Things That Matter

Here’s Why Texas’ Latino Problem Is Important To All States

CREDIT: AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN / YOUTUBE

Right now there are nearly 10 million Latinos living in the Lone Star State, and according to the Austin American Statesman, 1.3 million are living without representation among elected officials. In some cases, this can mean that a significant number of people are left to fend for themselves when government aid is needed. In areas like Deaf Smith County, the Latino population can top 70 percent, yet not one of the representative seats is held by a Latino, meaning there is a divide between who represents these citizens. At schools, similar problems arise. In the Grand Prairie school district, the school’s Latino population is around 65 percent, yet only one Latino, David Espinosa, sits on the school board. For a state that will be a majority Latino by the year 2020, a minority of offices are held by Latinos. This is a problem.

“I feel like we have been abandoned,” Isabel García told the Austin American Statesman.

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CREDIT: SMASHISM / INSTAGRAM

It might seem like the remedy for this problem rests in mobilizing Latino voters, but the math isn’t so simple. There are many factors that can lead to low Latino voter turn out: roadblocks in voter registration, voter apathy from underrepresentation, and redistricting measures that limit the influence of Latino voters are a few potential problems. Oftentimes, people running for office just don’t know how to connect with their Latino constituents and end up ignoring them when seeking reelection. Other times, the only strong candidates belong to a party that is not interested in their needs.  In spite of all this, Texas is poised to become a swing state in the 2016 presidential election. In 2012, Romney held a double digit lead over Obama in the Texas vote. In 2016, the margin between Trump and Clinton is only 3 percent. This closing of the gap between Democrats and Republicans is partly due to Texas’ Latino population, which largely skews Democrat when voting. So while people like Isabel García feel disenfranchised by their lack of representation, the outcome of the national election can rest in the hands of Latino voters. Something has to change at a local level.

So what’s next?

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CREDIT: TEXAS DEMOGRAPHIC CENTER

When Latinos vote in large numbers, they have the power to affect real political change. Florida has already seen a staggering increase in Latino voters for the 2016 presidential election, up 99% more than the turnout in 2012. For all the faults Texas has representing Latinos, the state also has more Latino elected officials than any other state, 2,536 in total. The problems that Texas is facing should concern any state that has a growing Latino population. Texas’ problems will be your problems one day soon. Thankfully, there are people in Texas’ underrepresented districts working for change, and already in this election cycle we’ve seen efforts to encourage Latino voter participation. Like most things, it’s a matter of time, education, and participation.


Read: Schools, Weed, And Crime. Here’s Why Californians Should Register To Vote Beyond The Presidency

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Showtime’s ‘Bad Hombres’ Is A Documentary Highlighting The World’s Only Binational Baseball Team

Entertainment

Showtime’s ‘Bad Hombres’ Is A Documentary Highlighting The World’s Only Binational Baseball Team

tecolotes_2_laredos / Instagram

Sports have a way of bringing people together. The experience of rooting for your team is a unifying feeling that transcends borders and culture. Showtime is exploring the importance of sports through the lens of the Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos.

“Bad Hombres” is a documentary highlighting immigration under President Trump through baseball.

Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos are the only binational professional baseball team in the world. The team splits their home games between stadiums in Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. Director Andrew Glazer wanted to highlight the immigration issue through a sports lens to offer a different layer to the narrative.

“Most of the people trying to come into the U.S. are families and children trying to escape horrible violence in Central America,” Glazer told CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “That story has been told, so what I wanted to do was show people in a way that I thought would be relatable to what life is like on the border. What life is like on those two sides and how interconnected they are. The thing that struck me to be honest is that initially in Laredo, Texas was how pervasive Spanish is spoken.”

The documentary shows the struggles of the baseball team trying to make sense of the volatile U.S.-Mexico border relations.

The Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos split time playing their home games between two stadiums in the U.S. and Mexico. The Trump administration’s constant battle with Mexico and threats to close the border put the team’s season in jeopardy. A first look teaser shows team managers trying to coordinate the release of game tickets in time with the ever-changing immigration announcements from the Trump administration.

“Bad Hombres” speaks politics without directly addressing politics.

“Even though my film has an overarching political message, the players are not covertly or overtly political in any way,” Glazer told CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “They are baseball players and they are living their lives and a lot of them are trying to make it to the majors and some of them were in the majors and are now finishing their careers. There wasn’t a whole lot of political discussions.”

Glazer made sure to highlight the depths and complexities of the team members dealing with the political climate without politics.

“Inherently, what made the team fascinating is you had players from the U.S. who were Anglo-American players and Mexican American players who had a different perspective,” Glazer told DJ Sixsmith. “Then you had Mexican players and some Dominican players and Cuban and people from everywhere else. There were different languages and different perspectives. Seeing how that developed over time was pretty fascinating.”

“Bad Hombres” is streaming on Showtime.

READ: Veronica Alvarez Is The Coach For The Oakland A’s And Her Presence Is Giving Girls A Chance To Pursue Baseball

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Voting Rights Activists Are Sounding The Alarm Of Latin Voter Suppression In Texas

Things That Matter

Voting Rights Activists Are Sounding The Alarm Of Latin Voter Suppression In Texas

Lynda M. Gonzalez-Pool / Getty Images

Voting turnout is the topic on everyone’s lips as we get closer to Nov. 3. The current election cycle has seen record early voting, especially for Democrats. However, in Texas, the increased turnout has led to what many are calling voter suppression to prevent the growing Latino community from voting.

Voting advocates are sounding the alarm that Texas’ GOP governor and politicians are suppressing Latino voters.

Latinos are 40 percent of the Texas population. According to a poll, Latino voters in Texas are more motivated than they were in the 2018 midterms. Twenty-eight percent of Latino voters turned out in 2018 and things have changed drastically since, mainly due to Covid-19.

Latinos in Texas are facing disproportionate rates of Covid-19 infections.

Houston Public Media reported that while Latinos make up 40 percent of the population in Texas they make up 52 percent of Covid infections. Meanwhile, white Texans make up 30 percent of Covid infections. The numbers show an uneven response to the pandemic that has left Latinos behind.

The forced consolidation of drop-off locations and limiting of mail-in ballots is further endangering the Latino community. The Covid pandemic is not over and forcing people to vote in person will only increase the spread of the virus.

One way Gov. Greg Abbott has made it harder for people to vote safely is limiting drop-off locations for mail-in ballots.

Gov. Abbott made the decision to limit the number of ballot drop-off locations to one per county. As demonstrated by the graph above, this leaves 4.7 million residents of Harris County one drop-off location. Gov. Abbott cited the false Republican talking point of voter fraud as his reasoning for suppressing the vote in the Lone Star State. By comparison, Los Angeles County, home to 10.4 million residents, has 398 drop-off locations for mail-in ballots.

Despite this, Texas Latinos are fired up and ready to vote.

A poll found that 90 percent of Latinos voters are ready to vote in the 2020 election. Sixty-six percent of those voters are leaning towards are are definitely voting for a Biden/Harris ticket compared to 25 percent voting Trump/Pence. A large majority of Latino voters says that it is more important to vote now than it was in 2016 because of everything that is at stake.

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

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