politics

How Latinos Made History Across The Country During The Midterm Elections

ocasio2018 / catalinacruzny

On Tuesday, millions of Americans cast their ballot making their voices heard at the polling booth in what was one of the most divisive midterms in recent memory. For Latinos, issues like healthcare and education were some of the biggest issues and it showed. Early numbers show that Latinos came out in droves. Barriers were also broken on Tuesday as voters elected Latinos into office at record numbers in historically Republican districts. From the first Democratic Latina being elected governor in the U.S. to the youngest woman elected ever to Congress, Latinos made history across the country.

While the actual numbers of Latino votes won’t be out till all are counted, voter engagement was higher than the 2014 midterms and reached that of a presidential election.

CREDIT: CREDIT: Latino Decisions.

The final numbers from the 2018 election won’t be available for a few months, but absentee and early voting tallies show that Latinos voted in record numbers. There was an almost 120 percent increase in absentee and early ballots cast by Latinos compared with back in 2014.

“The net wave of the Democratic pickup is due entirely to strong support from minority communities who voted for Democrats.” Matt Barreto, a Latino Decisions pollster, said in a conference call. In an election eve survey by Latino Decisions, 73 percent of Latinos said they voted for a Democratic candidate. That could have been a huge reason behind Democrats taking back the House of Representatives by a tally of 222-196.

Latino voters made their voices heard in three key states; Florida, Texas and California. While Latinos couldn’t deliver wins to Democrats Beto O’Rourke of Texas and Andrew Gillum of Florida, they came out to support in huge numbers.

In Texas, Latinos requested 365 percent more early and absentee ballots than in 2014 and Florida saw a 129 percent increase. Those campaign losses were’t due to lack of Latino vote rather due to voter suppression and a higher Republican turnout this year. This shows how powerful the Latino vote can be when engaged and candidates focus on issues that they care about. While Texas and Florida were one of the bigger high profile races, many Latinas succeeded in other races across the country making history along the way.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman elected to Congress.

In what was a landmark victory for women and Latinas, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated Anthony Pappas to become the youngest woman elected to congress at 29 years old. Cortez gained momentum for her progressive politics, including Medicare for all, tuition-free college, and the ending of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). She will now be the one of the faces for the progressive side of the Democratic party as young voters have energized the base.

Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia have become the first Latina women elected to Congress in Texas.

While the state of Texas didn’t elect Beto O’Rourke, they did vote in the first Latinas from Texas to go to congress. Veronica Escobar will represent the 16th congressional district, taking the place of Beto O’Rourke. Sylvia Garcia will represent Texas’ 29th congressional district, which includes Houston and Pasadena.

Eleven of Texas’ 36 seats in the House of Representatives are occupied by Democrats. Of those 11 Democrats, two seats — soon to be four, with the addition of Escobar and Garcia — are occupied by women. Both women ran on platforms that included immigration policy reform and expanding affordable health care.

Michelle Luján Grisham was elected governor of New Mexico becoming the first Democratic Latina governor in the country.

History was made as New Mexico voters elected the first Democratic Latina governor in the U.S. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who made a name for herself as one of President Donald Trumps’s strongest critics on immigration, beat Republican Rep. Steve Pearce. The historic win flips New Mexico from red to blue for the first time since 2002. Grisham will replace Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, who also made history when she became the first Latina governor elected in the U.S. back in 2010.

Catalina Cruz becomes first former ‘Dreamer’ elected to New York state Assembly.

Democrat Catalina Cruz will be the first “Dreamer” to hold office in New York. The Colombian-born “Dreamer” was raised in Queens after she came to the U.S. with her mother to escape the country and grew up undocumented.  Cruz will be the third “Dreamer” to serve in an elected office in the country. She plans to focus on affordable housing, immigrant rights and small businesses in her district.

The 2018 midterms showed how powerful the Latino vote could be and is a reminder of what is to come in 2020.

Janet Hernandez, Senior Project Manager at UnidosUS, says that this election showed how important the Latino vote is in key races across the country. “There was extremeness numbers in Texas that saw a 100 percent increase in multiple counties by Latinos and huge jumps in voter registration in Florida,” Hernandez said. “It’s very clear that Latinos rejected Donald Trump’s policy of hate and they elected Latino officials along the way.”

She says that her organization helped register new voters at numbers that matched presidential elections as a little over 81,000 Latino voters registered for the 2018 election. Of the 48,000 Latino voters that registered in Florida by UnidosUS, 52 percent are woman. Hernandez pointed out that 80 percent of Latinas are leading community campaigns in her organization and that was reflected in the midterm results. She says that one of the most encouraging things that came out the midterms was the rise in not only women running for office but Latinas that actually won races.

