As a Virginian by marriage, the California-based actress of Puerto Rican descent filmed a encouraging hilarious video for voters in Virginia. But really, we can all feed from it!
“It can really change things around Virginia and all over the world,” she added. In the clip, posted by Funny or Die on Twitter, Rivera doesn’t tell you who to vote for in this “really big election,” but she does plead not to screw this up for everyone.
How’s that for motivation?
Still not registered to vote? Register to vote today by downloading the Latinos Vote app for iOS and Android. Our voice matters. #WeAreAmerica
We have been saying it for a few months now, almost like a mantra: the holy grail of US politics, in particular during presidential campaigns, is the Latino vote. Of course we have also stated that it would be ineffective to put all people of Latino heritage in the same basket, as we can have contrasting and even opposing political views.
However, Democratic presidential hopefuls are realizing how important the Latino vote will be in the 2020 presidential election, particularly considering the confrontational position that President Donald J Trump has held against non-elite US Latinos.
Once Democrats figure out who their candidate will actually be (numbers say Joe Biden, but esto no se acaba hasta que se acaba), a comprehensive strategy to appeal to the Latino vote should be devised. In the meantime, one of the most surprising candidates, Pete Buttigieg, has released a white paper which outlines what a Buttigieg presidency would look like in terms of Latino issues.
Latinos will be the largest ethnic group in the 2020 elections.
This is not something that candidates, including Trump, can afford to ignore. This vote is elusive, however, as for far too long political parties have failed to understand its complexity. A recent study shows that “Only 48% of Hispanics in the United States believe they are unified, and 62% believe that they don’t speak with the same voice.”
This is significant and challenges simplistic views of a unified Latino or Hispanic voice. Another significant finding: “62% think that a Hispanic/Latino person is likely to be elected president of the United States in the course of their lives”. So, dear Castro twins, do not despair just yet!
The Buttigieg campaign has promised to make Latinos count and this white paper is the first step towards at least acknowledging our importance.
The campaign said in a media release: “The Latino community is an integral force in pushing our nation toward achieving inclusive, progressive ideals. In so many ways, members of the Latino community uphold and embody the values that make us American”. This statement runs almost opposite to the official discourse of the Trump administration (or at least of Trump himself during one of his many rants). It is important to note that Mayor Pete is under performing with US Latinos, with single digit numbers in terms of preference.
The paper highlights the discrimination that Latinos have been subject to for decades, and promises swift action if Pete Buttigieg is elected president.
The Mayor is not holding back words when it comes to the current administration and the many instances of blatant discrimination that different types of Latinos have been subject to. Buttigieg shows some awareness of the similarities that bound us together, but also of the differences that make Latino culture complex and rich.
The media release from the campaign continues: “Despite these contributions, Latinos have been subjected to relentless and bigoted attacks by this President and his administration. Whether it is the disenfranchisement of the people of Puerto Rico or Latino neighborhoods denied access to clean air and water, Latinos in the United States have been burdened for too long by a legacy of systemic discrimination. As President, I will put an end to this administration’s discriminatory policies and work to dismantle the institutional barriers that have denied Latinos the opportunity to belong in their country.”
Sounds like a good start! But ranting is not enough, so what are the policies that a Buttigieg presidency would put into motion?
So what are the actual actions that Buttigieg would take to better the lives of Latinos in the United States?
The white paper is titled “El Pueblo Unido/A People United: A New Era for Latinos” and it covers a wide range of issues that goes from the economy to education, housing, health care, the environment, immigration and the status of Puerto Rico. The first action seems to be shifting the discourse surrounding the Latino experience. For once, he calls the El Paso massacre an act of terrorism, something that current authorities fail to do even though the massacre was racially motivated and had an obvious political undertone.
These are some of the major points covered in the white paper, and the proposals that are most significant:
Move towards political representation for Puerto Rico, meaning that the island should have a say in the Electoral College. The white paper also opens the door for Puerto Rico to become a State if its people want to move in that direction.
