On March 3, 2020, “Super Tuesday,” 14 states voted in the Democratic primary elections. Though former Vice President Joe Biden won 10 states to Senator Bernie Sanders’ four states, Sanders won the Latina/o vote in 13 out of 14 states. According to National Public Radio, in California, which went to Sanders by nearly 9 points, Sanders won 49% of the Latina/o vote compared to Biden’s 19%, while in Texas, which went to Biden by a slim margin of 4.5 points, Sanders won 45% of the Latina/o vote compared to Biden’s 24%. Sanders was particularly popular among Latina/os between ages 18 and 44 in California and Texas, receiving 71% of the vote in California from Latina/os between ages 18 and 29 and 61% of Latina/os 30 to 44, and in Texas 66% of the vote from Latina/os between 18 and 29 and 55% of Latina/os ages 30 to 44. In California, Biden only won the Latina/o vote in the 65+ age bracket, and in Texas he won the Latina/o vote in the 65+ bracket as well as the 45-64 bracket.
Results in California and Texas, two of five states that, according to the Pew Research Center, account for two-thirds of all Latina/os living in the United States, demonstrate the growing importance of the Latina/o vote. In both states, Latina/os account for around 30% of eligible voters, suggesting that Biden’s lack of appeal among Latina/o voters was a factor in his loss in California and narrow win in Texas. These results further suggest that Latina/os in these states, especially young Latina/os, favor the more progressive agenda offered by Sanders to Biden’s centrist views. However, whichever candidate ultimately wins the Democratic nomination, they must not take the Latina/o vote for granted. While the Pew Research Center notes that 62% of Latina/o voters lean Democratic, compared to 34% Republican, Geraldo Cadava argues in his forthcoming book, The Hispanic Republican, that beginning in the 1960s, Republicans actively courted and have historically had a stronger bond with Latina/o voters. Though the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric will undoubtedly alienate many Latina/o voters, the diversity of the Latina/o population complicates assumptions about if and for whom Latina/o voters will turnout to vote in the 2020 election.