Things That Matter

These Latinos Are Going To Play A Major Role In Disrupting Politics In 2019 And Beyond

One of the biggest misconceptions in U.S. politics is implying that all Latino voters have the same political inclination. First and second generation, Mexicans, Cubans, Venezuelans, Dominicans, and Puerto Ricans are often thrown into the same basket, which is a grave political mistake.

Truth is that the Latino vote is diverse: some voters defend migrant rights while others question what they call “cue jumpers”. Some align with what the Democrats do in terms of foreign policy, while others defend the hard line that Republicans often have against regimes such as Maduro’s in Venezuela or the echoes of the Castro dynasty in Cuba. Truth is that the Latinos make up about 17 percent of the U.S. population. According to the Pew Center, 69 percent of Latinos voted for the Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections, while 29 percent voted for Republicans, and Latinas voted overwhelmingly for Democrats in a 73-26 percent ratio versus Republicans.

The race is on.

Leading up to the 2020 presidential election (believe us, it is closer than you might think!), here’s 20 Latino politicians you should keep your eye on.

1. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, United States Representative

Political Party: Democratic Party

Credit: Facebook. @Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Did you know? She is the youngest woman ever elected to the House of Representatives. She is also one of the most vocal opponents to the Trump Era. She has not been afraid of speaking out against the POTUS, even calling him a racist in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

2. Julian Castro, Former United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Political Party: Democratic Party

Credit: Instagram. @secretarycastro

Did you know? He is one of the many Democrats who is waiting to hear on what Joe Biden plans to do for 2020. He was one of the youngest and most dynamic members of the Obama administration. He has announced an interest in running for the presidency in 2020.

3. Antonio Villaraigosa, Former Mayor of Los Angeles, Co-Chair of Mercury Public Affairs

Political Party: Democratic Party

Credit: Instagram. @antoniocalifornia

Did you know? He was adored by Angelenos during his tenure. Even though he has not expressed his desire to run for office in the near future, he works as a policy consultant and we would not be surprised if he came back to the political arena soon.

4. Filemon Vela Jr., US. Representative for Texas

Political Party: Democratic Party

Credit: Instagram. @repfilemonvela

Did you know? He has been some of the most vocal people against President Trump’s immigration policies. The fact that he speaks out against injustice in a state like Texas, where immigration is a hotly contested topic, speaks volumes of how much he is willing to risk politically to follow his ideals.

5. Cristóbal Alex, president of Latino Victory

Political Party: leaning towards the Democratic Party

Credit: 150225-dc-alex-120p_e0c2e88974bb9a087f5e687dd7cfdb31.nbcnews-ux-640-440. Digital image. Latino Victory.

Did you know? He is one of the main actors when it comes to mobilizing the Latino vote. Together with actress Eva Longoria, he founded Latino Victory, described as “a progressive political action committee working to grow Latino political power by increasing Latino representation at every level of government.”

6. Mario Lopez, president of the Hispanic Leadership Fund

Political Party: conservative, Republican-leaning

Credit: 20170426201244002_hd. Digital image. C-Span.

Did you know? He is a key member of grassroot efforts to empower Latino voters. He does so through the Hispanic Leadership Fund, which, according to its website “is the first center-right non-partisan national Latino advocacy organization governed exclusively by Latino political and public policy professionals.” He is a constant feature in TV interviews when it comes to Latino issues, so we will see plenty of him leading up to the 2020 elections.

7. Carlos Curbelo, former United States Representative for Florida

Political Party: Republican Party

Credit: Instagram. @carloslcurbelo

Did you know? Unapologetically conservative. He is one of the main targets for Democrats. He is young, Catholic and the son of Cuban exiles. He takes on hot issues like immigration without budging but lost his seat in the 2018 midterm elections to Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.

8. Lincoln Díaz-Balart, former United States Representative

Political Party: Republican Party

Credit: Twitter. @LincolnDBalart

Did you know? He is one of the strongest political voices in the generally conservative Cuban-American community in Florida. He has created a powerhouse duo with his brother Mario Diaz-Balart.

9. Mario Díaz-Balart, United States Representative and Transportation, Housing + Urban Development Subcommittee Chair

Political Party: Republican Party

Credit: Twitter. @MarioDB

Did you know? He has a solid and constant Twitter presence contrary to many old-guard Republican politicians. Together with his brother Lincoln he is one of the leaders of the Cuban-American community. He knows that political families appeal to some voters and we are sure to hear much more from him in the coming months.

10. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, former United States Representative from Florida

Political Party: Republican Party

Credit: Instagram. @RosLehtinen

Did you know? A veteran politician who was the first Cuban American and first Latina to be elected to Congress. We all know how important Florida is in elections (remember Gore vs Bush?). Yes, here she is a few years ago with salsa queen Celia Cruz. She championed trans right in a conservative state when her son transitioned.

11. Ruben Gallego, United States Representative

Political Party: Democratic Party

Credit: Instagram. @reprubengallego

Did you know? This U.S. Representative for Arizona is only 39 years old. He is a Harvard graduate who is bound to become a rising star in his party due to his charm and bright mind. He was even a Marine, so he has got it all.

12. Vicente Gonzalez, United States Representative

Political Party: Democratic Party

Credit: Logo. Digital image. https://gonzalez.house.gov/

Did you know? He has become one of the fiercest opposers to the border wall. In a statement, he said: “It is increasingly worrisome that the president is not kept accountable for his rhetoric – be it online or on any platform. No, Mr. President, you cannot shut down the Southwest Border as a bargaining chip for your useless border wall proposal. The American people need to understand that this action would have vast, terrible implications for American consumers and businesses.”

13. Susana Martinez, former governor of New Mexico

Political Party: Republican Party

Credit: Twitter. @Gov_Martinez

Did you know? She has it all to climb the ranks of the Republican Party after she just finished her tenure as governor of New Mexico. She is a woman and she is a Latina, which appeals to an elusive electorate for the GOP.

14. Brian Sandoval, former governor of Nevada

Political Party: Republican Party

Credit: Instagram. @governorsandoval

Did you know? He just ceased to be governor of the almighty state of Nevada, which generates millions and millions of taxes. He just joined MGM Resorts as an executive, where he will have a lot of political leverage in the upcoming elections, particularly given Trump’s history with casino ownership.

15. Albert Morales, Senior Political Director at Latino Decisions

Political Party: former Democrat

Credit: dba1c7206b04399d8f47d1c33a42650e_f718. Digital image. Latino Decisions.

Did you know? He is based in D.C. as the mastermind of Latino Decisions, a company dedicated to Latino political opinion research. They have worked with people like Hillary Clinton gathering data on the Latino vote. Morales will be key in defining strategies for various candidates, most likely Democrats.

16. Darren Soto, United States Representative

Political Party: Democratic Party

Credit: Instagram. @repdarrensoto

Did you know? He is of Puerto Rican origin, which makes him more than appealing to Florida voters. One of his key platforms is gun control. People like Darren will be key for Democrats in the hotly contested swing state come 2020.

17. Marco Rubio, United States Senator

Political Party: Republican Party

Credit: Instagram. @marcorubiofla

Did you know? After being defeated by Donald Trump in the 2016 primaries he has no intention to run for 2020 and has expressed his support of the current President. As the prospect of Trump not ending his presidency has gone from lunacy to distant probability, Rubio could become one of the frontrunners to challenge the Democrats. Do not count out the possibility.

18. Joaquin Castro, United States Representative

Political Party: Democratic Party

Credit: Instagram. @joaquincastrotx

Did you know? No, you are not seeing double and we didn’t make a mistake. Joaquin is the twin of Julian (scroll up to No. 2 in this list). They were born to a Chicana political activist, so social justice and human dignity run through their veins. Latino Kennedys, anyone?

19. Eva Longoria, activist

Political Party: Democratic Party

Credit: eva-header-V2. Digital image. 1843 magazine

Did you know? Yes, she is better known for her role in Desperate Housewives, but she is a political powerhouse. She has a degree in Chicano studies from Stanford, leads various NGOs to support Latinos and women, and has spoken at the Democratic National Convention. She will certainly get her voice heard as we head up to 2020.

20. Nanette Barragán, United States Representative

Political Party: Democratic Party

Credit: Instagram. @repbarragan

Did you know? The representative from Long Beach, California went to the border with fellow California politician Jimmy Gomez to meet with migrants at the border. The two representatives sat with the migrants in the cold and demnaded access to the processing center that Border Patrol said was at capacity. They were denied entry to verify Border Patrol’s claims.


