Culture

Politicians Need To Stop Assuming That The Latino Vote Is A Monolith Because It Is Not The Truth

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In the days after the image of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, 25, and his 23-month-old daughter, Angie Valeria, facedown in the Rio Grande made its way around the internet, a friend posted the photo to her story on Instagram. Her caption was of horror and sadness towards the situation. She texted me a screenshot of one of the direct messages she received in response to her post. It read “bad parenting.”

What image did your mind conjure up of what the messenger looks like? 

If you thought it was someone who looks like Trump, or any of his family members, you would be wrong.

The person who sent her this message is an immigrant to the U.S. He was born in a Latin American country to Spanish speaking parents and falls into a group many presidential candidates, especially Democrats, as they build their coalition of voters. He is millennial and Latino. He also illustrates the danger of lumping Latinos into one monolithic category—Latinos do not think the same, nor do they want the same things. 

Let’s get one thing out of the way: defining the difference between Latino and Hispanic. Someone identifying as Latino is of Latin American origin or descent. If they’re Hispanic, it means their roots are in Spain or a Spanish-speaking country. In simplified terms someone from Spain is Hispanic, they are not Latino, and a person from Brazil is Latino but not Hispanic. The two terms are often used interchangeably when talking about people south of the American border, or who speak Spanish but that is incorrect.

We’re a large and diverse group. The majority of Hispanic and Latino Americans prefer to identify with their families’ country of origin, only 24 percent prefer to self-identify as Hispanic or Latino. Which means most people are likely to answer “Mexican, Colombia, Cuban, Ecuadorian or Puerto Rican,” when asked what they are because it’s a better representation of their culture and heritage. According to a Pew Study, Hispanics in the U.S. are comprised mostly of Mexicans (35.3 million) but also includes 5.3 million Puerto Ricans and five other Hispanic origin groups with more than 1 million people each: Salvadorans, Cubans, Dominicans, Guatemalans, and Colombians.

Within the group, there are regional, cultural and ethnic differences. Using the term is the same as labeling someone as American, then realizing the moniker means different things when it’s applied to a Chinese-American from the Bay area in San Francisco, versus an Irish-American on Chicago’s South Side. It reduces the complexity of people to nothing.

projected 32 million Hispanics will be eligible to vote in 2020. This important voting bloc has a lot of potential to sway the political stage. However, to assume this group is a shoo-in for Democratic support is a mistake. Foreign-born, Hispanics are typically conservative. Those born in the U.S. describe themselves as liberalLatinos have a misogyny problem. Generally speaking, older Latinos most align with the Republican party. And naturalized citizens, turn out to vote at a higher rate

Even though Ted Cruz and his Republican party are against protection for Dreamers, support a border wall and want to do away with the Affordable Care Act—which would largely impact Latinos—35 percent of Latino voters still backed Cuban-American Cruz instead of progressive Beto O’Rourke in the 2018 Texas Senate race.

If every Latino believed these policies were bad, it would be reflected in their vote. However, it’s important to remember people make decisions for a number of reasons that do not include factors based on identity. Half of border patrol agents are Latino, and a recent report finds they are motivated by money.

Politicians’ favorite way of reaching this target demo is by attempting to speak in Spanish without being prompted. This became one of the most talked about topics after the first night of the Democratic debates last week. O’Rourke was the first to use the language with a tailored pitch that avoided answering the question on his stance towards a billionaire tax—never mind that the debate was being streamed and translated on NBC’s Spanish-sister channel Telemundo. Cory Booker followed his lead speaking in a nearly indecipherable language. Former San Antonio mayor and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro was the only Latino on stage. The only Spanish he spoke was to introduce himself and promise to “say adios to Donald Trump.”

In the days after the debate, Castro addressed critiques about his inability to speak Spanish fluently.

“Spanish was looked down upon,” he said in an interview with MSNBC. “You were punished in school if you spoke Spanish. You were not allowed to speak it. People, I think, internalized this oppression about it, and basically wanted their kids to first be able to speak English. And I think that in my family, like a lot of other families, that the residue of that, the impact of that is that there are many folks whose Spanish is not that great.”

Not every person of Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Ecuadorian or Colombian descent is fluent in the language. There is a steady decline in Spanish spoken among Latinos in the U.S. There is no blanket approach to the language. Some people speak it, others don’t and another population uses a variation of Spanglish. Throw in various dialects, and language alone is enough to see how diverse Latinos can be.

But let’s not forget Puerto Rican voting rights and their lack of federal representation in government. While Puerto Ricans can vote in the presidential primaries, they are not permitted to vote in general federal elections. Only Puerto Ricans living on the mainland can participate in the general election—even though the island is a part of the U.S. and is affected by the elected policymakers. Elizabeth Warren and Julián Castro are the only two candidates who have made Puerto Rican rights a part of their policy platforms. Castro even made Puerto Rico the first stop on his presidential campaign. They might not speak Spanish but their actions show they have been fighting for those who do.

