Things That Matter

How Latinos Made History Across The Country During The Midterm Elections

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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AOC Is Going To Be Speaking At The Democratic National Convention

Things That Matter

AOC Is Going To Be Speaking At The Democratic National Convention

Mario Tama / Getty Images

The Democratic National Convention is coming up and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been given one of the prime time speaking slots. AOC represents an electorate within the Democratic Party that is desperate for real change and progressive values.

AOC is going to be speaking at the Democratic National Convention and people are pumped.

The Democratic National Convention is happening from August 17 to 20 and the list of speakers is out. AOC, the outspoken congresswoman, is one of the speakers in a prime time spot. The full line up is a wide-ranging swath of politicians including Republican John Kasich.

Speakers will cover both sides of the aisle.

Monday: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, former Ohio Gov. John Kasich (a Republican who ran against Donald Trump in the 2016 GOP primary) and former first lady Michelle Obama

Tuesday: Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, former President Bill Clinton and Jill Biden, the candidate’s spouse.

Wednesday: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former President Barack Obama and the yet-unnamed vice presidential nominee.

Thursday: New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, California Sen. Kamala Harris, the Biden family and the presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Sen. Harris was recently announced as the vice-presidential nominee. This would mean that someone else would replace her on Thursday night. Rumors are circulating that it could be either Susan Rice or Stacey Abrams.

The DNC is receiving praise for offering up the slate of speakers.

The DNC is a virtual event this year because of Covid-19. If you want to watch the convention from August 17-20, you can watch it here. You can also check out the full schedule here so you know what you want to see.

READ: Joe Biden Calls Kamala Harris A ‘Fearless Fighter’ After Tapping Her To Be His Running Mate

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Joe Biden Speaks Alongside ‘Fearless Fighter’ Kamala Harris In First Appearance And Recalls Her Family’s Immigrant Story

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Joe Biden Speaks Alongside ‘Fearless Fighter’ Kamala Harris In First Appearance And Recalls Her Family’s Immigrant Story

Chip Somodevilla / Gettycc

After weeks of speculation and anticipation, presidential candidate Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that he has officially picked his running mate.

In a history-making announcement, Biden revealed that he had tapped California Sen. Kamala Harris to be his VP Pick.

“I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate,” Biden announced in a tweet.

On Wednesday, Biden held his first campaign event alongside running mate Kamala Harris in Delaware.

During their speeches, the two candidates wore masks and kept their distance in keeping with COVID-19 standards.

Speaking about his VP pick, Biden described Harris as coming from an “America’s story.” Biden described Harris as “a child of immigrants” who “knows personally how immigrant families enrich our country as well as the challenges of what it means to grow up Black and Indian-American in the United States of America,” he explained. “And this morning, all across the nation, little girls woke up, especially little Black and brown girls that feel overlooked and undervalued in their communities, but today — today just maybe they’re seeing themselves for the first time in a new way as president and vice presidents.”

In a speech of her own, Harris emphasized the importance of family and urged citizens to vote.  “We need a mandate that proves that the past few years do not represent who we are or who we aspire to be,” she said. “Joe likes to say that character is on the ballot. And it’s true,” she explained. “I’ve had a lot of titles over my career and certainly vice president will be great. But ‘Momala’ will always be the one that means the most.”

Harris’s nomination makes her the first Black and first Indian-American woman on either major party’s presidential ticket.

Harris is a former prosecutor from California who challenged Biden in her own presidential bid last year. Her nomination makes her the fourth woman to appear on a major presidential ballot. Before her, Geraldine Ferraro ran as a Democratic vice presidential nominee in 1984. In 2008, Republican Sarah Palin ran as a vice presidential nominee, later in 2016, Hillary Clinton became the Democratic presidential nominee.

Biden’s choice was one that has long been in the works. In March of this year, he revealed that he would make a point to have a woman as his running mate and in July he announced that he had narrowed his picks down to four Black women.

Kamala Harris was elected to Congress in 2016.

This has been Harris’ first term as a senator. Before, she served as the California attorney general. During her time as AG, Harris formed a lasting friendship with Biden’s late son Beau who was attorney general at the time in Delaware. Writing about Beau’s death, in her memoir The Truths We Hold, Harris recalled that “there were periods when I was taking the heat when Beau and I talked every day, sometimes multiple times a day,” she wrote in her memoir. “We had each other’s backs.”

Biden’s son Beau died in 2015 from brain cancer. Harris attended his funeral.

During his announcement, Biden mentioned Harris’ friendship with his son.

“I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse,” Biden tweeted. “I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.”

So far, it seems there are quite a bit of Harris x Biden supporters.

Fans were quick to give their support and applaud her candidacy.

In a tweet acknowledging her nomination, Harris wrote “@JoeBiden can unify the American people because he’s spent his life fighting for us. And as president, he’ll build an America that lives up to our ideals. I’m honored to join him as our party’s nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief.”

Here’s to 2020 y’all. Get ready to make history.

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