politics

How Latinos Made History Across The Country During The Midterm Elections

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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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Historians And AOC Agree That Detention Centers Look Like Concentration Camps But Conservatives Don’t Want To Hear It

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Historians And AOC Agree That Detention Centers Look Like Concentration Camps But Conservatives Don’t Want To Hear It

Alex Wong / Staff \ Getty Images

In the years since Donald Trump took up the role of president of the United States, the front pages of newspapers and media sites have depicted images of starving children behind bars and parents being separated and detained from their infants. Social scientists and historians specializing in internment camps and have said that today’s U.S. detention centers look pretty similar to the dawn of earlier historical atrocities and yet the question of what these images evoke are still being questioned.

Conservatives aren’t happy with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez once again after the novice representative for New York’s 14th congressional district likened Trump’s actions to the early phases of the Holocaust.

During a recent streaming on Instagram Live, Ocasio-Cortez said that “The United States is running concentration camps on our southern border.”

“The United States is running concentration camps on our southern border, and that is exactly what they are — they are concentration camps,” Ocasio-Cortez said to an Instagram Live audience on Monday. “And if that doesn’t bother you … I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that we should not, that ‘never again’ means something… The fact that concentration camps are now an institutionalized practice in the home of the free is extraordinarily disturbing, and we need to do something about it.” The phrase “never again” has become used by Jewish people when talking about the Holocaust.

During her stream, Ocasio-Cortez also pointed to the thousands of migrant children were being held in facilities that had been used to detain Japanese Americans during World War II. 

Ocasio-Cortez’s reference relates to last week when the Department of Health and Human Services, which is meant to care for unaccompanied migrant children, announced that it would begin to use Fort Sill Army Base, located in Oklahoma, to hold minors. The base was formerly an internment camp for Japanese Americans during World War II. It was also used previously by the Obama administration as a base for detaining migrant children.

Ocasio- Cortez referred said that how we proceed in addressing the current “crisis” as a country will work as a reflection as to whether or not we are losing our principles and values to an “authoritarian and fascist presidency.”

“I don’t use those words lightly. I don’t use those words to just throw bombs. I use that word because that is what an administration that creates concentration camps is,” Ocasio- Cortez said. “A presidency that creates concentration camps is fascist, and it’s very difficult to say that, because it is very difficult to accept the fact that that is how bad things have gotten, but that is how bad things have gotten.”

In response, Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House, accused the democrat of disrespecting the Jewish people killed during the Holocaust.

“Please @AOC do us all a favor and spend just a few minutes learning some actual history. 6 million Jews were exterminated in the Holocaust. You demean their memory and disgrace yourself with comments like this,” the Wyoming Republican tweeted.

Ocasio-Cortez quickly responded “Hey Rep. Cheney, since you’re so eager to ‘educate me,’ I’m curious: What do YOU call building mass camps of people being detained without a trial? How would you dress up DHS’s mass separation of thousands children at the border from their parents?”

Charges Against Disgraced Parkland Officer And New Florida Law Raises Questions for Teachers

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Charges Against Disgraced Parkland Officer And New Florida Law Raises Questions for Teachers

@libertynation\ Twitter

The arrest of Scot Peterson, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sheriff’s deputy who heard shots fired inside the school and hid outside is raising some troubling questions for teachers.

Labeled a coward cop by many, Peterson has been charged with eleven counts of child negligence, culpable negligence, and perjury for his inaction and lies he made about his role while under oath.

Armed and tasked with providing security for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Peterson can be seen hiding in video footage during the Parkland shooting. Many parents of slain children, such Manuel and Patricia Oliver, believe that Peterson should have risked his life and entered the school and do whatever he could to stop the shooter, Nikolas Cruz on February 14, 2018.

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The aftermath of the shooting has resulted in an uprising of teen activism, the arrest of Peterson, and changes in the law.

One such law passed in Florida last month, allows teachers to carry firearms.

The law has raised many questions and much controversy, such as concerns about racism and implicit bias that many fear could result in the shooting of black students. The charges against Scot Peterson and the passage of the gun law that allows teachers to be armed in classrooms has raised questions about the responsibility of those teachers who might choose to arm themselves at school. The Florida Education Association, Florida’s teachers’ union, is particularly concerned because they fear that Peterson’s arrest, could set precedence for holding armed teachers accountable for injuries or death of students on their watch, should they choose not to use their weapon to subdue a school shooter. Tort law speaks very specifically about negligence which the teacher association fears teachers, like Peterson, could be charged with under the new law: “Negligence is the unintentional failure to live up to the community’s ideal of reasonable care, having nothing to do with moral care. An individual who has behaved negligently is one who has not lived up to a certain imputed duty or obligation to conform to a certain standard of conduct for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm.”

While many believe that Peterson’s case is an anomaly and won’t set precedence, in August of 2018 the Florida Department of Education made an amendment to its insurance policy that makes it clear that armed teachers will not be covered for claims involving “armed instructional personnel while acting in the scope of their activities for the educational institution.”  And while state lawmakers have responded to the Parkland shooting by allowing more guns in public places, in this case schools, the Florida department of education has protected itself itself from lawsuits brought by parents or relatives of those who could be injured as a result of an armed teacher.

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When a state passes a law that encourages teachers to arm themselves to protect children in the classroom from school shooters, presumably other children, many other questions should be raised?

Is the hero teacher narrative at play? Is it fair to encourage teachers, trained to educate America’s children, to arm themselves and protect them or face neglect charges when they don’t or couldn’t?

Shouldn’t we be focused on common sense gun laws? Does it make sense to allow firearms in school?

When it comes to both a rallying cry for common sense gun laws and charges of negligence against Scot Peterson, many on Twitter are asking some of these questions and more.

TruthBeTold wants to know why the federal government isn’t being held responsible for not enacting strict gun laws and asks “What about Congress” What about the president? Didn’t they also fail to protect those children?”

12yearlagavulin and jon-e-lingo point out the irony of laws that protect police offers who shoot unarmed men but convict of negligence. Jonelingo points out how unlikely it would have been for Peterson to face jail time had he actually shot someone rather doing what he did which was not shoot.

Many on Twitter called Peterson a coward for not doing his job or being willing to “put his life on the line. Others, like Junebug, believe he’s being unfairly scapegoated.

Twitter user @LopezMaddox made a donut joke about the Broward cop to make about about Peterson’s lack of action.

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