Things That Matter

From Gun Reform To Immigration, Here Are The Highlights Of Last Night’s #DemDebate

ABC News and Univision hosted the third Democratic debate last night in Houston. A lot of the discussion focused on the gun violence epidemic due to the recent shootings that impacted the Texas community. Immigration and healthcare were also major topics discussed among the top ten Democratic candidates. Here’s a quick recap so you know what went down.

Beto O’Rourke had the biggest moment when he declared that the U.S. government should take away assault rifles.

O’Rourke, who is from and represented El Paso, Texas, took on the gun debate in a way we haven’t seen. The Texas-native spoke about the guns that have been used to commit mass shooting across the country bringing unimaginable pain and death in minutes. He referred to the guns as weapons wit the intention of killing people and spoke on their purpose in war. He went further to say that weapons meant for war have no place on the streets of the U.S. citing mass deaths in El Paso and Odessa, Texas.

“Hell yes. We’re going to tek your AR-15 and your AK-47,” O’Rourke said. “We’re not going to allow them to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.”

His statement was met with a standing ovation and thunderous applause.

His statements caught the attention of Texas State Representative Briscoe Cain who represents District 128.

Credit: @BetoORourke / Twitter

The tweet, which many are calling a death threat on the presidential candidate, was deleted by Twitter. Cain represents a rural district of Texas just east of Houston. The O’Rourke campaign is reporting the tweet to the FBI.

Jorge Ramos, one of the moderators of the debate, asked Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to explain the difference between his views of Socialism and the governments of Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Cuba.

Ramos asked Sanders to explain why he won’t refer to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro as a dictator. He also asked just how Sanders’ view of Socialism is different than the governments in Latin America.

Sanders started his answer by calling Maduro a vicious tyrant and called on international and regional support to reinstate free and open elections. Sanders’ hope is that by placing pressure on Venezuela, the people will be able to create the government and future they seek.

“In terms of Democratic Socialism,” Sanders started. “To equate what goes on in Venezuela with what I believe is extremely unfair. I’ll tell you what I believe in terms of Democratic Socialism. I agree with what’s going on in Canada and Scandanavia guaranteeing healthcare to all people as a human right. I believe that the United States should not be the only major country on earth not to provide paid family and medical leave.”

Julián Castro, also from Texas, declared that his immigration plan will not use DACA as a bargaining chip and plans to keep the program in place.

First, Castro painted the picture that Obama and Trump are polar opposites when it comes to the treatment of the immigrant community. To Castro, Trump has a “dark heart” when it comes to immigrants and has spent his time as president to scapegoat and demonize the immigrant community.

Namely, Castro went after Biden for celebrating the victories of the Obama administration by inserting himself in those victories. Yet, Castro calls out what he sees as Biden separating himself from the harder moments of admitting to being part of the shortcomings.

“I was the first candidate in early April to put forward an immigration plan,” Castro said. “You know why? Because I’m not afraid of trump on this issue. I”m not going to backpedal. I’m not going to pretend like I don’t have my own vision for immigration. So, we’re not going to give up DACA. We’re not going to give up protections for anybody.”

Vice President Joe Biden and Castro had a moment of fierce disagreement on stage and it caused a discussion.

Castro went after Biden in what he heard to be a plan that would not allow for people to be automatically enrolled into the healthcare plan set forth by the former vice president. While it was not completely false, there was a nuance in the language that was omitted by Castro.

Biden’s plan does require people to opt into the healthcare system. However, while Biden’s plan does not rely on an automatic enrollment for healthcare recipients, it does enroll low-income families and communities. Biden does not support Medicare for All but says his plan would allow for Obamacare to include 97 percent of the population. Those omitted would be undocumented immigrants who are not eligible for federal subsidies and programs.

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker used some of his time to reframe the discussion around race and racism in the country.

He openly called President Trump a racist and acknowledged the rise and threat of racism. Booker also called out Trump for supporting white supremacy by his unwillingness to call it out. Yet, more than that, he called out the systemic racism that is truly crippling communities of color.

“We have a criminal justice system that is so racially biased [that] we have more African-Americans under criminal supervision today than all the slaves in 1850,” Booker told the audience. “We have to come at this issue attacking systemic racism, having the courage to call it out, and having a plan to do something about it.”

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang did something never before seen at a presidential debate.

