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: 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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A Ted Cruz Piñata Exists And People Want One So Bad

Culture

A Ted Cruz Piñata Exists And People Want One So Bad

Sen. Ted Cruz has reached peak infamy with a piñata in his honor. People have been turned into piñatas over the years for both good and bad reasons. The Cruz piñata serves as a reminder of the senator’s attempt to flee the brutal Texas winter crisis.

A Texas party store is selling piñatas of Sen. Ted Cruz and people are into it.

Piñatas are always the centerpiece of a fun party and they are even more exciting when they are topical. One party shop in Texas is riding on the wave of local and national news criticizing Sen. Cruz to cash in.

Last week Sen. Cruz was caught boarding a United flight to Cancún, Mexico to escape the winter storm devastating Texas. As millions of Texans survived without water and power, the Cruz family booked a Mexican getaway to warmer weather and reliable electricity.

At first, Sen. Cruz tried to blame his daughters for fleeing Texas as his constituents suffered from the weather. He soon changed his story and claimed that he realized he had made a mistake as soon as he sat down on the plane waiting to depart from Houston.

Finally, after days of speculation, someone came forward and leaked text messages from Sen. Cruz’s wife, Heidi. Turns out, according to the texts, that the Cruz family was actively planning a vacation to avoid the snowstorm. According to the texts, the Cruz family was trying to convince neighbors and friends to join them so they can get out of their freezing house. The criticism amplified when it was reported that the Cruz family left the family dog behind as they fled to Mexico.

People are eager to get their hands on a Sen. Cruz piñata.

Families have been in quarantine for almost a year and they are hitting a wall. Now that the weather is starting to warm up, it is no surprise that people would want to have something to do together outdoors. Seems that a lot of people would like a piñata party to celebrate the bad weather slowly moving out.

There are even some people asking for different people made as piñatas.

You never know unless you ask, right? Never hurts to try to make your own request to better your birthday. It seems that the party store is able to make various different piñatas. The party store made a piñata after Sen. Bernie Sanders’ famous mitten moment at President Biden’s inauguration.

READ: Sen. Ted Cruz Makes Quick U-Turn From Mexico After Outrage He Abandoned His Frozen Texas

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Rep. AOC Opens Up About Being A Sexual Assault Survivor And Capitol Riots In Powerful IG Live

Fierce

Rep. AOC Opens Up About Being A Sexual Assault Survivor And Capitol Riots In Powerful IG Live

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the most recognizable faces of Congress, used an Instagram Live video to share her experience in the Capitol riot. The congresswoman from New York also shared with the audience that she is a victim of sexual assault.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez finally broke her silence about her experience during the Capitol riot.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez was in the Capitol on Jan. 6 when a group of angry far-right extremists stormed the building. The Congress was in the process of certifying the election results to certify President Joe Biden’s victory. In the chaos, people died and members of Congress were rushed to secure locations to keep everyone safe.

There has been a lot of chatter that some Republican members of Congress are responsible for the attack. Some members of Congress have accused colleagues of giving rioters tours the day before the attack and two senators are facing calls to resign or expulsion over their connection. Sen. Josh Hawley and Sen. Ted Cruz are facing sustained nad bipartisan calls to resign after appearing to encourage the insurrection on Jan. 6.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez openly shared that she is a survivor of sexual assault. The moment comes at the beginning of the video as he breaks down the way some of her colleagues have talked about the riot.

“They’re trying to tell us to forget about what happened. They’re trying to tell us that it wasn’t a big deal. They’re trying to tell us to move on without an accountability, without any truth telling, or without actually confronting the extreme damage, physical harm, loss of life, and trauma that was inflicted on, not just me as a person, not just other people as individuals, but on all of us as a collective and on many other people,” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez says in the IG Live. “We cannot move on without accountability. We cannot heal without accountability. So, all of these people who want to tell us to move on are doing so at their own convenience.”

AOC highlighted how these tactics and this rhetoric is similar to that of an abuser. She calls out those using this rhetoric as hiding from what they did for their own convenience and how it something she has heard before.

“I’m a survivor of sexual assault and I haven’t told many people that in my life,” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez says as her voice cracks and she tears up. “When we go through trauma, trauma compounds on each other and so whether you have a neglectful parent or whether you have someone who was verbally abuse towards you. Whether you are a survivor of abuse, whether you experience any sort of trauma in your life, small to large, these episodes can compound on one another.”

During that moment, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez hid in a colleagues office and feared for her life. In a previous Instagram Live video, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez spoke about how she had a moment when she feared for her life but could not say anything due to security issues. Her latest IG Live is open and free to discuss what happened and it is a terrifying ordeal.

At first, AOC took shelter in her office and had to hide in the bathroom as the attackers broke into her office.

“I just hear these yells of ‘WHERE IS SHE? WHERE IS SHE?’” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez recalls. “This was the moment where I thought everything was over. I thought I was going to die.”

“I felt that if this was the journey my life was taking, I felt that things were going to be okay — and that I had fulfilled my purpose,” Rep. AOC said through tears.

According to AOC, her legislative director Geraldo Bonilla-Chavez, told her to come out of the bathroom and that there was a Capitol police officer there who secured her office. Yet, something seemed off so the two fled to get to another secure location. That’s when they ended up in Rep. Katie Porter’s office.

This is when AOC changed into sneakers and gym clothes so she could run and blend if she had to. She continues to say that a real split between Democrats and Republicans has led to an environment of fear and that on the day of the insurrection, she never felt sully safe or secured.

READ: Rep. AOC Calls Out Sen. Ted Cruz After He Tried To Join Her Fight Against Robinhood

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