Comment: Sorry Jill Biden. Latinos want more than tacos

I don’t think I had a taco breakfast.

I’ve had all kinds of tacos – fish, beef, chicken, among other delicious fillings – but I’ve never had them like San Antonio Breakfast tacos That was hinted at by First Lady Jill Biden on Monday while speaking at the annual conference of the Latin civil rights group UnidosUS.

Trying to praise the diversity of America’s Latino community, the first lady said, “We’re as special as the Bodegas Bronx, with the beauty of Miami flowers and as unique as the tacos here in San Antonio.” She also mispronounced bodegas, a popular local NYC grocery store, and later apologized for the entire disaster. The slip was just as comforting as when her husband played the Spanish pop song “Despacito” at his campaign appearance in Florida.

As a Latino, I’m not mad that the first lady compared me to a taco for breakfast. I’m even more upset that she didn’t push for a proposal like “Healthcare for All” — and that she thinks Latinos would rather hear cliched ideas about “like and love” than support the policies we really need.

I want elected officials to think boldly and critically about what Latinos want, and polls show there are a slew of policies Jill Biden and her husband could push for.

Take Medicare for All, the ambitious proposal to create a single-payer health care system that progressives have called on the Biden administration to support (they you did not). Polls show 55% of all Americans Back Understandably, about 7 in 10 think a public health insurance option is a good idea.

Latino voters have repeatedly said that health care should be politicians’ top priority. It’s no surprise when Latinos are less likely Of both white and black Americans for insurance, nearly half said limited access to quality medical care is a major cause of poor health outcomes.

Democrats have struggled with messaging since the 2020 presidential election, when Latinos put on a less impressive display than some Democrats had hoped. Latin men, in particular, turned In higher numbers for Trump than in the 2016 election, it is true that Latinos are not a single bloc, and they are driven by a variety of concerns, including the economy, immigration, COVID-19 and of course health care. These issues were, to varying degrees, the reason why Trump did this wide strides Among our society, according to some scholars.

Trump spoke of economic frustrations and emphasized his desire to grow the economy and find jobs, messages that may have moved Latinos in places like South Texas, which are struggling with soaring prices. rates From poverty and hit hard COVID-19. In counties near the Texas-Mexico border, Joe Biden win – win By 17% in 2020 compared to Hillary Clinton’s 33-point margin in 2016. Nationally, Trump received 28% of the Latin vote in 2016 and about 32% in 2020.

But I think this explains why Democrats can’t try to placate Latino voters with platitudes and the praises of the crisp taco. Democrats need to be more attuned to the economic and social policies that Latinos have said they care about. This is one of the reasons why Bernie Sanders, the self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist, has such support among Latinos. turned The tide is in his favour during the major primaries. Sanders got 53% Latino voters in Nevada; 49% in California and 39% in Texas. Address the everyday economic issues that affect many Latinos and gain their trust.

“He has a lot of credit in the Latino community for being honest and not pretending to be something he isn’t,” Belen Sessa, a former deputy press secretary to Sanders, said in 2020. an interview with Jacobin. “He won’t get rid of a few phrases in Spanish and assume that’s enough to make you feel you can trust him.”

Perhaps Jill Biden was well-meaning in her remarks at the San Antonio conference. I’m sure the breakfast tacos are unique and delicious. But instead of hearing truisms about our society, Dr. Biden can make an even greater impact by declaring her support for much-needed legislation.

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