Yang is a candidate running on a platform that includes a universal basic income. The universal basic income would guarantee $1,000 a month for every citizen. In his opening statement, Yang decided to take his plan to the next level before even making it through the primary. Yang offered to start the universal basic income now with 10 American families. In order to be one of the families, Yang called on people to go to his website and tell him how the universal basic income could change their lives.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar also took on the gun debate and addressed a gridlock she is seeing in the Senate.

Klobuchar agreed that something needs to happen with guns and that eliminating assault rifles is a way to start. However, she framed the argument in a different way. Instead of placing the responsibility on the president or the future president, Klobuchar called out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for stalling all the bills passed through the House of Representatives that would address the most supported gun reform measures, like universal background checks and a registry and licensing program for gun owners.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren also took aim at McConnell and his successful attempts to block popular gun reform legislation.

Nearly 90 percent of American agree with universal background checks before people are allowed to purchase guns. More than 80 percent of American agree with licensing and registries for gun owners. However, as Warren points out, the NRA lobby has successfully killed bills targeting these issues in the Senate.

Warren posed the question asking how it is possible that such popular legislation dies in the Senate. Her answer, “Corruption. Pure and simple.”

California Senator Kamala Harris directly addressed Trump for his use of hate and division to keep the country at a stalemate.

“President Trump. You spent the last two and a half years, full-time, trying to sow hate and division among us and that is why we’ve gotten nothing done,” Harris said. “You have used hate, intimidation, fear, and over 12,000 lives as a way to distract from your failed policies and your broken promises. The only reason you’ve not been indicted is because there was a memo in the department of justice that says a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime.”

Harris then spoke on how the American people are better than him and his fearmongering. She spoke on how the American people and their values are stronger than Trump and his campaign against decency.

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg used his final answer about a professional setback to talk about his journey coming out.

Buttigieg was a military officer serving during the time of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” when it was forbidden for openly LGBTQ+ to serve in the military. He then became a mayor of a town in Mike Pence’s conservative Indiana. Yet, at a certain point, Buttigieg had enough of living in the closet and decided it was time for him to be honest with himself and others.

“At a certain point, when it came to professional setbacks, I had to wonder if just acknowledging who I was was going to be the ultimate career-ending professional setback,” Buttigieg said. “I came back from the deployment and realized that you only get to live one life and I was not interested in not knowing what it was like to be in love any longer. So, I just came out. I had no idea what kind of professional setback it would be, especially because, inconveniently, it was an election year in my socially conservative community. What happened was that when I trusted voters to judge me based on the job that I did for them, they decided to trust me and reelected me with 80 percent of the vote.”

What was your favorite moment from the third Democratic Presidential Debate?

READ: Julián Castro Is Rolling Out A $10 Trillion Plan To Fight Climate Change

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Julián Castro Calls Out Republican Officials And Base For Enabling Trump Inciting Violence At Capitol

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Julián Castro Calls Out Republican Officials And Base For Enabling Trump Inciting Violence At Capitol

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Americans are still trying to wrap their heads around the violence at the Capitol building on Jan. 6. Julián Castro is putting the blame for what happened directly on the Republican elected officials and base that emboldened President Donald Trump to speak the way he did.

Julián Castro is not mincing words about the language that led to the storm of the Capitol building.

Castro, the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for the Obama Administration, is speaking out against Republicans. Castro has been in politics with his twin brother Joaquin for years and understands the impact President Trump’s words have had. He is also not shying away from placing blame on those who enabled the president.

“I think they have different reasons [for not speaking against Trump],” Castro told Alicia Menendez, the host of “American Voices.” “For some of them, they are still trying to curry favor with Trump’s base. I put folks like Josh Hawley [R-Mo.] and Ted Cruz [R-Texas] and the other senators who continued to object to the certification of the election in that camp. Some of them also know that it would indict them. [Also] people like Mick Mulvaney, who stood by while Donald Trump was inciting hate and in some cases violence against immigrants, against other groups. So, they don’t want to face that themselves. Others truly hold the beliefs that Donald Trump holds, which are bigoted and racist.”

Castro has been raising the alarm about President Trump’s rhetoric.

In 2019, a man drove to El Paso, Texas with the sole purpose of shooting and killing as many Mexicans and Mexican-Americans as possible. The shooter, Patrick Crusius, killed 23 people and injured 23 more. A manifesto written by the shooter included a lot of the language pushed by President Trump.

