Things That Matter

Will We Have A Latino Vice President Or Nah?

It’s been reported that Hillary Clinton will announce her running mate on Friday, just days before the Democratic National Convention kicks off. A lot of names have been suggested for the Vice President position. Among them are the three prominent Latino politicians you see below.

Julian Castro

Credit: @Latinos4MediaEq/Twitter

Julian Castro is the current Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) — an Obama cabinet position — and former mayor of San Antonio. His national profile rose after delivering the keynote speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Castro is endorsed by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. It also doesn’t hurt that he stumped for Clinton in Iowa, a move which some saw as trial run. The New York Times even listed the Mexican-American from Texas as a potential running mate.

Despite being the most cited Latino in Clinton’s VP short list, Castro comes with a little baggage. Back in April, a coalition of progressive groups tried to discredit him over an obscure HUD policy. The TLDR version of the attack was that Castro was allegedly making it easier for Wall Street to buy bad HUD-owned mortgages on the cheap. Several Latino political operatives saw this assault on Castro as an attack by white progressive groups throwing a Latino under the bus, which yeah, it kind of really was. But that’s not all. Castro recently violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits government officials from making political statements while on official business.

Tom Perez

Official_portrait_of_United_States_Secretary_of_Labor_Tom_Perez
Credit:  Office of the Secretary for the United States Department of Labor

Thomas Perez is the current Secretary of Labor, also serving in Obama’s cabinet. We wrote a quick primer on him back in March, but in case you didn’t read that, here’s what you need to know: He’s Dominican-American, he was an assistant attorney general who focused on civil rights violations, and he’s a progressive in the vein of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. In fact, Warren once suggested Perez as possible VP pick to prominent Democrats at a party, according to Politico.

The biggest drawback to Perez is that people don’t really know who he is, and there’s no guarantee that Mexican-Americans, who make up nearly 65 percent of the total U.S. population, will be swayed by a candidate simply because he has a Spanish last name. If that were the case, something tells us that Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz would’ve fared a lot better during their failed GOP presidential runs.

Xavier Becerra

Credit: @NYTNational/Twitter

Xavier Becerra is the fourth-highest ranking Democratic legislator, serving as the Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. He represents California’s 34th congressional district, which includes downtown Los Angeles and the city’s Latino-heavy Boyle Heights neighborhood. Given that his district is immigrant-heavy and he himself is the child of immigrants, comprehensive immigration reform is one of Becerra’s most important issues. Becerra has also campaigned several times alongside Clinton in Latino-heavy regions, which is why his name has been mentioned in the first place.

There’s been some buzz around Becerra, though that has really come from fellow Democratic legislators like Rep. Joe Crowley (D – N.Y) and Rep. Jim Clyburn (D – S.C.). Still, despite being a deep sleeper pick, having Becerra on the ticket might not be bad for Clinton. The Democratic nominee has repeatedly stated that she not only wants to win the White House, but also take back the House and Senate from Republicans. Picking someone like Elizabeth Warren makes that a harder task. With Becerra, however, there’s no danger of Warren’s seat going to a Republican.

But will we actually have a Latino VP?

It’s hard to say, really. Now’s a good time to remind you that Clinton made a promise to the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda back April that Latinos would play a key role in her administration, and it would be shortsighted to not keep a commitment to the largest minority group in a country that’s becoming increasingly non-white. That said, recent reports suggest that the two top contenders for VP are white men. There’s also the fact that Clinton chose to skip the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials conference, which is like the Latino national convention. Maybe she thinks having Trump as an opponent means that she can quietly start back-stepping on some of the promises made to Latinos. We’ll see.

Bernie Sanders Faces Backlash For Saying That Not ‘Everything Is Bad’ In Castro’s Cuba

Things That Matter

Bernie Sanders Faces Backlash For Saying That Not ‘Everything Is Bad’ In Castro’s Cuba

berniesanders / Instagram

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is once again touting what he sees as the benefits of Fidel Castro’s Cuba. The Vermont senator first made comments praising parts of Castro’s Cuba in a 1985 interview. Now, 15 years later, Sen. Sanders is standing behind his idea that not everything is bad in Cuba in a 60 Minutes interview.

Senator Bernie Sanders is facing backlash from critics after his 60 Minutes interview because of his comments on Fidel Castro’s Cuba.

In the 1980s, Sen. Sanders was caught on camera more than once praising parts of the Castro regime in Cuba. He points to the health care and education systems as parts of the government that works for Cuban people. The comments resurfaced in 2019 and caused a backlash against the senator in the Cuban diaspora, whose pains are still fresh from the overthrow of the government.

Now, in a “60 Minutes” interview, the Vermont senator has doubled down on his comments that some of the Cuban government is good.

Anderson Cooper – “What is Democratic Socialism?”

Bernie Sanders – “When Donald Trump was a private businessman in New York, he got $800 million in tax breaks and subsidies to build luxury housing. That’s called Socialism. What Democratic Socialism is about is saying, ‘Let’s use the federal government to protect the interest of working families.’”

