Tag Archives: latinos

The Noticeable Lack of Latinos at the Dem Convention

There’s a lot of talk among the brown masses about the lack of brown faces at this week’s national Democratic convention, which will formally nominate Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to be the top of the ticket for 2020.

The latest list of brown faces on a shortened 2-hour per day program, includes:  Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto (Nevada); Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY); Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM); and an article by Adrian Carrasquillo mentions early Biden endorser Congressman Filemon Vela (TX) who will be pre-recorded.

Let’s face it. Showcasing our best is not just about selling Biden, but also about giving Latino leaders a national spotlight to show us as more than just leaders of Latinos, and as people who can run a country.

The same article also gives reasons for the lack of brown faces:  Not enough time in the program; they don’t want too many elected officials speaking; and there were not enough early brown-faced Biden endorsers (Julian Castro and others didn’t endorse Biden until June). One former Obama brown person stated:

“At the end of the day, the convention is for party insiders, and in the times of COVID, I question the number of ordinary people who are paying attention and tuning in,” Stephanie Valencia said. What will move voters instead is the kind of field, television, digital and radio program the campaign has invested in, she added.

I think my “ordinary” Chicano parents just turned over in their graves, and not just because Republican John Kasich is on the list of speakers.

Frankly, I’m not too trusting of Democratic messaging for Latinos. In Florida, Biden will again (as Hillary did in 2016) run attack ads against dead Latin American presidents and other Latin American countries with democratically-elected leftist leaders who support things like universal health care and public education, while the other states will be reminded of Obama and DACA–and that’s about it. At least that’s my guess. But at this point, it seems that the excitement of Biden’s Latino agenda has sort of stalled because of the lack of brown faces at the convention. I’m thinking Biden and the DNC didn’t want things like “Abolish ICE” to be said too many times to a national audience.

So, it’s back to pointing fingers at Trump as a means of convincing brown folks to vote for Biden. But, as I’ve stated before, if Biden wants to win big, he needs to portray himself as more than the next guy brown people will be protesting.

The reality is that we won’t be seeing too much complaining from those brown faces considered “high-profile.” They are either getting support for their PACs to help regional campaigns, they don’t want to be brownballed by the DNC and state parties, and/or they are hoping for a job.

Seriously, though, nothing surprises me anymore.

 

 

 

Biden States Case For Latino Support

credit: Alamy

Joe Biden stated his case for the Latino electorate with a lengthy article stating where he stands on issues affecting Latinos.

President Trump’s assault on Latino dignity started on the very first day of his campaign. His assault doesn’t just reveal itself in the betrayal of the Dreamers or in the pardoning of a sheriff who has terrorized the Latino community. It’s in the underfunding of schools, in attacks on labor and the ability of workers to bargain for their worth, and in the neglect of Puerto Ricans after Hurricane Maria. Trump’s strategy is to sow division — to cast out Latinos as being less than fully American.

Generally, he promised the following.

Biden will:

  • Invest in Latinos’ economic mobility.

  • Make far-reaching investments in ending health disparities by race.

  • Expand access to high-quality education and tackle racial inequity in our education system.

  • Combat hate crimes and gun violence.

  • Secure our values as a nation of immigrants.

Specifically, he talked about supporting a Latino museum at the Smithsonian and political appointees to his administration that will look like America. Included is a promise to expand Latino small business opportunities and jobs creation through infrastructure development. Within this, improving the treatment of workers and expanding worker protection is on his to-do list. To support Latino families, he would address lack of access to child care for essential workers and early education. Expanding Latino homeownership is on his list, too.

One important part of his plan is expanding access to health care through a public option for health insurance and ACA subsidies to make Obamacare more affordable. Most importantly, addressing the inequality experienced by the Latino community that block their access to health care. It’s not Medicare-for-all, but given his primary campaign, I didn’t expect it. Given how COVID-19 has exposed the weaknesses in health care and insurance, it should still be discussed.

In the realm of higher education, Biden is committed to increasing college graduation rates, tuition-free higher education including 2-year workforce programs, increased access to student financial aid, student debt forgiveness, investing in Hispanic-Serving Institutions, bringing HSI and HBCUs into high-tech research, among other commitments.

Pointing to Trump’s anti-immigrant nature, Biden promises to send an immigration bill to Congress on Day 1 which will modernize the immigration system and include a roadmap to citizenship for 11 million undocumented residents of the US.

On the detention side, Biden promises to decrease its use, passing on the case management responsibility to nonprofit groups while migrants go through the system. And Biden also promises to stop Trump’s policy of caging children in favor of family reunification. [I hope they aren’t reunified in family-style prisons.] Added on is a decrease in the use of 287(g) agreements to take out local law enforcement from the equation.