READ: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is Unapologetically Bringing Puerto Rico To The Halls Of Congress

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As The Impeachment Trial Heats Up, Trump’s Defenders Start To Crack Under Pressure

Things That Matter

As The Impeachment Trial Heats Up, Trump’s Defenders Start To Crack Under Pressure

@themoteige / Twitter

On Dec. 18, just before Christmas, a gift arrived at the House of Congress, two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. After what seemed like an eternity of “will Trump ever be impeached?” the moment some Americans have been calling for finally came to fruition. Yet, the moment of justice against Trump was quickly fogged when Republicans began to attempt to derail the proceedings. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it perfectly clear that articles of impeachment presented from the House chamber to the Senate chamber would be dismissed because no Republican would ever vote to impeach Trump. Then something magical happened. People started talking.

Almost a month after the House voted to impeach President Donald Trump, Rep. Nancy Pelosi finally sent the articles of impeachment to the Senate floor on Jan. 15 to begin the impeachment trial.

Credit: @speakerPelosi / Twitter

It took a while for Rep. Pelosi to get those articles of impeachment to the Senate, but many believed she had a strategic plan. After all, Sen. Mitch McConnell said he wouldn’t allow any witnesses or hear any new evidence. So, Rep. Pelosi must have had a plan, right? 

“In an impeachment trial, every Senator takes an oath to ‘do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.’ Every Senator now faces a choice: to be loyal to the President or the Constitution,” Pelosi said in the letter, according to NPR. Rep. Pelosi also said she didn’t expect a fair trial. She proceeded, anyway. 

Democrats also announced they would have impeachment managers. Speaker of the House Pelosi named seven diverse lawmakers, including one Latina. 

Credit: @AlexNBCNews / Twitter

The seven lawmakers were picked because they have a legal background or expertise and also have served in Congress for decades. 

What’s remarkable about this diverse group of impeachment managers is that, as the New York Times notes, when President Bill Clinton had his impeachment trial in 1999, the impeachment managers back then were 13 white men. This time around, Trump is getting Rep. Adam B. Schiff, House Intelligence Committee chairman and lead manager, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, chair of the House Committee on House Administration, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Rep. Val Demings, member of the Intelligence and Judiciary committees, Rep. Jason Crow, member of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Sylvia Garcia, member of the House Judiciary Committee. 

On the same day that the trial got underway — and the managers were sworn in, along with Chief Justice John Roberts, who will preside over the trial  — new revelations against Trump and others came roaring out of the TV.

Credit: @revsusanrussell / Twitter

If you’ve been keeping up with the impeachment process, you should know that Trump’s being impeached for asking Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden’s son for corruption. That’s what all of this is about, Trump asking for personal favors to get dirt against a politician who is seeking to run for office. Trump has said many times that request was not a favor. Now, at least one person involved in the Ukraine exchange of information is throwing Trump and many others under the bus. If you need a full refresher of the entire mess, click here

Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump’s lawyer Rudi Giuliani, told multiple journalists that Trump’s request to get dirt on Biden was known by all.

Credit: @cnnbrk / Twitter

“Because of my Ukrainian background and my contacts there, I became like Rudy’s assistant, his investigator,” he told the New Yorker. “I don’t do anything on my own. I don’t lobby people. I go get information. I set up a meeting. I make sure that the call went right. I make sure the translation is done right.”

“President Trump knew exactly what was going on,” he told Rachel Maddow, “He was aware of all my movements … I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president.”

Even people who once said they never met Parnas, including Rep. Devin Nunes, finally admitted to having known Parnas.

Credit: @jennyrachelpal / Twitter

Just last month, Rep. Nunes said he wasn’t sure who Parnas was and added that he would never speak to random people. However, like many people connected to the scandal, Nunes has now admitted that he has talked to Parnas. Rep. Nunes went on Fox News to say that he did look back at his records and realize he had talked with him. 

“I didn’t remember the name. But I did remember going back, looking at where I was at the time. Because you know you can do that now,” he said, according to CNN. “You actually know where you physically are. Checked it with my records, and it was very clear. I remember that call, which was very odd, random. Talking about random things. And I said, ‘Great, you know, just talk to my staff’ and boom, boom, boom. Which is normal, standard operating procedure.”

Seems like the impeachment trial is just heating up and more information is casting doubt on Trump and his most ardent defenders.

READ: Kellyanne Conway Is Convinced That Americans Think the Impeachment Process is a Sham

Florida Republicans Just Introduced Four Anti-LGBTQ Bills On The Last Day Possible And People Are Asking Why Now?

