The Power of Latino Voters

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Good morning.

If there’s one thing California’s electorate can teach us, it’s that — even in a deep blue state like ours — it’s unwise to make generalizations about voters from any community. Exhibit A: Latinos.

My colleague Jennifer Medina has spent much of the past year talking to and writing about many of the 32 million eligible Latino voters across the country.

Most recently, she explored why Hispanic evangelical voters have found themselves politically homeless and how, for some Latino men, the president has a macho appeal. (She also hosted this episode of The Daily about Arizona’s divided Latino vote.)

I asked Jenny more about what she’s learned:

What do you see as the most persistent misconceptions about Latino voters?

First, and this can’t be overstated: Let’s get rid of the notion of the sleeping giant. What this cycle has made clear is that Latinos are very eager to engage with campaigns that are ready to engage with them.

[Read more about health equity in the pandemic.]

While Mr. Newsom acknowledged that the vaccine-approval process had been politicized, he said, “It doesn’t matter who the next president is, we’re going to maintain our vigilance.”

The announcement came after Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said the state would also review vaccines approved by the federal government — although Mr. Cuomo directly tied the move to doubts raised when President Trump suggested that he would reject tougher F.D.A. guidelines.

“Frankly, I’m not going to trust the federal government’s opinion,” Mr. Cuomo said in late September.

This week, Mr. Cuomo, as head of the bipartisan National Governors Association, posed additional questions about how the Trump administration will ensure that states are able to get and distribute vaccines.

[Track the progress of vaccine trials.]

Mr. Newsom said that California was working with the federal government on its vaccination plans, but that experts were helping to figure out expected logistical challenges.

They include where to store vaccines that must be kept cold, how to notify people about when to get their second shots and how to guarantee that rural communities have proper access to vaccines.

[See coronavirus case numbers by California county.]

Mr. Newsom cautioned against being “overly exuberant” about the prospect of widespread vaccination; he said that won’t happen until next year. “This vaccine will move at the speed of trust,” he said.

California’s new case rates have stayed relatively low, even as the state has expanded testing and gradually lifted restrictions on businesses. Still, he implored residents not to let their guard down as the holidays approach.

(This article is part of the California Today newsletter. Sign up to get it by email.)


  • “Exide is just the point of the arrow.” A bankruptcy court ruled that Exide Technologies can abandon its toxic, shuttered battery recycling facility in southeast Los Angeles County — saddling taxpayers with the bill for the cleanup. [The Los Angeles Times]

  • If you missed it, California officials allowed Republicans to continue placing unofficial ballot drop boxes, saying the party had said it would make enough changes to satisfy concerns. [Politico]

Here’s how to find official ballot boxes. [The New York Times]

  • A fire that damaged a ballot drop box outside the Baldwin Park Library in Los Angeles County is being investigated as arson. [LAist]

  • San Francisco might rename 44 schools. The mayor said the exercise was a distraction. [The San Francisco Chronicle]

  • “This year there were just more sharks around,” a researcher said. “And the question is why.” [The Associated Press]


California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com. Were you forwarded this email? Sign up for California Today here and read every edition online here.

Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from U.C. Berkeley and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles — but she always wants to see more. Follow along here or on Twitter.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.

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