U.S. President Joe Biden Dwinslow3/Pixabay.

As the 2024 electoral process continues moving to what it inevitably seems as a new run between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, there is one key aspect of the campaign that might not happen this time: debates.

Trump, the likely Republican candidate, has refused to engage during the party's primaries, holding solo interviews of his own or directly avoiding the airwaves as his opponents took on each other. He has not changed his view as the field narrowed to only him and his former ambassador to the U.N., Nikky Haley, who on her end said she won't take part in such events unless Trump does so.

It is not clear whether Trump will change his mind if (and when) he officially becomes the Republican nominee, and many outlets are already speculating that they won't happen at all.

Debates are among the rare occasions where candidates can face uncomfortable questions, as they tend to engage with friendlier media when giving interviews. In that context, The Latin Times asked two Latino organizations, UnidosUS and Latino Victory Fund, what they would ask Biden and Trump in an eventual debate.

Regarding Trump, UnidosUS' Rafael Collazo answered: "In an interview on Univision this past November, you said "The Latino vote is so incredible because they're unbelievable people. They have incredible skills, incredible energy, and they're very entrepreneurial," Yet, you have said that immigrants were 'poisoning the blood of our country.' In a country where more than half of the immigrants are Latino, how do you reconcile these two statements?"

Donald Trump
Donald Trump AP Photo/Alex Brandon

The question could likely be asked throughout the entire campaign, as border security and immigration enforcement is set to be a dominant topic in this election cycle. Dominating the conversation at the moment are negotiations in the Senate to come up with a bill aimed at strengthening immigration and asylum laws, which has the backing of Republican negotiators but is opposed by Trump and other high ranking members of the party.

According to Senator Mitt Romney, one of the high-profile Republican officials who is at odds with Trump, the former president doesn't want the deal to go forward to continue using it as a talking point during the campaign trail.

Latino Victory Fund's Katharine Pichardo-Erskine, on her end, asked: "hen you were President, you failed to protect our communities from COVID – you called it a hoax. You said it would magically disappear. We know COVID didn't disappear. We saw our families, friends, and neighbors die. Latino communities were devastated on a disproportionate level. Will you apologize to everyone whose lives were torn apart when a loved one died from COVID?"

As for Biden, Latino Victory Fund said that "as the 2024 presidential campaign intensifies, Latino voters are a crucial demographic, and the Latino Victory Fund emphasizes the importance of your administration's actions in contrast to the empty rhetoric and dangerous policies pushed by Donald Trump." "How do you plan to continue addressing the concerns of Latino communities, particularly in terms of healthcare, economic opportunities, climate justice and immigration, to secure their support in the upcoming election?," asked the organization.

The importance of communication was shared by UnidosUS's Collazo, who said the organization would ask: "Given the data on the impact of the Latino vote on the outcome of the election, why isn't your campaign more actively engaging and mobilizing the community, particularly Latino youth who make up the fastest growing population and voting bloc in the United States?"

Numerous recent polls and surveys have shown that Biden's support among Latinos is dwindling. Collazo attributed some of this to communication, saying "we believe Democrats are failing to effectively communicate why Latinos SHOULD vote for Biden in for
another term."

"By not consistently communicating the wins the Biden administration has had in the past four years, which have largely benefitted the Latino community, they are not giving our community a reason to go out and vote for him," he added.

Data supports this latest statement: a December poll by Harvard Kennedy School's Institute of Politics showed that young Latino voters showed the steepest decline among those who said they would "definitely" vote next year.

Concretely, the figure dropped 16 percentage points, from 56 to 40 percent, compared to the poll conducted in the fall of 2019. That is almost 30 percent less than four years ago, making Latino voters the second group with the least amount of respondents behind Black voters.

Another poll, from the Florida International University, showed that "while most Hispanics remain registered Democrats, support for the party is eroding." Its Annual Hispanic Public Opinion Survey, released in December, showed that, however, Biden's lower support doesn't mean voters are leaving him for Trump. Many are actually opting out of party affiliation altogether, the study says, as neither of the candidates elicits strong enthusiasm.

According to the Pew Research Center, which has tracking the impact of presidential debates on voters' decisions for over 30 years, the events aid many voters in choosing their preferred candidate.

Even though most make their decisions before, the debates increase the knowledge voters have on certain issues and the candidates' personalities. It looks like that chance won't exist this cycle.

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