“We’ve been seeing Latinas elected to office at rates never seen before and that just shows that they’re not waiting for someone to lead them but they’re the ones knocking on doors and breaking barriers,” Hernandez said. “Latinos across the country are making their voices heard and if 2020 is anything like 2018, we expect to see even more Latinos leading the charge.”


READ: Latinos Are Expected To Make A Huge Impact During The 2018 Midterm Elections

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Victory Lap Rallies To Abolish ICE, Erase Student Loan Debt And Keep Organizing

politics

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Victory Lap Rallies To Abolish ICE, Erase Student Loan Debt And Keep Organizing

Ocasio2018 / Instagram

Alexandria Ocasio-Ortiz was just elected to represent New York’s 14th District in the U.S. House of Representatives, making her the youngest woman in history, at 29 years old, to be elected to Congress. While that alone is a huge accomplishment, Ocasio-Cortez is just getting started.

In her victory speech Tuesday night, she named abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), erasure of student loan debt and healthcare for all is “what we deserve as a nation.” Meet the freshly minted politician and her policies to change the New York political landscape.

“This is the beginning.”

CREDIT: @Ocasio2018 / Instagram

During her victory speech Tuesday night, Ocasio-Cortez made it clear that every person who helped secure her values to victory is coming with her to Washington. Given that Ocasio-Cortez refused to accept any campaign contributions from lobbyists or special interests, she truly was buoyed by the community.

Her name on the ballot was a major upset in the primaries, when she unseated a 10-term Democratic incumbent.

CREDIT: @Ocasio2018 / Twitter

She quickly was made famous nationwide for such a historic upset. Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley raised $4 million more dollars than her campaign did, and yet, her progressive views won The Bronx.

Today, she is the youngest woman in Congress.

CREDIT: Screenshot. Digital Video. NBC News. 8 November 2018.

She broke the record of Republican Elise Stefanik, who was elected in 2014 at age 30. Ocasio-Cortez will assume office on Jan. 3, 2019.

Before running for office, she was a bartender at a Mexican restaurant.

CREDIT: @Ocasio2018 / Twitter

She was born in the Bronx to Puerto Rican parents and graduated from Boston University. After college, she moved back to the Bronx and waited tables while fighting the foreclosure of her family home after her father died of lung cancer in 2008.

When she found out she was purged from the NY voter rolls and couldn’t vote in 2016, she got pissed.

CREDIT: @Ocasio2018 / Twitter

Instead of doing nothing, she campaigned hard for Bernie Sanders and then traveled to Flint, Mich. and Standing Rock. Seeing people put their whole lives into their community helped Ocasio-Cortez realize that politics isn’t just for the powerful and rich.

Yet, on election day, she was thinking about the disenfranchised island of Puerto Rico.

CREDIT: @Ocasio2018 / Twitter

She has not been shy about legitimizing questions around Puerto Rico’s political status. In a tweet back in February, she pointed to the federal government’s lackluster response to starvation, hospital shut downs and delayed death tolls because “the US gov has refused to ANY discussion of PR’s political status – whether that be statehood or independence. This is the result.”

Ocasio-Cortez has a 5-step plan for Puerto Rico.

CREDIT: @Ocasio2018 / Twitter

She wants to create a Marshall Plan that would move Puerto Rico past recovery mode and into thrive mode, with renewable energy systems and modern infrastructure. She intends to forgive Puerto Rico’s Wall Street debt, which has been accrued by “vulture funds” using irresponsible behavior latent in the 2008 financial crisis.

She also wants to waive and review the Jones Act, which puts an undue burden on the Puerto Rican economy that other American communities do not have to contend with. She also understands that all this injustice is embedded in deep, dark roots that will take a lot to untangle.

Ocasio-Cortez is so working class that she can’t even afford housing in Washington until she gets on Congress’s payroll in January.

CREDIT: @Ocasio2018 / Instagram

Ocasio-Cortez told the New York Times that she quit her job to run for Congress, and now that she’s won, she has three months without a salary and without real funds to get an apartment.

Of course, she took the opportunity to tell it like it is in a tweet, saying, “There are many little ways in which our electoral system isn’t even designed (nor prepared) for working-class people to lead.”

Ocasio-Cortez is aiming to fight Trump to protect the LGBTQIA+ community in a major way.

CREDIT: @Ocasio2018 / Instagram

On her campaign website, Ocasio-Cortez writes that advocating for legislation like the Equality Act is more urgent than ever. She wants to make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity illegal. Punta.