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Florida Republicans Just Introduced Four Anti-LGBTQ Bills On The Last Day Possible And People Are Asking Why Now?

Ben Wassenhatch / Flickr

Seven Republican lawmakers in Florida filed four anti-LGBTQ bills hours before the deadline for the upcoming legislative session this week. The bills undo many of the protections that exist for LGBTQ Florida residents. The four bills would repeal county and municipal ordinances for LGBTQ workers, legalize gay conversion therapy, and ban transgender healthcare for children, according to NBC News. 

The homophobic and transphobic legislation was introduced by representatives Anthony Sabatini, Bob Rommel, Michael Grant, and Byron Donalds, along with Senators Joe Gruters and Keith Perry. Florida Rep. Shevrin Jones, who is a member of the LGBTQ community, and other advocates are now fighting against the bills’ passing. 

Advocates respond to the bill calling it “discrimination and hate.”

“Clearly they’ve decided that discrimination and hate are central to their election-year platform despite our state’s incredible diversity,” Jones said in a statement. “Just as I’ve done since I was elected in 2012, I will continue to fight any legislation that marginalizes or threatens any Floridian’s shot at a secure, safe, and bright quality of life.”

Jones also accused Florida Republicans of, “wasting tax dollars attacking Florida’s most vulnerable communities rather than prioritizing the issues that impact everyday people’s lives.” 

Equality Florida released a statement highlighting many of the consequences such a bill would have. 

“This is the most overtly anti-LGBTQ agenda from the Florida Legislature in recent memory,” Jon Harris Maurer, the group’s public policy director, said. “It runs the gamut from openly hostile legislation that would arrest and imprison doctors for providing medically necessary care, to legislation that would carelessly erase critical local LGBTQ protections.”

Senator Gruters defends the bill, claiming it “includes protections.”

“The bill certainly does not authorize an employer to discriminate against employees who are members of protected classes, whether protected by federal or state law or local ordinance,” Gruters told NBC News via email.  “While I do not believe the bill has any impact on local anti-discrimination ordinances, in an abundance of caution, I included language in the bill’s preamble to make clear that the preemption would not affect local anti-discrimination laws, and any court would interpret the preemption consistent with that preamble.” 

While Gruters claims it would include protections, Joe Saunders, senior political director at Equality Florida, claims that these so-called protections are merely a part of the bill’s preamble and would carry no weight should the bills become law. 

“We appreciate that Sen. Gruters put that in,” Saunders said. “It’s not policy; it’s not considered part of the bill.”

Democratic senator Lori Berman suggested the bill was nothing more than a political stunt to garner votes from homophobic and transphobic constituents. 

“I’m disappointed to see some of my colleagues proposing this regressive and discriminatory anti-LGBT agenda,” Berman wrote on Twitter. “What benefit to the public does this legislation actually serve, apart from tossing red meat to a political base in an election season?” 

Trans children are particularly vulnerable to the policies. 

“Transgender youth are some of the most at risk in our community,” Gina Duncan, Equality Florida’s director of transgender equality, told NBC News. “It is outrageous that conservative legislators would threaten their health and safety. Medical professionals, not politicians, should decide what medical care is in the best interest of a patient. Forcing a doctor to deny best practice medical care and deny support to transgender youth can be life-threatening.”

Making it illegal for doctors to provide necessary care to trans children certainly goes against the Hippocratic oath, but if you think something so dystopian can’t happen just look at how Republicans have slowly chipped away at abortion rights – another form of necessary care that can be life-saving. 

Just yesterday South Dakora Republican lawmakers introduced a bill that would also ban doctors from performing gender-affirming surgeries or treatments on children. Similar bills have been filed in Texas, Georgia, and Kentucky. 

According to the Associated Press, “The Endocrine Society, which is the leading professional organization for doctors who specialize in hormones, does not recommend gender-transition medical treatment before puberty for children who do not identify with their biological gender. For youths experiencing puberty and older adolescents, the Endocrine Society recommends that a team composed of expert medical professionals and mental health professionals manages treatment.”

Opponents of these anti-trans bills believe the laws interfere with the doctor-patient relationship and contradict the widely accepted practices of the medical community. 

“Sadly, the medical care of transgender youth has been sensationalized and politicized,” Jack Turban, a researcher at Harvard Medical School, told NBC News. “Gender-affirming medical care for transgender adolescents is endorsed by major medical organizations, including the Endocrine Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. It should go without saying, but providing standard medical care should not be a felony.”