© 2024 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Democrats’ ‘Ridin’ With Biden’ Car Caravan Rolls Through Laredo

Democrats rallied support for presidential candidate Joe Biden with a car caravan in Laredo late Saturday morning. The border city has long been a Democratic stronghold, but the local party is trying to increase voter turnout.

The ‘Ridin’ with Biden’ event assembled in a parking lot near a Laredo outlet mall. It was the same place where several thousand Trump supporters met four weeks ago for their own car caravan, or Trump Train.

Mayela Villareal used a black marker to write “puro Biden” on her white car as Democrats gathered.

Villareal, a first time voter, supported Bernie Sanders in the primary, but Biden’s recent performance in the presidential debate impressed her.

“He makes us feel safe," she said. "He makes me feel like, as a woman, I can accomplish more things here, as of 2020 to 2024.”

Patricia Almeida said she was there because “we need change. President Donald Trump isn’t doing anything for us,” she said. “Our families are dying,” she added, referring to how she felt he's handled the coronavirus pandemic.

Raquel Ibarra came from Corpus Christi. “We made the long drive," she said. "But we’re excited to vote for Biden. We’re voting for experience.”

Among the Biden-Harris flags, many cars also had messages condemning Trump’s proposed border wall.

Carmen Garcia’s truck had a “No Border Wall” sign. "Our environment is being impacted," she explained. "The wildlife is being impacted. People are going to get impacted. These are their homes."

Sylvia Bruni, chair of the Webb County Democratic Party, was pleased with the turnout. She estimated more than 500 cars participated in the caravan.

She added that this was their second car caravan. There was a smaller caravan event this summer.

She said they chose to organize the event for this weekend to try to register people to vote ahead of Texas’ Oct. 5 voter registration deadline.

“Our whole goal is that we see at least 60% of the Laredo voter base come out and vote,” she said. “And of course, we'd hope that the majority of them would vote Democratic.”

Webb County has historically voted Democrat, but it also has struggled with “pathetically” low turnout, Bruni said. The county’s turnout dipped as low as roughly 18% in 2006 and reached a little over 46% during the 2016 presidential election.

And this election cycle, Republican and Trump supporters have become more visible in the area.

“We've been able to get away with it because I didn't think we've ever really been in danger, but I really think our country is in danger right now,” Bruni said, pointing to President Donald Trump.

As for Laredo, the November election could decide whether the border city gets a border wall.

The No Border Wall Coalition of Laredo residents and landowners joined the caravan event to show their support for Biden, who has said he will not build any miles of new border wall.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration awarded two more contracts for border wall construction last week.

María Méndez can be reached at maría@tpr.org or on Twitter at @anxious_maria