Univision CEO Randy Falco has written an open letter to the head of the Commission on Presidential Debates calling for the addition of a Hispanic moderator to the scheduled face-offs between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
On Friday, the commission announced that NBC’s Lester Holt would moderate the first debate, scheduled for Sept. 26, followed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC’s Martha Raddatz moderating the second debate Oct. 9 and Fox News’ Chris Wallace moderating the third Oct. 19. CBS’ Elaine Quijano is slated to moderate the Vice Presidential debate between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence Oct. 4.
“I am writing to express disappointment, and frankly disbelief, that the Commission on Presidential Debates has not chosen a Hispanic journalist to moderate the presidential debates,” Falco wrote Friday in a letter to commission executive director Janet H. Brown. He added, “Simply put: it’s an abdication of your responsibility to represent and reflect one of the largest and most influential communities in the U.S.”
Read Falco’s full letter below:
Dear Ms. Brown,
I am writing to express disappointment, and frankly disbelief, that the Commission on Presidential Debates has not chosen a Hispanic journalist to moderate the presidential debates. The inclusion of CBS’ Elaine Quijano as a moderator for the Vice Presidential debate is certainly a welcome addition but seems insufficient when taking into account past presidential cycles, future demographic trends and the important role Latinos play in the economic and social fabric of this great nation. Simply put: it’s an abdication of your responsibility to represent and reflect one of the largest and most influential communities in the U.S.
Since 1980, no candidate for President of the United States has won without at least 30% of the Latino vote – Reagan won with 37%, Bush Sr. with 30%, Bush Jr. with 40%, Clinton with 72% and Obama with 71%. And we are seeing the number of registered Hispanic voters in key battleground states like Colorado, Nevada and Florida is trending upward. In fact, since the 2012 Presidential Elections, the percentage of Hispanic registered voters has increased to 16% in Nevada and 19% in Florida. Sum these data points with the fact that, once registered, Latinos turnout at equal to or higher rates than other voter groups, and the conclusion is obvious: candidates must engage and speak directly to these voters.
We understand the critical role the debate process plays in informing voters about each candidate’s position on the issues that impact them directly, such as jobs and the economy and health, among others. So it is essential that the community hears firsthand where the candidates stand, what their policy solutions are and how they plan to implement their vision through the prism of a trusted journalist who represents Hispanic America and appreciates the nuances of this diverse demographic.
We ask again for you to reconsider leaving a Spanish-language moderator out of the presidential debate panels. As always, we stand ready to create additional venues where the Committee and the candidates can focus on Latinos. The Hispanic community will play a pivotal role in electing the next President and in all federal elections for the foreseeable future. We look forward to working with the Commission to address what we believe to be a troubling trend – the lack of the Hispanic perspective – and hope we can forge a new path forward.