The Commission on Presidential Debates announced on Wednesday the moderators for the upcoming three debates between Joe Biden and Donald Trump and one between Kamala Harris and Mike Pence. Once again, Hispanic – Latinos are left without a voice.
The three white co-chairs of the CPD chose Chris Wallace of Fox News, Steve Scully of C-SPAN Networks, Kristen Welker of NBC News, and Susan Page of USA Today as moderators.
The idea of a Hispanic – Latino journalist not be included in any of the four debates is irresponsible given that a record 32 million are projected to be eligible to vote (13.3% of all eligible voters) the largest, nonwhite racial or ethnic electorate in the 2020 elections.
“Not just because visibility and representation matters, but because we should at least have a representative who knows Latinx issues at hand, who knows which issues are the most pressing to Latinx households”, wrote Ericka Conant, political reporter for AL DÍA.
“If there isn’t a Latinx moderator, millions are deprived of having most important issues voiced and delivered during the presidential debates. Latinx figures continue to shape the nation every day, and to snub the second-largest demographic group in the United States again after dismal representation at the Democratic National Convention (DNC), would be another snub ahead of a presidential election.”
The shun by the CPD is compounded by the devastating effects of COVID-19 which data shows is disproportionately striking Hispanic – Latino residents at a significantly higher rate than other groups. This is a dire reflection of a longstanding reality in the country due to widespread racial and ethnic health disparities. The handling of the pandemic by the Trump administration is a focal point of the president’s re-election bid and that of his opponent, former vice president Joe Biden’s argument for change at the white house.
“This is a missed opportunity to fully engage Latinos in the political process,” the Latino Community Foundation told AL DÍA. “Latinos want to know that their issues, which are America’s issues, will be addressed by the candidates as we head into the election.”
“It is preposterous to look at the state of our country; increasingly polarized communities across the nation, and not be left to wonder how is it possible that our community remains excluded?”, said Hugo Balta, president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), and Owner of MALatinoNews.com (part of the Latino News Network) in a video statement.
“While Latinos remain the leading driver of the national population growth, partisan and non-partisan parties alike only engage at a time when there is something to be taken, but rarely ever to be given,” Balta continued. “These three co-chairs and the CPD made a conscious decision to deny a voice in the most visible and opportune moment to rebalance the scales of equality.”
in 2016’s presidential election In 2016, Trump received 28% of the Latino vote while Hillary Clinton won 66%.
In Massachusetts, 9.0% of the eligible voter population is Latino (452,000 out of a total of 5,042,000), according to the Pew Research Center.
The CPD co-chairs are Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., Dorothy S. Ridings, and Kenneth Wollack. The first presidential debate between President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden is scheduled for Sept. 29.