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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From COVID To Elections, Here’s Why Misinformation Targets Latinos

Things That Matter

From COVID To Elections, Here’s Why Misinformation Targets Latinos

One of the big surprises of the 2020 election was how even though most Latino voters across the U.S. voted for Joe Biden, in some counties of competitive states like Florida and Texas, a higher-than-expected percentage of Latinos supported Donald Trump. One factor that many believe played a role: online misinformation about the Democratic candidate.

Another important subject that’s been victim of a massive misinformation campaign is the Coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing vaccination program. But why does #fakenews so heavily target the Latino community?

Since the 2020 campaign, a large misinformation campaign has target Latinos.

Although fake news is nothing new, in the campaign leading up to the 2020 elections it morphed into something more sinister – a campaign to influence Latino voters with false information. The largely undetected movement helped depress turnout and spread disinformation about Democrat Joe Biden.

The effort showed how social media and other technology can be leveraged to spread misinformation so quickly that those trying to stop it cannot keep up. There were signs that it worked as Donald Trump swung large numbers of Latino votes in the 2020 presidential race in some areas that had been Democratic strongholds.

Videos and pictures were doctored. Quotes were taken out of context. Conspiracy theories were fanned, including that voting by mail was rigged, that the Black Lives Matter movement had ties to witchcraft and that Biden was beholden to a cabal of socialists.

That flow of misinformation has only intensified since Election Day, researchers and political analysts say, stoking Trump’s baseless claims that the election was stolen and false narratives around the mob that overran the Capitol. More recently, it has morphed into efforts to undermine vaccination efforts against the coronavirus.

The misinformation campaign could have major impacts on our politics.

Several misinformation researchers say there is an alarming amount of misinformation about voter fraud and Democratic leaders being shared in Latino social media communities. Biden is a popular target, with misinformation ranging from exaggerated claims that he embraces Fidel Castro-style socialism to more patently false and outlandish ones, for instance that the president-elect supports abortion minutes before a child’s birth or that he orchestrated a caravan of Cuban immigrants to infiltrate the US Southern border and disrupt the election process.

Democratic strategists looking ahead to the 2022 midterm elections are concerned about how this might sway Latino voters in the future. They acknowledge that conservatives in traditional media and the political establishment have pushed false narratives as well, but say that social media misinformation deserves special attention: It appears to be a growing problem, and it can be hard to track and understand.

Some believe that Latinos may be more likely to believe a message shared by friends, family members, or people from their cultural community in a WhatsApp or Telegram group rather than an arbitrary mainstream US news outlet; research has found that people believe news articles more when they’re shared by people they trust.

Fake news is also impacting our community’s response to the pandemic.

Vaccination programs work best when as many people as possible get vaccinated, but Latinos in the United States are getting inoculated at lower rates.

In Florida, for example, Latinos are 27% of the population but they’ve made up only about 17% of COVID-19 vaccinations so far, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. And Latinos are relying on social media and word-of-mouth for information on vaccines — even when it’s wrong. There’s myths circulating around the vaccine, whether you can trust it and the possible the long-term effects.

And it’s not just obstacles to getting information in Spanish, but also in many of the native Mayan indigenous languages that farmworkers speak in South Florida.

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Georgia Delivers Control Of Congress To Democrats Thanks To This Incredible Coalition Of Voters

Things That Matter

Georgia Delivers Control Of Congress To Democrats Thanks To This Incredible Coalition Of Voters

In what seems like the never ending 2020 election cycle, we can finally say that the votes are in. And the results out of Georgia are truly worth celebrating as a diverse coalition of Georgian voters helped deliver both U.S. senate seats to Democrats.

Thanks to a well organized voting apparatus, a record-breaking number of voters hit the polls and helped elect the state’s first Black senator along with the youngest senator in nearly sixty years.

The results out of Georgia help put the Senate under control of the Democrats, handing President-Elect Joe Biden a major tool in helping to implement a progressive agenda once he is inaugurated on January 20.

Georgia elects two Democrats to the U.S. Senate with history-making votes.

Democrats have swept both seats in Georgia’s critical runoff elections, giving the party control of the Senate and removing a major roadblock for President-elect Joe Biden.

Democrat Jon Ossoff defeated Republican David Perdue in Tuesday’s election, while networks had earlier called Georgia’s other race for Democrat Raphael Warnock over GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler.

The results are a rebuke of President Donald Trump, whose supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol Wednesday to try to stop Congress from counting the Electoral College results.

The Senate will now be split 50-50, but Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris will be able to cast tie-breaking votes, putting Democrats in charge of the legislative agenda, committee chairmanships and Congress’ confirmation and investigative powers.

Black and Latino voters deserve recognition for their hard work in making this possible.

Senator-Elect Warnock is the pastor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s former church in Atlanta. He will be the first Black senator from Georgia and only the 11th Black senator in American history. He won, in part, thanks to astronomical Black turnout.

Many are praising the work of Stacey Abrams and groups like Mijente, who helped register a record-breaking number of new voters. In fact, Mijente helped knock on the doors or call every single Latino resident in the state of Georgia to help get out the vote.

Meanwhile, Stacey Abrams – who had already done so much work in helping turn Georgia blue for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in November – continued her trailblazing mission in the state. Her organization, Fair Fight 2020, helped register more voters than ever before and helped make sure they understood their rights and responsibilities as a voter.

Joe Biden will now have full control of government.

Biden will now enter the White House on Jan. 20 with his party in control of both chambers of Congress, allowing him to confirm his Cabinet and judicial nominees and giving him and a chance to advance his legislative agenda, which would have gone nowhere as long as Sen. Mitch McConnell remained in charge.

Biden and Senate Democratic leaders agree their top priority will be a new round of Covid-19 relief, especially after the president-elect promised Georgia voters this week that $2,000 stimulus checks would “go out the door immediately” if Democrats won the Senate.

Many in the community are hopeful that with control of both the Senate and House, Biden will be able to push through comprehensive immigration reform and undo many of the cruel and inhumane policies put into place by the Trump administration. However, given the legislative filibuster remains in place (requiring a two thirds majority), many question just how much will be accomplished.

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