As the 2016 Political Campaigns goes into full gear Portada interviewed Mike Madrid, Principal at GrassrootsLab and a nationally recognized expert on Latino voting trends. Madrid tells us that the immigration issue is overemphasized as a key theme for Hispanics; Education and Economical issues are much more important. 3 Do’s and Don’ts in Hispanic Political Marketing.
Portada: How has digital marketing evolved since the last election cycle in 2012?
M.M, Principal at GrassrootsLab: “Digital marketing has changed dramatically since 2012. Facebook’s changes alone have considerably changed the political landscape, let alone the creation of numerous new platforms. Where digital was an intriguing new add-on to a political campaign it’s now a central component to a winning campaign.”
Where digital was an intriguing new add-on to a political campaign it’s now a central component to a winning campaign.
Portada: For what elections do you see the Hispanic vote as particularly important in 2016 both on the national level, but also on the different administrations levels (presidential, national leg, state, municipal)?
M.M: “There’s a lot of chatter about the importance of the Latino vote in the Presidential race. While that’s true, most of this is really being hyped by consultants and academics who don’t understand we don’t elect Presidents through the national vote but through an electoral college. The Latino vote is still largely concentrated in states that are decided – California, Texas, New York Illinois. Having said that great importance will be placed on states like Florida, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada. But even then we’re talking about marginal increases that could have a significant impact on moving those key states. The Latino vote is likely to have much greater impact in picking up or retaining congressional and legislative seats.”
Use digital advertising optimized for mobile technology. Latinos are far more likely to get information this way than whites.
Portada: What candidates, PACS, are you now representing and helping them in their “marketing” efforts?
M.M: “Our firm is actually preparing to announce a new consortium with some of the country’s top Democrat, Republican and Independent Latino political consultants in the country. Formal launch will be January and we’ll focus on the turnout problem our community faces. While our voter models are currently projecting very high Latino turnout in both the primary and general kept in 2016, the worst kept Latino secret is our community has a very big turnout problem – very big – and we intend on having interests from the right and the left working to understand and solve the problem. It’s an exciting and important undertaking that needs to be addressed.”
The worst kept Latino secret is our community has a very big turnout problem – very big – and we intend on having interests from the right and the left working to understand and solve the problem.
Portada: What are “make or break” issues for political candidates when it comes to win the Hispanic vote?
M.M: “Well, immigration reform is clearly a key issue. It is however dwarfed by education and jobs issues. Unfortunately there’s a huge over reliance on the immigration issue by the media, candidates and consultants. It’s not only not the main issue on the mind of Latino voters but it prevents a discussion on the issues that Latinos overwhelmingly care about. This is one of the problems driving low voter turnout – the overemphasis on immigration has left Latino voters with little motivation to compel them to vote. As a result, we don’t vote and we can see that in high Hispanic precincts having very low turnout rates.”
The huge over reliance on the immigration issue by the media, candidates and consultants is one of the problems driving low voter turnout
Portada: How are these “make or break” issues different between Hispanic Baby Boomers and Hispanic Millennials?M.M: “Great question. Generational differences are undeniably the driving force in how Latino voters develop their political positions. Our immigrant community has a set of priority issues that are distinct from their sons and daughters – and those are completely different from their grandsons and granddaughters. While there is no question immigration is an issue that transcends these generational differences – we also know without question – that this is not the top issue for each of these groups. In fact immigration reform is almost never the top issue for any generation of Latino voters. More specifically, education and economic issues are top priority for all generations of Latinos but they play out very differently for each group. For example, student testing tends to be important for Latino immigrant parents, access and curriculum tends to be key for second generation Latinos. By the third generation teacher accountability, reform and interest in charter schools starts to drive voter behavior.”
Portada: What are the three “dos” and the three “don’ts” when it comes to successful Political Marketing towards the Hispanic populations in 2016?
- Use digital advertising optimized for mobile technology. Latinos are far more likely to get information this way than whites.
- Use third party testimonials as a strategy. Endorsements from Latino politicians are particularly impactful.
- Focus on women. Latinos with a female in the home have higher participation rates for voting and civic engagement.
- Don’t think immigration is all Latinos think about – it’s not. Focusing only on immigration reform is the best way to guarantee low voter turnout.
- Focusing exclusively on Spanish mediums is a common mistake. Second and third generation Latino voters are English dominant. Use Spanish but not exclusively.
- Bicultural messaging is far more important than bilingual messaging.
For over fifteen years, Mike Madrid has been changing the outcomes of political campaigns throughout the country. His active involvement in local, state, and federal races has helped him to develop a keen insight into the successful characteristics of winning campaigns. Madrid is a nationally recognized expert on Latino voting trends. He graduated from the Edmund G. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in 1997. He has served as the press secretary for the California Assembly Republican leader and as the political director for the California Republican Party. In these roles, Madrid played a key role in pioneering Latino outreach and communications strategies. In 2001 he was named as one of America’s “Most Influential Hispanics” by Hispanic Business Magazine. He is a regular commentator on Latino political issues in statewide and national media publications. Since 2000, Madrid has also developed an expertise in local governments in California. He served as the public affairs director to the League of California Cities. In 2011, Madrid helped develop the Leadership California Institute, an organization dedicated to educating and training future legislators before they get in office. Madrid is the editor and publisher of California City News, a news site dedicated to “the best politics, policy and practices of local government in California.”