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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In A Good 2020 Surprise: AOC Nominated For Emmy

Things That Matter

In A Good 2020 Surprise: AOC Nominated For Emmy

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

This year has been filled with surprises. Most of then have not been good, i.e. Covid, but we have one now that is bringing some light to our lives. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been nominated for an Emmy. Talk about a surprise.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been nominated for an Emmy because of her Green New Deal video.

The seven-minute video broke down the Green New Deal that has scared and angered many. That video, with the quick painting, has been nominated for the New Analysis: Editorial And Opinion category. AOC is up against some stiff and well-known competition, including Jorge Ramos and Rachel Maddow.

The video takes people through the process of getting the Green New Deal through and the things that it can do. The video was a pivotal moment in the fight for the progressive agenda and the nomination further solidifies its place in history.

Everyone who worked on the project is stunned by the nomination.

It was a very humble and little video that aimed to educate people about a big piece of legislation that so many people were confused by. The legislation is aimed at tackling the environmental crisis that is threatening the nation and the world.

The bill is based on President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and is using $7 trillion to create a more sustainable world. This even includes retraining people so they can take part in the green energy and sustainable shift in the economy.

Months later, this video is still inspiring people to get the deal passed.

Way to go, AOC! Good luck with the nomination.

READ: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Delivered an Impassioned Speech After the ‘Green New Deal’ Failed to Pass in the House

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In Total Telenovela Style, Spain’s Former King Is Forced Into Exile But Don’t Feel Too Bad For Him

Things That Matter

In Total Telenovela Style, Spain’s Former King Is Forced Into Exile But Don’t Feel Too Bad For Him

Daniel Perez / Getty Images

In news that totally seems to be made for TV, the former king of Spain – Juan Carlos – has been forced to flee the country and to live in exile as allegations of corruption emerge.

Juan Carlos had been a very popular and well-liked king until he was forced to abdicate in 2014. He had been on an elephant hunting trip in Botswana as Spain grappled with the very worst of the Great Recession and unemployment hit 24%.

Since his abdication, allegations of corruption and money laundering have chased him and harmed the Spanish monarchy, including his son, Felipe, who is the current reigning king.

Spain is reeling after their former king, Juan Carlos, has fled the country to live in exile abroad.

For a royal scandal with a dash of shock and awe, this week we look to Spain, where its former king has fled the country under a cloud of corruption allegations. This is the same former king who was accused of having a thing for Princess Diana.

Juan Carlos, who ruled for 39 years from 1975 to 2014, has fled the country following a series of allegations he pocketed tens of millions of dollars from a Saudi Arabian deal in an offshore Swiss bank account. He dropped the news to son and current rule King Felipe via a letter published this week.

The former king had become plagued with scandal after scandal and it was beginning to impact his son Felipe, the current reigning king.

Credit: Carlos Alvarez / Getty Images

Although he had several small scale scandals during his reign, Juan Carlos appeared set to go down in history as the leader who helped guide Spain from a deadly dictatorship to a healthy democracy after the death of Gen. Franco in 1975.

However, once his. 2014 abdication of the throne, new allegations of corruption and shady financial deals have followed him. As a result, the former king’s son – King Felipe – has led a very austere personal life in a country where the monarchy does not enjoy high levels of support. 

Many experts say that the whole situation has cast a shadow on the future of Spain’s monarchy. The emergence of shocking allegations of corruption and money laundering against former Spanish King Juan Carlos have cast doubt over the very future of the monarchy, under his son King Felipe

Meanwhile, officials actually have no idea where the former king is currently at.

Credit: Daniel Perez / Getty Images

Since the former king first published his letter detailing his plan to live in exile, outside of Spain, there has been intense speculation about where he would go. Turns out: we still don’t know for sure.

His letter gave no details about his destination but many media outlets reported he would be going to the Caribbean – perhaps the Dominican Republic. However, officials there said they had no information that he was coming. 

A spokeswoman for the Caribbean nation’s immigration service said he had not entered the country, despite reports that he had arrived on Tuesday. But she said he had been there for a few days from late February to early March.

Media in Portugal have reported that he is in a Portuguese resort town, but few outlets have actually been able to confirm these reports.

So with all this drama what could happen to the former king next?

As a royal, Juan Carlos still enjoys some level of immunity from prosecution. However, in Switzerland, which is investigating alleged money laundering, the former king has no immunity, regardless of the date of any possible crimes. So it’s possible that Swiss prosecutors could attempt to bring charges against him.

Regarding the Spanish Supreme Court inquiry, most experts believe the former king will avoid charges as most of the possible crimes took place before his abdication.

Spain’s Congress too has so far voted against a minority of left-wing and regional parties that wish to hold an investigative commission into the origin of Juan Carlos’s offshore fortune.

But what of King Felipe’s future in a country that polls suggest is split fairly evenly down the middle on remaining a monarchy? Some argue that Felipe needs to take greater steps towards a clean break with the past. The Prime Minister has admitted that he is in favor of reforming the constitutional concept of absolute immunity for Spain’s head of state. 

While a prominent supporter of Spain’s monarchy, José Antonio Zarzalejos, told the BBC that King Felipe should take further steps to secure his future on the throne, including the “physical removal” of Juan Carlos from Zarzuela palace.

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