Included in that effort is to be inclusive when talking about universal healthcare, allowing gender-affirming healthcare to be covered.

Ocasio-Cortez was voted in to #AbolishICE and now she has the power to bring it to government.

CREDIT: @Ocasio2018 / Twitter

Her campaign website states:

“It’s time to abolish ICE, clear the path to citizenship, and protect the rights of families to remain together. ICE was created in 2003, in the same suite of post-9/11 legislation as the Patriot Act and the Iraq War. Its founding was part of an unchecked expansion of executive powers that led to the widespread erosion of Americans’ civil rights.

As overseen by the Trump administration, ICE operates with virtually no accountability, ripping apart families and holding our friends and neighbors indefinitely in inhumane detention centers scattered across the United States.”

She will endorse the DREAM Act.

CREDIT: @Ocasio2018 / Instagram

Because America is built on immigrants. And immigrants are people who deserve due process and dignity, two things that ICE has proven over and over again incapable of doing.

ICE was founded under extrajudicial circumstances; it operates under extrajudicial circumstances–it’s gotta go.

CREDIT: @Ocasio2018 / Twitter

Ocasio-Cortez has gone on record adamantly opposing the existence of ICE and suggesting a replacement organization that aims for safe passage and continued protection of our borders.

Ocasio-Cortez wants to end the war in Iraq.

CREDIT: @Ocasio2018 / Instagram

She sees America for how the world sees it. On her campaign website, she writes, “America should not be in the business of destabilizing countries. While we may see ourselves as liberators, the world increasingly views us as occupiers and aggressors. Alexandria believes that we must end the “forever war” by bringing our troops home, and ending the air strikes that perpetuate the cycle of terrorism throughout the world.”

She’s going to protect the Bronx with stricter gun control laws.

CREDIT: @Ocasio2018 / Twitter

America is suffering from gun violence at a rate of 10 times higher than in other high-income countries. Why? Because America has the NRA, a gun manufacturer organization disguised as a civil rights organization.

Ocasio-Cortez wants to ban assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and bump stocks, because the Founding Fathers had no idea what was coming.

Ocasio-Cortez is a woman who is for all women.

CREDIT: @Ocasio2018 / Twitter

She’s here to decriminalize sex work, to support legislation that promotes caregiving and paid family leave, along with access to equal pay across all genders.

Ocasio-Cortez is expanding the notion of reproductive freedom beyond abortion rights, to include marginalized transgender folks.

CREDIT: @Ocasio2018 / Instagram

She believes that the government should not roll back funding to any health care center that offers birth control, HIV/AIDS care and prevention or reproductive health care services deemed “immoral” by any religion.

In an interview with Refinery29, she said, “If women and gender-expanding people want to run for office, we can’t knock on anybody’s door – we have to build our own house.”

We’re building this house together, New York.

Ocasio-Cortez wants to make public colleges and universities across the country tuition-free.

CREDIT: @Ocasio2018 / Instagram

In her victory speech Tuesday night, she described our entire generation’s crippling student loan debt “a ticking time bomb for our economy” and she’s right. Compared to our parents, our inflation-moderated potential for net income is 30 percent less. We need free tuition to actually get ahead in life. Thank you very much.

Her major campaign goal is to achieve healthcare for all.

CREDIT: @Ocasio2018 / Twitter

She was the only candidate that didn’t accept money from pharmaceutical lobbyists or private insurance companies, meaning she has la ganas to bring single payer health care to the American people.

In Congress, she plans to endorse the Improved and Expanded Medicare for All Act.

Ocasio-Cortez won votes with her progressive policies. She also won votes by being her brutally honest self.

CREDIT: @Ocasio2018 / Instagram

Caption: “Sometimes people ask me how this feels. To be honest, at least in part, I feel scared. Anxious. Overwhelmed. And that’s okay. It is a surreal experience to go from being virtually anonymous to having an enormous amount of attention overnight. Things went from feeling like folks going out of their way NOT to cover our campaign to feeling like there’s a microscope on my every word, joke, meal, outfit, or makeup decision. Every time a media event like this happens I get NERVOUS. But I also think about how I never got to see anyone like me on any magazines growing up. I never saw a version myself in leadership, or on TV, or anywhere really and think, “That could be me.”

In a district that is 70 percent POC, Ocasio-Cortez is the first woman of color to ever even try running for Congress in the district.

CREDIT: @Ocasio2018 / Instagram

We are so excited and proud to see women like us in leadership. Please turn this country around. We’re rooting for you, querida.


READ: How Latinos Made History Across The Country During The Midterm Elections

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