Really, folks, check out this article, which includes links to his policy pronouncements on his campaign website. It’s actually better than I expected, though, we will have conversations about his Latin America policy soon enough since it doesn’t seem to be any different than what Republicans offer:  More election meddling and coups in support of right-wing, murderous regimes who care little for the poor and indigenous.

Some of you will see articles about the Orange one making a play for Latinos, too. Basically, he’ll speak to the same self-hating, anti-immigrant, bigoted brown folk (including some of our relatives) who think they’re excluded from Trump’s anti-Latino hate. For some reason, they buy into it. So, Democrats should not waste time with them, instead concentrate on increasing the bottom line with folks who want a reason to vote for Democrats.

Yes, many of us feel like we’re just voting for the next guy we’ll be protesting. For sure, we will be making Biden accountable for these promises during the campaign and once in office. And another thing, Biden cannot be a repeat of the Obama years in which access for Latino activists to the White House was controlled by elitists not involved in progressive causes. Latino activists must be part of the discussion of issues, and not just inclusive of those content with invites to the White House Cinco de Mayo event and other photo ops.

And guess what? There will be Dems (brown ones included) who will be upset for the people demanding what was promised. But tough shit. We are only exercising our right to participate and to petition our government for a redress of grievances. Trump has expanded those grievances and “going back to normal” is not an option. It must be better.

The job for everyone who wants to rid us of the Orange one is to sell what Biden is offering, and NOT what Trump is doing or saying. Dems need to stop being a free ad for the Orange one where all they do is point a finger at how bad Trump is. Biden has stated his case and Dems need to back it up when trying to earn the Latino vote.

 

Latinos and COVID-19

The LA Times recently featured an article about COVID-19 in South Texas, specifically, the Rio Grande Valley. I wrote a post about bad state leadership and COVID-19 in South Texas in early May. I had hoped that people would realize that bad leadership and a pandemic do not mix and that they wouldn’t listen to awful leaders. Unfortunately, it seems to be getting worse.

We’ve all heard that it’s pretty bad down there and it is. Hospitals are overloaded, deaths are happening so often that even a transporter of bodies has earned a feature in some newspapers because of how busy he has become. For Mexican Americans and other Latinos, it is bad everywhere.

In 2015, 27% of US Latinos were uninsured. It’s safe to say that given the undocumented population and the economic effects of COVID-19, that number is even higher today. Latinos did not have access to adequate health care pre-Coronavirus. This in itself is a public policy failure, but if there was an underlying condition that caused underlying conditions to become exacerbated by COVID-19, it is the lack of access to health care and wellness.

The LA Times article quoted one of the Medical authorities in the RGV who stated that people were finding it difficult to avoid family get-togethers, especially during the season of Mother’s Day, graduations, Father’s Day, and 4th of July. An article in the NY Times also gave mention to Latino “culture” in the form of family get-togethers. In other words, events that bring families together are a cultural thing in South Texas and folks can’t seem avoid them.

Miya Shay at ABC13  reported on the Del Toro family whose patriarch contracted COVID-19, along with other members of his family, after a Father’s Day dinner.

It’s bad enough that there are failed Republicans leaders in other states who blame Hispanics for the spread of COVID-19, but let’s not forget the failed Texas leadership that downplayed COVID-19 realities and sped up a re-opening of Texas. Greg Abbott chose profits over people.

As I stated in a previous post, the people model their behavior based on the attitudes and decisions of their leaders, and Greg Abbott didn’t start panicking and reversing course until the body count started worsening in July. Until now, it was all about limited COVID-19 testing, a lack of medical resources and preparation, and fast-tracking the reopening of states. Trump continues hell-bent on reopening states and schools. Meanwhile, there are local leaders who actually are–whether in Houston or in the Valley–trying to shut down their cities, yet, are forced to add a disclaimer that their orders have no teeth because of Greg Abbott.

Well, now we are at this point where the whole state is considered a hot spot and it must be restated:  STAY HOME! And if you need to go to the grocery store or to a doctor’s appointment (and I don’t see any other reason other than essential work to leave your home), wear a mask, distance from others and wash hands. It’s not that difficult. It’s up to us. And, if you’re an essential worker, you also have a responsibility to stop the spread by practicing safe protocols and CDC guidelines beyond your work environment.

In other words, fellow Brown people, screw what may seem to you like “culture,” and take responsibility for saving our families! Culture also means taking care of our own families when there is danger.

And if you are a leader of a state agency, college, or university, or a company that has the ability to continue operations from home, then it is your responsibility to be part of the solution–Keep your employees home!

