Now that Republicans have established a growing foothold among Latino voters, a relatively new conservative media start-up — Americano Media — is looking to expand upon that reach before the next presidential election. Here's everything you need to know:
What is Americano Media?
Launched out of Miami, Florida, in March 2022, Americano Media is the nation's first Spanish-language conservative multimedia network. Though it initially offered a slate of news and commentary-focused radio shows hosted first on SiriusXM and later by terrestrial broadcast, the company is now moving aggressively to expand into television in the coming year.
"Democrats took Hispanics for granted for too long, and no one thought to create a home for us in conservative media," network founder and CEO Ivan Garcia-Hidalgo told NBC News in 2022. "There is an appetite for this. You see it on social media. You see it in elections." Eventually, Garcia-Hidalgo recently told Politico, Americano hopes to become "a Fox News in Spanish."
How is the network planning to grow ahead of the next election?
As part of its "aggressive expansion plan," Americano has hired more than 80 Latino journalists and producers, created a digital news website and app, and spent millions to build new studios for its television arm, which plans to service "every major battleground state" and Puerto Rico ahead of the next presidential election, Politico writes, per Garcia-Hidalgo. To further its name recognition, the network is also making appearances at popular GOP events, such as those hosted by CPAC and Turning Point USA, and plans to soon launch a $20 million marketing campaign.
How do Democrats feel about this?
It depends on who you ask. For some Democrats, the network's very existence presents a huge messaging problem for the party. "For those concerned about the disinformation problem harming Democrats' chances with Hispanics, this is a Defcon 1 moment. We should worry," pollster Fernand Amandi, who previously worked with former President Barack Obama, told NBC News back in 2022. Indeed, added Courier Newsroom network's Tara McGowan, "[i]ts a very smart and very alarming move by conservatives to double down on their investment in Americano Media," especially considering the "information war in Latino and bilingual communities in this country," she recently told Politico.
But others, like former Obama administration official Jose Artistimuño — one of Americano's Democratic commentators, who debates Republican Jimmy Nievez on a nightly show — believe the network's programming satisfies "a space that needed to be filled," he said, speaking with Politico. "I may not agree with all the policies that Americano supports, but that's OK. In order for democracy to work, both sides need to talk to each other and debate."
Tell me more about Republican gains with Hispanic voters.
Though Democrats still have a hold on the Latino community in the U.S., their advantage has noticeably shrunk in recent years. For example, while Latino voters remained "solidly Democratic" in the 2022 midterms, their support for liberal House candidates decreased by 5 percent from 2020, per The Brookings Institution, a public policy organization. (Still, it's worth noting how Republicans weren't as successful at wooing Hispanic as they had hoped.)
More broadly, an NBC News/Telemundo poll from October 2022 found that Democrats' lead amongst Latino voters had been cut in half over the last decade, from 42 points to just 21.