In Biden campaign ad, Julián Castro plays 'Lotería' to promote candidate's jobs plan

The ad narrated by Castro shows an image of a torn Mexican lotería card with the words "La America" and "Unemployment" written on it.
Image: Julian Castro speaks in Des Moines, Iowa, on Nov. 1, 2019.
Julian Castro speaks in Des Moines, Iowa, on Nov. 1, 2019.Joshua Lott / Getty Images file

The Biden campaign is trying to up the ante in the battle for Latino voters by playing its Lotería card — several in fact.

The campaign’s latest social media ad, produced in-house, uses altered playing cards of a Mexican game that is played like bingo. In it, Julián Castro, former Housing and Urban Development secretary under President Barack Obama, explains Joe Biden's jobs and economy plan. President Donald Trump has been building his Latino support in part by emphasizing his economic message.

The commercial opens with a card featuring a caricature of Castro, or as the card says, "El Julián Castro," who used a Lotería card with his likeness in his 2020 presidential primary campaign. That card said "El Presidente" under his image.

Castro, the only major Latino presidential candidate in 2020, narrates the commercial, titled “Restoring American Workers.”

Castro’s card is followed by a torn card with the image of a map of the United States and labeled La America. The torn card is separated and a placard with the word “Unemployment” is placed between the torn halves, along with more cards, each with a person's occupation, including “La Baker, El Plumber and La Teacher.”

“Joe Biden has a plan. It all comes down to one word: jobs,” Castro says in the commercial, which ends with two cards, “El Joe Biden” and “La Kamala Harris.”

The cards were created by Mike Alfaro, who created Millenial Lotería, his update on the game, which has some sexist, racist and outdated images. Like the millennial cards, the text on the cards in the Biden commercial are Spanglicized with the Spanish pronouns, El or La preceding the subject.

In North Carolina, progressive groups built a voter mobilization campaign around Lotería, starting with a card with the image of the astrologist Walter Mercado, who died last year, and adding cards with Democratic candidates. The cards have become coveted collectors' items.

Castro said that the pandemic has left "a hole in our economy."

"We need a leader who has a plan to put Americans back to work and ensure our economy works for everyone, not just the wealthy few," he told NBC News in a statement. "Joe Biden will help us build back better."

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