Latino Voters Could Decide The 2020 Election, So Why Did Only 5 Presidential Candidates Show Up To A Latino Issues Forum?
Only five of the remaining eighteen Democratic candidates attended a presidential forum on Latinx issues at Cal State Los Angeles over the weekend. Secretary Julian Castro, Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Bernie Sanders, Mayor Pete Buttigeg, and billionaire Tom Steyer attended. Notably absent were other leading candidates like Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Cory Booker, and Senator Amy Klobuchar.
According to a November 13, California statewide Latino Decisions poll, 31 percent of voters planned to vote for Sanders, 22 percent for Biden, 11 percent for Warren, 9 percent for Castro, and 9 percent for Harris. A whopping 74 percent of registered California Latinx voters said they would be voting in the Democratic primary.
The 90-minute forum sponsored by the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State Los Angeles, the California Latino Legislative Caucus and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, according to ABC 7, whose news anchor Marc Brown moderated the discussion. A panel of journalists asked the candidates a few questions about issues facing the Latinx population in the United States. Here’s what went down.
Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro
“I’m running for president because it’s time for new leadership because it’s time for new energy and it’s time for a new commitment to make sure that the opportunities I’ve had are available for every American,” he said.
Castro said he would reform our current immigration system and undo the policies imposed by the Trump administration. He emphasized support Dreamers and their parents.
“No matter what happens in the Supreme Court with DACA, if I am elected president I will immediately, by executive order, find a way to protect our Dreamers and also to protect their parents, and then immediately push for fixing our broken immigration system in Congress,” Castro said.
California Senator Kamala Harris
“When elected I will take executive action and reinstate DACA protections but I’m not going to stop there,” Harris said. “I also intend to fully extend DACA protection to parents and siblings.”
Harris says she would address the student loan debt crisis by offering free community college and forgiving loans of families earning less than $100,000 annually. She also said she would make student loans interest free.
“We have to invest in the people of our country and one of the smartest investments we can make is in our students and in our young people who want to get an education after high school,” said Harris.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders
Sanders emphasized that undocumented immigrants would be covered by Medicare for All.
“When we talk about Medicare for All—A-L-L—it means all,” the U.S. senator from Vermont said. “It means every man, woman and child in this country including the undocumented. Medicare for All means that there are no longer any premiums, no longer any copayments, no longer any absurd deductibles and no longer any out-of-pocket expenses.”
The Vermont Senator also discussed the hardships young Latinxs with undocumented parents go through in the U.S.
“I have talked to a lot of young people who are scared to death that when they come home from school their mom or their dad may not be there,” Sanders said. “Kids who are living with trauma and under great emotional distress.”
South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg
“The Latino voters that I speak to are extremely concerned about health care, about the direction of our economy, about immigration policy and about something that’s deeper than any policy issue – which is the way people are being treated, singled out and told they do not belong,” Buttigieg said.
Buttigieg said as president he would invest $430 billion into housing when asked about rising costs.
“Part of what we have to do is make sure our economy actually works for us, not just numbers on a page or the stock market, but what we earn—what you earn as you emerge into the working world—rises as quickly as those costs,” Buttigieg said.
Billionaire Entrepreneur Tom Steyer
Steyer said he would ensure that the rights of asylum seekers were recognized and would end the family separation policy.
“As a value-driven country that wants to be partners with other countries around the world in solving our common problems, including in this hemisphere, I think it’s absolutely critical that we be dealing fairly with these people, both for their sake but also to project who we are so that we can be a trusted and decent partner for countries and people around the world,” Steyer said.
Steyer says he does not support Medicare for All, but rather a public option where some could keep their private insurance.
“It’s a public option where everyone has the right to health care,” Steyer said. “But we don’t ask the 160 million Americans, including tens of millions of union workers who have negotiated to get their health care through their employment, to give it up by law.”
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