Given the situation with the Florida Marlins and outbreaks at various school gyms prepping for Fall athletic programs, school sports need to shut down, too. And that includes university sports programs. Hell, even professional programs that are supposedly “in a bubble” need to stop this folly of a season. If they can get sick in a bubble, they will spread it beyond the bubble. And it sets a bad example.

Still, the diversity of my Facebook friends list runs the gamut and it freaks me out to see people at get-togethers with people who don’t reside with them at the lake or at the beach or eating at restaurants (even if they are at whatever percentage they’ve been told to be by Greg Abbott) or getting haircuts…the list goes on.

Forget about the fear of schools reopening as that’s still in the future. What is going on now dictates what happens later and all we see in the future are more funerals and more despair if behavior and public policy does not change. We have a responsibility to ignore bad leaders like Trump and Abbott and do whatever it takes to stop the spread.

It’s getting to where the people who are sick and dying are people we each personally know and love. I‘d rather miss (or be missed by) my family members for a couple of months of lockdown than forever. 

Joe Biden and Latinos

credit: Alamy

This last week was not a good one regarding Latino support for Joe Biden–at least in online media. An article in Politico shows various activists calling the Biden campaign out for their lack of outreach, or lack of a game plan to excite the Latino electorate. Even the LA Times had something on Latinos and Biden.

Joe Biden won the primary in spite of, not because of, his efforts to turn out Latinos. Two months later, Hispanic leaders are waiting on his campaign to deliver on its promises to do more.

In interviews, more than 20 Latino political operatives, lawmakers, and activists said they don’t see a game plan from Biden to marshal Hispanic voters effectively in the fall. They said there’s little evidence the campaign is devoting the resources or hiring the staff that task will require — all the more crucial during a pandemic, when reaching and mobilizing Latino voters through in-person canvassing is nearly impossible.

Throughout the Primary season, the Latino political players were backing one of the many in the running. Personally, I began with Julian Castro before jumping back on the Bernie wagon. The players, though, were mostly “anyone but Bernie” even settling on Biden because he wasn’t Bernie.

Anyway, Latino Democratic voters, those with whom the DNC, DCCC, and DSCC are usually out of touch and disconnected, were supporting Bernie in many states. So obvious was this support for Bernie that Biden didn’t even campaign for the Latino vote during the Primary. I mean, if there was a time that Democrats were hoping for low Latino turnout, it seems like it was during this last Primary. It’s not that we Berniestas only like Tio Bernie because he exists, it was that he took the issues that we poll strongest on seriously:  Education, Jobs, Health Care, and immigration and deportation reform. Biden defending the Obama deportation record didn’t help his Primary cause among Latinos who actually pay attention. Of course, he now calls 3,000,000 deportations a “big mistake.” Good move.

Well, we know the result. Joe Biden wins and deals are made to ensure representation of Bernie supporters at the National Convention and on Biden’s campaign. The policy of appeasement was definitely in play so the whole unity thing can be sold to all involved. As an avid voter, I’m fine with those efforts, as long as the rank-and-file stop insulting Bernie supporters over 2016 (still!). But statistics show Latinos are not avid voters and need to be reached out to because they can see right through the bullshit in politics. To the point where half of us stay home during a presidential year.

Of course, a good look at the recently released list of issues advisors to Biden shows most brown people are on the immigration plank, and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez as the only brown face on the climate panel. Otherwise, it’s slim pickings, if any at all, when it comes to Latinos. Even I know at least one brown person capable of being on each issues group, so, why aren’t they on these lists?

Again, Biden has made efforts to appease the Latino electorate regarding immigration and economic issues, but if these articles about engagement and outreach are already coming out, then something needs to change. And perhaps it is.

I will add that this week’s appointment of Julie Chavez Rodriguez, Cesar’s granddaughter, is a nice gesture. But when the campaign states in the next paragraph that their targets include Florida, all I see coming are a repeat of 2016’s bad and ineffective radio ads comparing Trump to a dead Venezuelan President whose domestic policies were closer to what is in the Democratic platform. It’s no different than the red-baiting of Bernie Sanders during the Primary in Florida because he gave an honest summing up of the Cuban Revolution. It might get you a few votes in Florida, but the rest of Latinodom in the US is going to see right through it, thus, making outreach ineffective. In other words, you better do better than Florida if we want to win state houses and local races across the country.

When the Castro Brothers can be counted among those of us who aren’t excited about Joe Biden, well, that says a lot. I expect a lot of Demsplaining and whitesplaining about this, but maybe the Party should be listening. For a change. Even after the popular brown folk in the Party fall in line.

