Things That Matter

Latino Voters Could Decide The 2020 Election, So Why Did Only 5 Presidential Candidates Show Up To A Latino Issues Forum?

Only five of the remaining eighteen Democratic candidates attended a presidential forum on Latinx issues at Cal State Los Angeles over the weekend. Secretary Julian Castro, Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Bernie Sanders, Mayor Pete Buttigeg, and billionaire Tom Steyer attended. Notably absent were other leading candidates like Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Cory Booker, and Senator Amy Klobuchar. 

According to a November 13, California statewide Latino Decisions poll, 31 percent of voters planned to vote for Sanders, 22 percent for Biden, 11 percent for Warren, 9 percent for Castro, and 9 percent for Harris. A whopping 74 percent of registered California Latinx voters said they would be voting in the Democratic primary. 

The 90-minute forum sponsored by the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State Los Angeles, the California Latino Legislative Caucus and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, according to ABC 7, whose news anchor Marc Brown moderated the discussion. A panel of journalists asked the candidates a few questions about issues facing the Latinx population in the United States. Here’s what went down. 

Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro

“I’m running for president because it’s time for new leadership because it’s time for new energy and it’s time for a new commitment to make sure that the opportunities I’ve had are available for every American,” he said.

Castro said he would reform our current immigration system and undo the policies imposed by the Trump administration. He emphasized support Dreamers and their parents. 

“No matter what happens in the Supreme Court with DACA, if I am elected president I will immediately, by executive order, find a way to protect our Dreamers and also to protect their parents, and then immediately push for fixing our broken immigration system in Congress,” Castro said. 

California Senator Kamala Harris

“When elected I will take executive action and reinstate DACA protections but I’m not going to stop there,” Harris said. “I also intend to fully extend DACA protection to parents and siblings.”

Harris says she would address the student loan debt crisis by offering free community college and forgiving loans of families earning less than $100,000 annually. She also said she would make student loans interest free. 

“We have to invest in the people of our country and one of the smartest investments we can make is in our students and in our young people who want to get an education after high school,” said Harris. 

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders

Sanders emphasized that undocumented immigrants would be covered by Medicare for All. 

“When we talk about Medicare for All—A-L-L—it means all,” the U.S. senator from Vermont said. “It means every man, woman and child in this country including the undocumented. Medicare for All means that there are no longer any premiums, no longer any copayments, no longer any absurd deductibles and no longer any out-of-pocket expenses.”

The Vermont Senator also discussed the hardships young Latinxs with undocumented parents go through in the U.S. 

“I have talked to a lot of young people who are scared to death that when they come home from school their mom or their dad may not be there,” Sanders said. “Kids who are living with trauma and under great emotional distress.”

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg 

“The Latino voters that I speak to are extremely concerned about health care, about the direction of our economy, about immigration policy and about something that’s deeper than any policy issue – which is the way people are being treated, singled out and told they do not belong,” Buttigieg said.

Buttigieg said as president he would invest $430 billion into housing when asked about rising costs.

“Part of what we have to do is make sure our economy actually works for us, not just numbers on a page or the stock market, but what we earn—what you earn as you emerge into the working world—rises as quickly as those costs,” Buttigieg said.

Billionaire Entrepreneur Tom Steyer

Steyer said he would ensure that the rights of asylum seekers were recognized and would end the family separation policy. 

“As a value-driven country that wants to be partners with other countries around the world in solving our common problems, including in this hemisphere, I think it’s absolutely critical that we be dealing fairly with these people, both for their sake but also to project who we are so that we can be a trusted and decent partner for countries and people around the world,” Steyer said.

Steyer says he does not support Medicare for All, but rather a public option where some could keep their private insurance. 

“It’s a public option where everyone has the right to health care,” Steyer said. “But we don’t ask the 160 million Americans, including tens of millions of union workers who have negotiated to get their health care through their employment, to give it up by law.”

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The Election Is Just Around The Corner: Here’s Everything You Need To Know To Make Sure Your Vote Counts

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The Election Is Just Around The Corner: Here’s Everything You Need To Know To Make Sure Your Vote Counts

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Let’s face it, the 2020 election is shaping up to be one of the most confusing, alarming, yet consequential elections in history. With just a few weeks out from the election, we find ourselves in the midst of an ongoing pandemic, historic unemployment, calls to defund the USPS and a nasty public relations battle which threatens to dismantle safe and secure ways to vote.

States are already working to change everything to accommodate the coronavirus, from stocking up on hand sanitizer to making arrangements to use NBA arenas as polling places. But the biggest difference is mail-in voting.

