At 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov.3, I cast my first-ever presidential ballot for Joe Biden. I did this for multiple reasons: climate change, student debt relief and racial justice, to name a few.
According to CNN exit polls, many within my age group did the same; Biden was set to win those 18-29 by a margin of 62-35, far exceeding any other age group, and even further outpacing Hillary Clinton’s 2016 margins.
Though many didn’t, I expected this; we are the most progressive generation in American history, and that Tuesday, we voted based on our values.
Still, with the slim margins in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. it is clear that the unbridled repudiation of Donald Trump many of us expected did not come.
Misinformation, voter suppression, sexism, racism and straight-up lies all played a role.
However, who we should not render from blame here, is Biden.
For transparency, I did not vote for Joe Biden in the Democratic primary; I voted for Senator Bernie Sanders. However, from my understanding, the sole reason fellow Democrats nominated Biden was that he was seen as the “safe” candidate to beat President Trump.
Conventional wisdom in Democratic circles was that Biden could win back enough white voters to retake the aforementioned rust-belt states. While that may have been true happen, it is by no means a guaranteed fact.
In actuality, Biden lost voters in certain places, specifically Latino votes.
In Florida, Trump carried nearly half of the Latino vote, up from 35 percent in 2016. In Georgia, Biden carried Latinos by 16 percent compared to Hillary Clinton’s 40 while in Ohio, Biden took Latinos by 24 percentage points to Clinton’s 41.
Latinos are notoriously underserved. Many live-in poverty, lack quality access to education and face discrimination on a daily basis, so how could Biden allow them to leap into the arms of President Trump?
Perhaps some of it, as reported by The New York Times, is because of Biden’s lack of Latino outreach infrastructure. This may be why former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said Trump’s “Hispanic effort is much more active.”
If Latinos decide to make a home within the GOP, it could be the party’s lifeline in a diversifying country.
If we learn one thing from this election, as a party, it’s that we cannot take minority voters for granted. Just because you have a “D” next to your name does not grant you lordship over the vote of minority voters… you have to work for it.
Joe Biden did not, and while it won’t cost him this election, it is a warning sign for years to come.