Presidential hopefuls beware: Latinos do not think the same way, and their voting record reflects this. The people who watch El Gordo y La Flaca are not the same ones described in the 2019 CNN article “The future of the American economy is Hispanic and female.”

The Latino vote can be a deciding factor in the 2020 race. However, just like any other voting bloc, different strategies and campaign tactics are required to reach this group. Latino voters will not support someone for something as basic as speaking Spanish, and it would be a mistake to assume the group is automatically won by the Democratic Party. The path to victory begins by admitting the road to mobilizing this demographic won’t be easy. 

READ: Republicans Have Made Voting In This Majority Latino Town In Kansas Nearly Impossible

The Bernie Campaign Teamed Up With Cardi B To Talk About Police Brutality, DREAMers And Raising Wages

Entertainment

The Bernie Campaign Teamed Up With Cardi B To Talk About Police Brutality, DREAMers And Raising Wages

@BernieSanders / Twitter

Vermont Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and rapper Cardi B have been teasing their on-screen discussion on issues ranging from police brutality to canceling student debt for a few weeks now. Finally, the Sanders campaign published the video in all its nearly ten minutes of glory.

The two met at Detroit’s TEN nail bar, a deluxe nail salon founded and operated by two women of color. Cardi B came prepared with a list of questions that her own followers have brought up with her. In essence, Cardi B served as a representative of her fans’ political interests and brought them to a Presidential candidate to see if he would be the guy to officially represent their needs in the nation’s most meaningful capacity–as POTUS 2020.

Six weeks ago, Cardi asked her fans what they would want to hear Bernie Sanders discuss.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

On July 2, the rapper shared a video to Instagram telling her followers that her number one question to Bernie Sanders is about how to end police brutality in this country. “What would you like to ask? what change would you like to see in your community and in the USA 🇺🇸?” she posted. “2020 is getting very close let’s get familiar with who is running and how they can change the country! Put your questions down below and your questions may be answered very soon.”

Nobody expected she was actually going to sit down with Bernie Sanders and represent the Bardi Gang’s political issues.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Hilariously, Sanders wiggled his fingers alongside Cardi B’s as he told us that, “Cardi B’s nails are juuuust a little different than mine. Our views on the issues are pretty similar.” 

Cardi B absolutely nailed it as an interviewer. She steered the conversation and truly represented her followers’ interests. She opened the video to remind everyone that, “A couple of weeks ago, I asked my followers what types of questions would you want to ask a Democratic candidate. Let’s go baby.” Here are the takeaways.

Number one: Cardi and Bernie’s shared goal is getting Trump out of office.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

“You know what I’m trying to do is I’m trying to advocate the youth in my community because I feel like there’s a serious problem right now in America,” Cardi opens. “We have this bully as a President and the only way to take him out is somebody winning.”

“We’ve got to get rid of Donald Trump, obviously. Because Donald Trump is an overt racist. He’s just way out there.”

The first question on Cardi’s mind is putting an end to police brutality in America. Bernie has a three-pronged plan.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Cardi B got vulnerable and talked about the mental effects of what it’s like to “constantly see on social media police brutality against black men and against minorities. What are we going to do to change that, because that is discouraging our people? We constantly see our men getting killed every day, and it seems like nobody cares.”

Sanders wants to end the militarization of police departments, which he sees as a form of intimidation.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

To address police brutality, he wants the Department of Justice to investigate every police killing to ensure accountability and prevent local police departments from covering up crimes. He also wants to federally obligate police departments to “look like the community they serve” and “not like an oppressive army.” Sanders related to the “disgust” of seeing 1 in 4 young black men in the criminal justice system. His solution to that specific issue is to invest in free education instead of investing in prisons and incarceration. 

During his first week as President, Sanders will reinstate the executive order that gave protections to DREAMers, and he wants to extend those protections to their parents.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Cardi had recalled meeting a fan who enrolled for protections under DACA and is now facing deportation back to Mexico–a place that he has no living memory of ever knowing. Bernie wants the 1.8 million young people who qualify for DACA to experience the freedoms of this country. When he said he wants to expand that program to their parents, Cardi did a little jiggle and let out a “Yeahhh!”

Bernie is going to raise taxes to allow free healthcare and education, but it will be cheaper on a day to day for Americans.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

“People are afraid to pay more taxes than they’re already paying,” Cardi rightly stated. Bernie’s plan to offer free health care for all will ultimately be cheaper for the overwhelming majority of people than paying for premiums, deductibles, and copayments.