The president recently said he would reject emergency funding to the USPS because, “they need that money in order to make the Post Office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots.” Despite voting by mail himself and encouraging his own campaign supporters to do so, President Trump is claiming mail-in voting will lead to fraud, which many critics claim is an attempt to suppress the vote.

Despite the fight over defunding the USPS, there’s still time to ensure the election goes smoothly. Here are the five things you can do now to make sure every vote is counted in 2020:

1st: Register To Vote

Step one is the same regardless of whether you want to vote in-person or whether you want to vote by mail. You need to get registered. You cannot vote in any way without being on the rolls.

Start by going to your local elections website. To find the correct website, you can head to Vote.org, a nonpartisan web clearinghouse for voting information. Just tell the website what state you’re in and what county you’re in, and it will send you information to get registered.

2nd: Request An Absentee Ballot Now

Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Despite Trump’s claims, there is no evidence that voting by mail leads to fraud. In reality, voting by mail is secure and safe. It also gives voters the opportunity to review their ballot in their own time and do research on candidates.

When voting by mail in many states, you have options for returning your ballot. You can drop it in the mail or bring it to your local election office before Election Day. In some states, voters have up to two weeks to drop their ballots off at their polling location or in a secure drop box in their county.

3rd: Have A Plan To Vote In-Person If You Can’t By Mail

Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Studies show that having a voting plan increases a person’s likelihood of voting by nearly 10 percent. Check out your state’s in-person early vote and Election Day voting hours and determine what you need to bring with you to the polls. Before you go, look up your polling place — remember, it may have changed since the last time you voted! Finally, make a plan for getting to the polls. Companies like Uber will be offering free rides to the polls on Election Day. If you can, make voting a family affair or invite a friend to meet you at the polls. Remember: you must be in line by the time the polls closed to be allowed to vote.

4th: Sign Up To Be A Poll Worker

The United States is facing a widespread shortage of poll workers this year due to COVID-19, which could result in closing polling places and long delays for voters. Especially if there are issues with the USPS, we will need more — not fewer — volunteers at the polling places making sure everyone can vote safely, fairly, and efficiently. And if saving democracy isn’t enough, most poll workers also get paid!

5th: Help A Friend

Once you’ve figured out this system, and especially if you’re in a place where lots of people historically haven’t voted by mail, think about helping a friend or offering assistance on social media. You could really be a resource to people who either don’t know what to do or are intimidated by it.

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#VoteLikeAMadre Is Committing Latinas To Vote To Save The Planet For Their Children

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#VoteLikeAMadre Is Committing Latinas To Vote To Save The Planet For Their Children

@salmahayek / Instagram

The 2020 election is heating up. There are a lot of hot button issues at stake from reproductive rights and affordable access to healthcare to climate change and civil rights. The Latino Victory Project is using their resources to get Latinas to commit to voting with the understanding that their children will inherit the world they leave behind. Here’s how.

The #VoteLikeAMadre campaign is just that, voting like a mother.

The campaign is getting people, specifically Latinas, to vote for their children. Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing people during the 2020 elections. That is why #VoteLikeAMadre is asking for people to pinky promise a better future for their children using their ability to vote.

The campaign hinges on the most important promise you can make to your kids: a pinky promise.

A pinky promise is so important with the children, you know. We all remember making our parents make pinky promises to make things happen for us to to give us things we really wanted. They were unbreakable promises that you constantly reminded your parents of making.

People are already taking the pledge to vote for candidates who have plans to combat climate change.

An estimated 1 billion people live in areas that are being affected by climate change. These people could all become climate refugees by 2050. That is one-seventh of the world’s population being displaced because of climate change. Our actions now can help to mitigate some of the damage that scientists expect.

People of color are among the most vulnerable communities when it comes to the negatives affects of climate change.

Latinos, as well as other communities of color, put a lot of importance on the climate crisis. Environmental justice is an issue that Latinos have been fighting for as our communities are often subjected to negative climate and environmental issues. According to a Yale study on climate change, Latinos are the most concerned about the climate crisis and its impact.

Early voters are already following through with their promises to fight for the climate.

Fighting for the climate is the same as fighting for the children. It is not a surprise that those who are younger will be the ones to inherit and live on the planet longer. Actions now can either ruin or save the planet and its climate for the generations to come.

“Many people assume that the only people who really care about climate change are white, well-educated, upper-middle-income, latte-sipping liberals, and it’s just not true,” Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication told PBS. “Actually, the racial and ethnic group that cares more about climate change than any other is Latinos.”

You can learn more about #VoteLikeAMadre, go to their website.

You can learn more about the campaign and the fight to save the climate here. Share with us about what you want to see most in the next leaders of the U.S. by commenting below.

READ: American Latinos United Launches Committee To Take Down President Trump In 2020

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