Mar 15, 2022 - Politics & Policy

GOP and Dem Latino political consultants launch podcast — together

Sandra Amado Gomez registers a soccer player to vote during halftime at the championship game of soccer in Raleigh, North Carolina .
Sandra Amado Gomez registers a soccer player to vote during halftime at a soccer game in Raleigh, North Carolina. Photo: Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images.

Two well-known Latino political consultants from dueling political parties are launching a new podcast that will examine Latino voters ahead of the 2022 midterms.

The big picture: Data, surveys and recent primary elections show that Republicans are making inroads with Latinos. At the same time, advocates say Democrats neglect Latinos.

Driving the news: Top Democratic operatives tell Axios they see expanding defections by Hispanic voters to the GOP, worsening Democrats' outlook for November's midterms.

  • A Wall Street Journal poll last week found that by 9 points, Hispanic voters said they'd back a Republican candidate for Congress over a Democrat.

Details: GOP consultant Mike Madrid and Democratic strategist Chuck Rocha announced their new podcast, "The Latino Vote," this month.

  • Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation CEO and former Republican Texas state Rep. Jason Villalba will be the host.

What they're saying: "It's just going to be like, open up the hood, get a beer, and sit back. We're going to get down and dirty with some politics and tell you how this engine works," Rocha, a former Bernie Sanders advisor, told Axios.

  • Rocha and Madrid say they strongly disagree on policy, but both respect each other and want Latinos to succeed in the U.S. The two men are Mexican American.
  • "Both parties have been doing it wrong for so long because of these white power structures. It's time for something different," Madrid, a founder of the Lincoln Project, told Axios.

Yes, but: Both consultants promise the podcast won't be without its fireworks.

  • "He is going to lean into his data. And I'm going to lean into stories," Rocha said.

The intrigue: An Axios-Ipsos Latino Poll in partnership with Noticias Telemundo in December found that crime and gun violence were the number two concerns for Latinos, behind COVID-19 and immigration, social justice and voting rights.

  • Madrid said Democrats are losing Latino voters by primarily focusing on immigration reform instead of the economy, even though immigration consistently ranks 5th or 6th among Latino concerns.
  • Rocha, meanwhile, said Republicans alienate Latino voters with offensive messages, but Democrats fail to engage with Hispanic voters and reach out to them late in election cycles.

Between the lines: In New Mexico, the state with the highest percentage of Latino residents, Republicans are investing in targeted outreach to Latino entrepreneurs, and small business owners, Democratic consultant Sisto Abeyta told Axios.

  • Meanwhile, anger is building among Democrats in the traditionally blue state. Some Hispanic Democrats expressed outrage last year after white Democratic insiders chose a white woman to replace outgoing Native American Rep. Deb Haaland as the Democratic nominee.

Subscribe to Axios Latino and get more news that matters about Latinos and Latin America, delivered right to your inbox on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Go deeper