One concern that has been leveled regarding Bernie Sanders’ campaign and chances for receiving the Democratic nomination, or earning the presidency, is that he has been slow in reaching minority voters. On Tuesday, Sanders aims to correct this, with an online Q&A directed at those voters whose primary language is Spanish.
Sanders announced the event on Sunday, with a post on his Facebook page.
The Q&A will take place on the Univision Noticias Facebook page.
Bernie Sanders is, of course, not the first candidate to reach out for the Latino vote. Marco Rubio has addressed audiences in Spanish, and Univision has interviewed him in Spanish. Hillary Clinton also briefly addressed a Facebook audience in Spanish to apologize for Donald Trump’s statements on immigration earlier this year.
In fact, addressing Hispanic voters is a fairly standard part of campaigning for presidency, and the Hispanic vote is considered rather important to the Democratic nomination and to election.
However, in the case of Bernie Sanders, this move symbolizes not only the obvious outreach to Hispanic voters, but that he is perhaps hearing the criticism from the public, and responding by covering a gap that he’s hearing the public is concerned about.
It’s certainly a necessary move for his campaign, as Sanders moves up in the polls. Fortune reports that Bernie is closing in on Hillary Clinton, though the gap between the two is still significant — and Politico places her approval rating with Hispanic voters at a significantly higher level than his: Clinton at +40, Sanders at +5.
If this Q&A improves that rating, it could be a big step for closing the gap between the two candidates at the polls.
As for immigration reform, one of the key issues for the Hispanic vote, Sanders lays his plan out in seven points that include higher wages for workers in the U.S. temporarily, reducing the vulnerability of undocumented workers, protecting the children of undocumented immigrants, and absolutely not tying immigration reform to border fences and “… unrealistic and unwise border patrol proposals.”
After announcing the upcoming Q&A, Sanders also shared a video of himself, speaking in Des Moines this week, discussing the way that immigration reform has been discussed, saying that disagreeing on how to handle immigration is fine, but racial slurs and generalizations are not an acceptable way to have the conversation. The full video is here.
“I am profoundly disgusted by the racism that has been addressed at the 11 million undocumented people in this country. People can disagree about immigration reform, but racism and demagoguery on this issue in the year 2015 is unacceptable.”
Univision has already cut ties with one candidate for racially charged statements, and Bernie Sanders’ handling of this Q&A with the Spanish-language television network can be expected to have a real impact on the presidential race.
[Photo by: Adam Bettcher / Getty Images]