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Biden targets wavering Latinos in 'Sun Belt' battlegrounds

By AFP

March 19, 2024 08:19 PM


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US President Joe Biden headed to the battleground states of Nevada and Arizona on Tuesday to shore up flagging support among Latino voters as his election battle with Donald Trump heats up.

The historically Democratic Latino community is increasingly leaning towards Republican Trump, spelling trouble for Biden in two states that he narrowly won in 2020 and must win again in November.

Biden, 81, will be selling his economic record and highlighting issues such as abortion and immigration on the three-day trip, the latest in a series of visits to swing states as he takes an aggressive approach against Trump.

"The Latino vote was critical to the president's victory in 2020, and 2024 will be no different," Biden's campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said in a statement.

"Our community has deep roots in organizing, and we are excited to harness that skillset to fight for our families, our communities, and against Donald Trump's anti-Latino agenda."

Biden is first traveling to Reno, Nevada, for a campaign event expected to bash Trump, before flying to Las Vegas to speak about housing costs, a key election issue as US voters struggling with the cost of living.

He will then fly to Phoenix, Arizona to launch a special campaign seeking to mobilize Latino voters on Tuesday night, and will make a manufacturing announcement in Phoenix on Wednesday.

Arizona promises to be the battleground of battlegrounds in 2024 -- it was the closest race in their first battle four years ago, with Biden beating Trump by just 10,457 votes.

Chavez Rodriguez said the "Sun Belt states of Nevada and Arizona" were "diverse, pro-choice states that are gaining hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs thanks to the president's policies."

Biden finally travels to Dallas and Houston, Texas for fundraising events on Wednesday and Thursday.

  Trump problems 

Despite Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric, which includes saying "rapists" and drug dealers were crossing the border from Mexico, the complex Latino electorate is leaning more Republican.

Biden won Hispanic voters two to one over Trump when he beat the Republican in 2020, but a series of recent polls show this allegiance is starting to soften.

With the fast-growing Latino community making up 19 percent of the US population, that represents a problem for Biden -- in states like Arizona and Nevada in particular.

Trump hopes frustrations over Biden's immigration policy will swing Arizona, which shares a border with Mexico, back in his favor.

Republicans are also hoping to win back Nevada for the first time since 2004 for similar reasons.

Biden's focus on six or seven pivotal swing states, meanwhile, reflects how November's race is expected to come down to a few hundred thousand votes across a country of 331 million people.

In fact, Biden's focus will be even more narrow -- his campaign said he would "spend time in perennial swing counties" such as Washoe, Nevada and Maricopa, Arizona, where voting was particularly tight in 2020.

Biden has dramatically stepped up attacks on rival Trump since they were both confirmed as their parties' nominees this month, with a series of recent polls showing him trailing the Republican in six swing states.

Trump's campaign however has his own problems -- with the Republican facing having his assets seized after his lawyers admitted he doesn't have the cash to appeal a $464 million fine for fraudulently inflating his wealth.


AFP


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