Cardi B will never forget how hard it was to make a living wage before she found fame.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Cardi B brought up how “certain people like to brag” about how there are more jobs in America, but she’s questioning the quality of these jobs. Why are her followers having to work two or three jobs to survive? Bernie wants to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. 

By placing a modest tax on Wall Street, Sanders plans to cancel student debt.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Forty-five million Americans are living with student debt. Sanders knows that those of us in our 20s and 30s were told that we had to go to college to get a good job. Where the good jobs at? Our generation is far less likely to own homes and make financial progress in our lives. For the first time, our generation is worse off than the generation before it. 

Sanders has a message to Cardi B’s followers: “Trump doesn’t want people of color to be participating in the political process.”

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

“Participate in the political process,” he tells POC. You can spend five minutes to register to vote here.

Watch the full interview below!

What do you think about Cardi B’s interview?

READ: Cardi B Claps Back At “Republicans And Conservatives” Who Want Her To Shut Up When It Comes To Politics

Trump Made It His Personal Business To Get Israel To Ban Two Democratic Congresswoman From Entering After Saying They “Hate Jewish People”

Things That Matter

Trump Made It His Personal Business To Get Israel To Ban Two Democratic Congresswoman From Entering After Saying They “Hate Jewish People”

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Two Democratic members of Congress have just been barred from visiting Israel next week in a move that many fear will deepen the injured relationship between Democrats and the Jewish state and strengthen the bond between Trump and Israeli leaders. On Thursday, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blocked Congresswomen Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) from embarking on a planned trip to the country. 

Deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely confirmed the ban in a statement to CNN. 

“The plan of the two Congresswomen is only to damage Israel and to foment against Israel,” Netanyahu said.

The decision came after President Donald Trump said Israel would be showing “great weakness” if they allowed the women of color legislators, who have both been very critical of the country, to visit. “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people,” the president wrote on Twitter Thursday morning. “There is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!”

The private trip was organized by a Palestinian-led nonprofit. The women were expected to visit Israel and the West Bank, where Tlaib has family, as well as Bethlehem, Hebron, Ramallah, and Jerusalem. In the latter Middle Eastern city, they were to join members of the Palestinian Authority at the Temple Mount (called Haram al-Sharif by Muslims), a major holy site for Jews, Christians and Muslims.

The decision to block the trip comes one month after Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer said that the women would be allowed to visit Israel, noting at the time that barring them would be impertinent.

“Out of respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America, we would not deny entry to any member of Congress into Israel,” Dermer, who is close to Netanyahu, said

For some on the left, the Israeli government’s decision to go back on their word is proof that the decision was made in spite of the women. 

Even more, they see it as potentially damaging to an already strained relationship.

“Israel’s denial of entry to Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar is a sign of weakness, and beneath the dignity of the great State of Israel,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “The President’s statements about the Congresswomen are a sign of ignorance and disrespect, and beneath the dignity of the Office of the President.”

In a separate statement, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the decision a “sign of weakness, not strength,” adding that “it will only hurt the U.S.-Israeli relationship and support for Israel in America … Many strong supporters of Israel will be deeply disappointed in this decision, which the Israeli government should reverse.”

Netanyahu’s main grievance with the women is that they support the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Both Omar and Tlaib voted for legislation that would have made it US policy to boycott Israel; the measure was thwarted 398-17 in the House.

Since about 2005, the BDS movement has attempted to force Israel to change its approach to the Palestinians through external pressure, like demanding companies to halt business with Israel, asking consumers to stop buying Israeli products and calling on scholars and cultural leaders to stop collaborating with colleagues in the country. For supporters, the mission is much like the boycotts that targeted apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s. 

For opponents, however, the movement, and its followers are deemed anti-Semitic.

Democratic presidential candidates have chimed in on the matter as well, with some recognizing that difference in views does not equate to anti-Semitism and others directly placing their anger with Trump, who they believe helped stir up Isreali leaders with his damaging remarks against Reps. Tlaib and Omar.

“Israel doesn’t advance its case as a tolerant democracy or unwavering US ally by barring elected members of Congress from visiting because of their political views,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) tweeted. “This would be a shameful, unprecedented move. I urge Israel’s government to allow @IlhanMN and @RashidaTlaib entry.”

Speaking to Trump, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) called the president a bigot and told him, “opposing Netanyahu’s policies is not ‘hating the Jewish people.”

Former US representative Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) added: “President Trump, you show great weakness every single day—when you attack women of color when you degrade the office of the president, and when you ask our allies to stoop to your level.”

In July, Trump told Omar and Tlaib, among other members of their “squad” — which also includes Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) — to “go back” to their countries. Tlaib was born in the United States, and Omar was born in Somalia and is a naturalized US citizen.

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