As for immigration, Buttigieg would promote a path for citizenship for 11 million people, expedite the reunification of families and reconsider the list of removable offenses as the current one is often judged as too harsh.
He would also push for a federal fund of $10 billion to promote entrepreneurship among vulnerable populations such as Latinos.
The Latina hired to facilitate outreach to Latinos, African-Americans, and women for Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign has resigned out of frustration, according to two anonymous sources at Politico. Vanessa Cárdenas was Joe Biden’s most senior Latina staffer up until last week when she resigned and changed her Twitter bio to say she was “formerly with @joebiden.” According to Cárdenas’ friends, who anonymously spoke with Politico, Cárdenas grew frustrated that her continued reflection of Latinos’ policy concerns around immigration did not affect or change Biden’s policies at all. In response, Biden told theAssociated Pressthat he will make Latino issues a priority for his 2020 campaign, and called Cárdenas “very, very good.”
Cárdenas reportedly was frustrated over Biden’s “hyperfocus” on white and Black voters in Iowa, erasing the importance of the Latino community.
“The campaign is just hyper-focused on whites in Iowa and African-Americans and it placed less value on Latino outreach,” an immigration activist and friend paraphrased Cárdenas to POLITICO. “Vanessa kept banging her head against the wall trying to get them to take the community more seriously and Biden just really won’t change when it comes to the way he talks about immigration,” the friend told the outlet. “It became too much.” Latinos are projected to make up 18.3 percent of the electorate in 2020, surpassing African Americans as the largest minority group in the United States.
Soon after Cárdenas quit, Biden lost his patience with an immigration activist, Carlos Rojas, and interrupted him to tell him, “You should vote for Trump.” Rojas is just one among many immigration activists who have pressed Biden to talk on Obama’s deportation numbers, which are much higher than Trump’s. Rojas had volunteered for the Obama campaign and was horrified to see how the man he believed in went on to become the “Deporter-in-Chief.” Biden’s response to his story? “No. I will not stop all deportations. I will prioritize deportations, only people who have committed a felony or serious crime,” Biden responded.
“Biden just refused to talk about the issue in a compassionate way,” one of Cárdenas’ friends told POLITICO.
“What happened last week was a perfect example of what Vanessa was dealing with,” a second friend of Cárdenas told POLITICO. “Biden just refuses to talk about the issue in a compassionate way.” It seems as if Biden still doesn’t quite understand Cárdenas’ frustration, even though he told the Associated Press that he could “understand her frustration in terms of the number of days” the campaign spends in certain states. “I’m getting the same thing, and I’m sure every candidate is — no matter what state you’re in — why you’re not spending more time in other states,” he told the outlet. “I wish her well. I’m sorry she was frustrated,” he added.
It should be unsurprising that Biden continues this trend of talking around the bush about Latinos and immigration issues, but we feel frustrated for Cárdenas. Cárdenas allegedly wanted him to acknowledge Latinos in his policies, and he’s even euphemizing the word “Latinos” for “other states.”
Biden has repeatedly avoided political events that might focus on his immigration policies, leading him to skip political forums where Latinos or immigrant rights activists have the strongest voice.
Biden received a lot of flack for skipping a Miami forum of Latino elected officials in June. In the week leading up to Cárdenas’ resignation, Biden received more negative press for avoiding California’s Democratic Party convention where he would be likely to be held to account for his immigration policies. While a campaign official, who asked to remain anonymous, told POLITICO that the campaign simply wants “to speak to the voters at our events that have real engagement,” we’d like to remind Biden that Latinos are real. They’re also real fed up, and demand to be heard.
Biden’s understanding of Cárdenas’ concern about not spending more time in certain states is, at face value, true. To talk about California and Miami voters as “skewed” is to imply that the standard is white, and Latino voices are outliers. While Latinos poll as divided between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, a lot can happen in just a few months. Biden, we’re waiting for you to meaningfully acknowledge Latinos’ concerns over your immigration policy.