Latino Vote: Dispatches from the Battleground

In 2020, Latinos are poised to be the largest ethnicity of voters in the electorate, but wooing constituents based on ethnicity alone may be a losing game plan.

NPS Standalone
Premiere Date
October 6, 2020
60 minutes
Funding Initiative
Series and Special Projects

Bernardo Ruiz

Bernardo Ruiz is a two-time Emmy® nominated documentary filmmaker based in New York. He was born in Guanajuato, Mexico and grew up in Brooklyn. His directorial feature debut, Reportero, (POV, 2013) about a group of dogged reporters at a Tijuana weekly, premiered at Full Frame (U.S.), IDFA (Europe) and Ambulante (Mexico). New York Magazine called it “a Show more powerful reminder of how journalism often requires immense amounts of physical and psychological bravery.”  His second feature documentary, Kingdom of Shadows, financed by Participant Media, (POV, 2016) premiered at SXSW in the U.S. and IDFA in Europe. “Many documentaries have chronicled the drug war in the U.S. and Mexico,” writes Slackerwood of the film, “but few have humanized it as poignantly as Kingdom of Shadows. [It] is more observant than crusading...rooted in first-rate journalism.” The New York Times called it “unforgettable.”  His latest, Harvest Season, about the behind-the-scenes players in the premium California wine industry, premiered on Independent Lens in May 2019. “Told expertly and with some startlingly gorgeous photography,” Criterion Cast writes of the film, “director Bernardo Ruiz gives a first hand account of small wine producers and the struggles they face both economically and politically in 2018 America...a film that’s as beautiful as it is intimate and emotionally moving.”  Ruiz is a recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) fellowship in film and was awarded the Rockefeller Bellagio residency. His work has been funded by the Ford Foundation, the MacArthur foundation Sundance, ITVS, Cinereach and the Fledgling Fund, among others. In the fall of 2015, Ruiz was a filmmaker in residence at the Investigative Reporting Program (IRP) at the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He currently serves on the advisory board of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and recently joined the documentary branch of The Academy. Show less


Andrea Cordoba

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The Film

Voters in Nevada, Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania could very well determine the next American president. Inevitably, organizers in both parties are strategizing, mobilizing, and prioritizing; one of the top priorities on both sides of the political divide is to engage Latino voters. Projected to be the largest voting-eligible ethnicity in the country, Latino voters are often sought after by both Republicans and Democrats as if they are a monolith. The reality falls outside of reductive red-blue confines, as illustrated by the Reverend Dr. Gabriel Salguero, who says of Latino Evangelical voters like himself, “We’re politically homeless.”

With both younger Latinos and new citizens joining the ranks of registered voters across the country, the growing magnitude of this cross-section of the electorate has clear political implications for the 2020 presidential election. But trying to woo voters based on their cultural similarities without factoring in their complex and varying individual interests could prove to be a losing game plan. Following activists, organizers, and others who are working to maximize Latino turnout in their local communities while simultaneously devoting their efforts to COVID-19 relief as the pandemic surges, Latino Vote: Dispatches from the Battleground delves into the high-stakes fight to activate Latino votes in these battleground states – and gives voice to newly registered Latino voters themselves about what the galvanizing issues are for them.