BS – “We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba. But, you know, it’s simply unfair to say that everything is bad. You know, when Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing, even though Fidel Castro did it?”

AC – “There were a lot of dissidents imprisoned in Cuba.”

BS – “That’s right and we condemn that. Unlike Donald Trump, let’s be clear. I do not think that Kim Jung Un is a good friend. I don’t trade love letters with a murdering dictator. Vladimir Putin, not a great friend of mine.”

The comments have sparked some backlash on social media from Cubans and Cuban-Americans.

Credit: @marcorubio / Twitter

Senator Marco Rubio, who is Cuban-American, has been a vocal opponent of Socialism. He has used the crisis in Venezuela to solidify his point about the dangers of the government system he believes Sen. Sanders wants to start in the U.S. Yet, Sen. Sanders’s point is not that the Castro regime is good. In the “60 Minutes” interview, the senator made it clear that he does not support the Castro regime and the brutality it caused for the Cuban people. However, he does believe there are things we can learn from the Caribbean island about offering health care and education to the population.

One point of contention with the senator’s comments is that the Cuban people didn’t fight back because of the new programs.

Credit: @DebbieforFL / Twitter

The Castro regime is known to have oppressed dissidents and political opponents. Speaking out against the authoritarian regime was not safe. People were jailed, killed, and exiled for standing up to Castro’s rise to power. Families fled the island and settled around the world to escape what they saw as a justifiable threat to their lives and sovereignty.

Some people are sharing personal stories of their families’ treatment under the Castro regime.

Credit: @GiancarloSopo / Twitter

The generational trauma created by the Castro regime is still felt today. Some people used Sen. Sanders’s comments as a chance to tell a fuller story of the government some have praised for their social services.

A clip of President Barack Obama speaking on the same social issues in Cuba is also circulating.

President Obama worked tirelessly to reopen relations between the U.S. and Cuba. He was the first sitting president to visit the island when it was announced that diplomatic ties were reopened between the two countries. Part of being able to open those relations was eliminating the “wet foot, dry foot” policy that allowed Cuban nationals to stay in the U.S. after migrating. This allowed Cubans to be deported back to Cuba, something that hadn’t happened since Cubans first started to flee their homeland. In response, Cubans illegally in the U.S. have been subjected to ICE raids and detention for the first time because of President Donald Trump’s increasing escalation against the immigrant community.

There is a lot of concern from Democratic supporters that the comment could cost the party Florida in the general election if Sen. Sanders is nominated.

Credit: @IvanBrandon / Twitter

The Cuban and Cuban-American population in Florida is a key demographic to win the state in general elections. His comments cherry-picking what is and is not good about the Cuban government is having a resonating effect in Florida. Cuban Democrats and Republicans in the state are untied in rebuking the senator’s comments as glossing over the true victimization and terror millions faced.

READ: Bernie Sanders Praises Fidel Castro And His Revolution In Cuba During Resurfaced Interview From 1985

AOC Has A D.O.G And It’s Making Its Rounds About Capitol Hill

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AOC Has A D.O.G And It’s Making Its Rounds About Capitol Hill

Just when we thought Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.) couldn’t shake up the D.C. scene more than she already has, it turns out the congresswoman has a new trick up her sleeve.

Earlier this year in January, news surfaced that the congresswoman had adopted a French bulldog by the name of Deco. In a post to her Instagram page, the progressive Democrat welcomed the pup into the world with a post writing “Hey boo boo! Hi, welcome to our family.”

Now it turns out, AOC’s new pup is meant for the community, so you might have a chance to hang with him if you’re in his side of the hood

View image on Twitter

Responding to a question on Twitter about whether she intended to bring the dog to work, AOC said Deco is meant to be a dog about town.

“The goal is to train him to be a community pup,” she shared in a post that featured him taking a nap in her lap. “Ideally we want to work to the point where he can enjoy town halls, be an Amtrak pup, come to the office, etc. But first, naps.”

According to People.com, AOC’s new Frenchie had been nameless for a few weeks and the congresswoman eagerly collected name suggestions from her followers on twitter.

“He doesn’t have a name yet!,” Ocasio wrote in an Instagram in January. “We are thinking something Star Trek-related or Bronx/Queens/NYC/social good related.”

Ultimately Ocasio-Cortez did pick a name from suggested from her community.

“As we took [the dog] for a walk…a neighbor suggested we name him after an artist,” AOC explained in an Instagram story. Ultimately the congresswoman and her boyfriend Riley decided to not go for an artist’s name but one inspired by the early 20th-century art deco movement. “We loved the idea, and decided to name him after one of Riley & I’s favorite design styles: Art Deco — which also is inspired by themes of optimism & social and technological progress, and is a fixture in iconic NYC architecture,” she later explained said.

Turns out, AOC’s new French is rocketing to stardom just like his mother.

Earlier this week, Representative Ayanna Pressley (D–Mass.) shared a photo of herself hanging out with Deco for the very first time and used it as a chance to hype up AOC.

“Making the Capitol better one puppy snuggle at a time: @AOC & Deco,” Pressley tweeted in a post