Bernie Sanders' Univision Commercial Is A Documentary-Style Story Of Struggle & Strength
Approximately 24 hours after appearing in the Democratic debate on Spanish-language network Univision, Sen. Bernie Sanders will again attempt to gain support from Hispanic voters. On Thursday night at 8:48 p.m., Sanders' campaign will air an advertisement on Univision. The commercial will be unlike most political advertisements in both form and content, and in running the advertisement, Sanders proves he will not cede the nomination to his opponent, Hillary Clinton, anytime soon.
The majority of this documentary-style commercial titled, "Tenemos Familias" ("We Have Families"), is in Spanish with English subtitles, and the film does not star Sanders, but rather Udelia Chautla, a Mexican-born farm worker living in Immokalee, Florida. The advertisement will air during prime time and last five whole minutes. But if you don't want to wait to watch it on March 5, the Sanders campaign posted a slightly longer version of "Tenemos Familias."
The video begins with images of farmland before cutting to Chautla caring for her young children — she helps her youngest daughter brush her teeth and walks her son and daughters to school. Chautla narrates the commercial and shares the hardships she faces as a farm worker and a mother. She remembers a time when she did not have enough money to buy food for her children as she says, "My children are the motor that drives my life." Chautla also speaks of the abuse farm workers often face, including not having access to water or bathrooms during work.
Two minutes into the film, Chautla tears up before sharing that she participated in the Campaign for Fair Food, an initiative that asks large corporations, such as Burger King and McDonalds, to pay one penny more per pound of tomatoes so that farm workers are paid a (slightly more) livable wage. Finally, over three minutes in, the advertisement cuts to Sanders speaking of the "human tragedy" he witnessed during a 2008 visit to Immokalee.
Chautla states that before Sanders, "Politicians never came to Immokalee," and recalls that after his visit, Sanders advocated for farm workers' rights in Washington. Thanks to Sanders' advocacy, Chautla claims her wage has increased, according to CBS, and now she has enough money to buy "small things" for her children which she says "changes a person."
"Tenemos Familias" is a strategic advertisement in more ways than one. Instead of featuring Sanders, it focuses on, and gives a voice to, a woman who is both an immigrant and a farm worker. Furthermore, the advertisement will run just days before the oh-so-crucial Florida primary on March 15. Nearly a quarter of Democrats in Florida are Hispanic, which explains why Sanders would spend what The New York Times reports to be "several hundred thousand dollars" on Univision airtime — The Times estimates that the commercial will reach millions of Spanish-speaking voters.
A recent Quinnipiac University study projects that Clinton will win Florida by a landslide — the polls show her with a 26 point-lead overall, and expect that 69 percent of Democratic women voters in Florida will vote for Clinton — so Sanders is doing everything he can to try and gain at least some support in Florida. What Sanders is doing on Univision is certainly unusual; the Sanders campaign recently stated that "it is unprecedented for the Spanish-language network to run an ad this long, and it will alter its prime-time schedule to accommodate the spot."
In a recent article, Salon reported that four out of five Hispanic voters will see "Tenemos Familias" when it airs on Univision. However, many voters have already watched and shared the longer version of the documentary.
After the commercial's TV premiere Thursday night, CNN reported "Tenemos Familias" will air again in Chicago and Tucson before the upcoming Illinois and Arizona primaries. Viewers will undoubtedly be impressed by the documentary, and touched by the Chautla's story, but we'll have to wait and see if it helps endear Sanders to Hispanic voters.
Image: Bernie Sanders