Things That Matter

Things Are Looking Pretty Good For Hillary Clinton As Early Voting Kicked Off In Florida

Latino voters in Florida se están poniendo las pilas this presidential election in comparison to the 2012 election. In fact, new stats released by the Clinton campaign prove that things are looking up for Hillary Clinton.

Early voting kicked off Monday, and a total of 133,000 Latinos have already voted in the Sunshine State – that’s a 99 percent increase compared to four years ago, reports BuzzFeed.

The high numbers are very encouraging for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Hillary Clinton
credit: YouTube / @ The New York Times via giphy

Clinton’s campaign reports that an “unprecedented” 133,000 Latino votes consisted of vote-by-mail and absentee ballots. The campaign also highlighted that in Florida’s Pinellas County, which is 10 percent Latino, “Democrats now maintain a voter registration advantage that’s increased since March,” as reported by BuzzFeed News.

Latinos made up 17 percent of Florida’s electorate in 2012. The high numbers in 2016 could really push Clinton to win this key swing state.

But Florida is not the only state with a large Latino population where Hillary is dominating. Recent polls show that Clinton has the upper hand in Nevada and Arizona thanks to early Latino voters.

Find out more, here.


READ: Because of Trump’s Comments About This Venezuelan Beauty Queen, Latino Voter Registration Is Booming

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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.”

Latino Voters Will Be A Huge Force In The 2020 Election And Pete Buttigieg Just Released A Details Plan On Latino Issues

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Latino Voters Will Be A Huge Force In The 2020 Election And Pete Buttigieg Just Released A Details Plan On Latino Issues

Pete For America

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.

Credit: EqualityForAll / Instagram

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.

Credit: Pete For America

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.