UTSA political expert: economy top concern for Latino voters

Lower turnout predicted due to pandemic, confusion about voting

UTSA political expert: Economy top concern for Latino voters
UTSA political expert: Economy top concern for Latino voters

SAN ANTONIO – Both political parties will have to rely on a coalition of voters, including Latinos, during the presidential election in November, according to Sharon Navarro, a professor in the Department of Political Science and Geography for the University of Texas at San Antonio.

"You can't win an election without a coalition, and both political parties realize that," Navarro said.

Although immigration reform remains an issue, "Latinos are more concerned about the economy," she said.

Navarro says the pandemic has taken a heavy toll in terms of hospitalizations and deaths, and many working-class Latinos have lost their jobs and their families risk eviction.

Even so, Navarro predicts a lower voter turnout because of the coronavirus and the confusion over absentee and mail-in ballots.

"Both sides have to do outreach and education," Navarro said.

She said mobilizing Latino voters is the responsibility of both parties.

Their campaigns have to keep in mind the diversity of Latino voters.

"They're going to have to recognize that there is no monolithic group when it comes to the Latino population," Navarro said.

She said it helps when Latino voters see high-profile Latinos playing a significant role in political campaigns.

“If you don’t have them at all, then that means they really don’t exist, really don’t count. We don’t need them to win this election,” Navarro said.

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About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

Bill Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.