According to the manifesto, the El Paso shooter wanted to stop the “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” President Trump had spent months telling supporters at rallies that there was an invasion of immigrants along the southern border.

“You referred to countries as shitholes. You urged American Congresswomen to ‘go back’ to where they came from. You called immigrants rapists,” Castro said in the ad. “As we saw in El Paso, Americans were killed because you stoked the fire of racists. Innocent people were shot down because they look different from you. Because they look like me. They look like my family. Words have consequences. Ya basta.”

The riot really puts the video of Trump supporters trying to run a Biden bus off the road in another light.

During the 2020 campaign cycle, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris was going to an event in Texas. While on the freeway, a cluster of Trump supporters started to try to run the campaign bus off of the road. One of the campaign workers car was sideswiped during the incident that drew criticism from some.

Meanwhile, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., celebrated the caravan of aggressive Trump supporters. During a rally in Opa-locka, Florida, Sen. Rubio could barely contain his excitement over the video.

“I saw yesterday a video of these people in Texas,” Rubio told a largely maskless rally in Florida. “Did you see it? All the cars on the road, we love what they did.”

After the attack on the Capitol, Sen. Rubio quickly changed his tune about the mob President Trump has incited to violence. Though, he still made excuses for some as only Sen. Rubio can do when it comes to hedging his bets to protect his political career.

“It’s something else as well to see that for some of these politicians, they had to feel personally in danger, personally in danger themselves, before they could see clearly,” Castro said in the interview. “You expect more from people in a position of public trust than that. I guess, at the end of the day, it’s better late than never. It’s also still clear that a lot of those Republicans, both elected officials and the Republican base, still will not hold Donald Trump to account for everything that he has done. To me, what that means, is that the Republican Party as we know it should not exist as a party. It needs a fundamental transformation or a different party.”

READ: Julián Castro Is Bringing Back His ‘Adiós Trump’ Shirts To Raise Money For Dreamers

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Julián Castro Is Bringing Back His ‘Adiós Trump’ Shirts To Raise Money For Dreamers

Things That Matter

Julián Castro Is Bringing Back His ‘Adiós Trump’ Shirts To Raise Money For Dreamers

JOSEPH PREZIOSO / AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be the next president and vice president in the White House. There is a lot of excitement from the American people that four years of President Trump are coming to an end. In fact, people are so excited that Julián Castro brought back his iconic “Adiós Trump” t-shirt.

Julián Castro joined the more than 76 million Americans in celebrating a Biden/Harris victory.

After five days of ballot counting and obsessively refreshing our phones, all major media outlets called the election for Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. and Kamala Devi Harris. It was a resounding rebuke of President Trump and his administration. The Biden/Harris campaign were able to flip Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, which all went for Trump in 2016. Fox News and the Associated Press even called Arizona, another flip, for the Biden/Harris campaign. Votes in Georgia show Biden ahead of Trump by more than 12,000 votes.

In response, you can now buy an “Adiós Trump” shirt to benefit DACA recipients.

Julián Castro was a presidential candidate in the Democratic primary when he first released the shirt in his shop. The line came from a debate when Castro said he was looking forward to saying “adiós to Trump.” After the election, demand for the shirt was great enough that Castro brought it back with a purpose.

You can buy the shirt through Act Blue. The Act Blue page is letting everyone know that the shirt is back to give everyone a chance to celebrate in style while raising money for a good cause.

The funds raised will go to United We Dream.

United We Dream is the leading organization for the undocumented youth community. The immigrant-led organization has more than 400,000 members and its goal is to fight for immigrant rights and dignity. United We Dream has been a leading voice in protecting DACA and DACA recipients.

The DACA recipient community has been living in fear during President Trump’s term.

The Trump administration has been attacked DACA recipients since September 2017 when former-Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of the program. Since then, there have been several court battles with the Trump administration to end the program. The case has made its way to the Supreme Court this year. The justices sent the case back giving the Trump administration another chance to rework their argument before arguing the case again.

DACA was created by the Obama/Biden administration. DACA recipients celebrate the program as creating some kind of certainty for the DACA community. However, they want things to go further. That is why DACA organizers are already planning on their conversations with the Biden/Harris administration.

READ: President Trump Falsely Claimed That Covid Is To Blame For Ending DACA

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