senate, it became blatantly clear the party has a “Latino vote” problem.
We conducted interviews with hundreds of local activists, party leaders, congressional staffers and Latino voters in the Rio Grande Valley, and carried out an analysis of Texas’ 2020 election data. Our research showed that in Hidalgo County, for example, 53,000 Latinos voted in 2020 who did not vote in either 2016 or 2018. The majority of these voters were registered Democrats who voted Republican.
President Biden also underperformed Hillary Clinton from four years prior in the Valley by an average of over 20 points. This was the largest swing from Democrats to Republicans anywhere in the country. This swing almost cost us two safe Democratic congressional seats, Vela and Gonzalez. It also helped elect a new Republican Latino in TX-23 where the DCCC and HMP stopped doing work in the final month of the election because their polling showed the Democratic candidate safely winning.
Our research demonstrates how Democrats started outreach to Latino voters too late. It shows how they were using ineffective messaging when they were doing outreach and a lack of the kind of multilayered paid communications they normally use when conducting outreach to white suburban voters. Latinos need to be approached as a persuadable universe, and they were not in 2020.
Nuestro PAC aims to correct every mistake that was made in 2020 with outreach to Latinos in the Rio Grande Valley.
First, we need to start our outreach early. Our plan starts communicating with Latinos nine months before election day.
Second, we need to use effective messaging. That’s why we’re participating in focus groups with Latinos in the Valley who voted for Clinton in 2016 and Trump in 2020. We’re going to continue conducting focus groups and polling in Spanish to make sure we are talking to Latinos about the issues they care about and vote on.
Third, we need to run a multilayered paid communications strategy. This strategy is modeled after how most campaigns run paid outreach to persuade white suburban voters. This strategy includes the following tools and platforms:
Live Calls and Texting
We will not be conducting door to door canvassing because we believe that work is most effectively done by organizations on the ground with direct ties to the community. Therefore, we plan to regrant money to such organizations.