The pandemic obviously has hurt all campaigns. But it seems that even with the profiteering and willful misconduct occurring at the White House and in republican-led state governments, Democrats and Biden aren’t hitting back as hard as they should. Locally-elected Dems are struggling in these situations and we need a national voice to hit back.

I think voters, Latinos especially, would feel the warm and fuzzies a lot more if our champion actually championed. No, we’re not expecting him to run unmasked into a rally of thousands to cheerlead in the midst (or mist) of a COVID19 cloud. But talk to us. And tell the world what Biden wants to do that is different than what the current orange trainwreck offers America. Simply pointing out what Trump is doing wrong or badly will just be a repeat of 2016–a free ad for Trump. Voters need to hear solutions to the problems Trump has caused. Voters need hope. I know I do!

The results of this pandemic are telling us that Latinos are taking a huge hit–healthwise (COVID19-wise) and economically. Latinos have lost more jobs and the number of uninsured continues to rise in the Latino community (20%). And these numbers don’t even consider the undocumented community, which has its own challenges (made worse by Trump). It’s hard to get someone excited about voting when someone you know or to whom you are related is affected in one way or another by the pandemic and the options are Trump or Not Trump. Again, I’m not talking about voters like me, but the other half who get disinterested really fast.

For some of us, getting rid of Trump may be enough, but a lot more effort is needed to ensure this happens in a big way and that means talking solutions. I’m pretty sure Latinos want to support the Biden way of getting things done. And I guess we just want to hear more about what he wants to get done. Or, Biden could name a Latina, like Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham as the VP nominee and he’d be golden.

Naming Amy Klobuchar, though, would be quite underwhelming.

Getting Ahead of the Blame

Today, 11/2/18, is the last day of Early Voting in Texas, and, thus far, over 755,000 have voted in-person and by mail in Harris County. Voting is 7am to 7pm at any early voting location in Harris County.

There have been quite a few articles and even more comments from folks who have laid this election on Latinos. Well, according to Hector de Leon, the numbers guru at the local elections office, the number of Spanish-surnamed voters is up 253% compared to 2014 midterm levels. Or, almost as many as voted in 2016, with one day of early voting left to go. And then there’s still Tuesday. He added that while 27% of Latinos are of Citizen Voting Age Population, and 22% of the voter rolls are Spanish-surnamed, thus far, 17% of those who voted are Spanish surnamed. So, there is that. Patterns of increased participation are being seen throughout South Texas, too.

Which way they’re clicking, is somewhat up in the air, although one can make educated guesses based on geography, voting patterns, etc. One thing is for sure, among those who have already voted, many are first time voters or those who just don’t vote as often. So, it’s true, people think this is a very important election. Whatever the outcome, the uptick in democracy–even with all types of problems and voter suppression–is a good thing.

And, most of all, Latinos cannot be blamed for not showing up. But Im’ sure we will be. Did the candidates fight hard enough for the Latino vote? Well, that’s to be seen, especially down-ballot candidates beyond Beto and el Mentiroso Ted. I’d like to think that there will be a 65-35 split in favor of Beto. There may be another 5% for el Mentiroso if people voted based on surname or bought into the “fake Mexican” Beto narrative. Needless to say, it’s all about GOTV if one wants to overcome the idiocy.

The ad game could have been much better, too, for Democrats. Republicans have been relentless with their MS-13 and caravan narrative. Trump is even threatening to shoot brown folks trying to gain asylum after escaping violence and poverty in their own countries–if any of them throw rocks. What’s next? mass graves in abandoned fracking fields on the border? (I’m serious! What do you think happens when people are killed en masse?) Although Beto had a great response on immigration, others on TV have basically played the willfull ignorance game, or can’t afford a response. Most Latinos cannot vote in CD7, but we sure as hell can see those racist Culberson ads (and the lack of a response to them.)

Whatever the result of the Latino vote, chances are White men still went with El Mentiroso, et al. Where are the white women at? Ay veremos. But if they still love Trump and hate brown/black people, or they’re willing to overlook abuse of brown people and the apologists who look away, I don’t expect much change in this demographic. (Yet, Latinos get blamed, right?)

Keep voting, Gente. Vote for the Democrats.

 

 

 

Is “Move to Center” Talk by Dems Code For Anti-Immigrant Talk?

An op-ed appeared in the NYT written by a Bill and Hillary Clinton pollster (Mark Penn and some other guy) calling for Democrats to move to the center because that’s when they were most successful, i.e., the Clinton years. Of course, they get really specific on the definition of “center”: Go to the right on immigration.

Specifically, it states the following:

Central to the Democrats’ diminishment has been their loss of support among working-class voters, who feel abandoned by the party’s shift away from moderate positions on trade and immigration, from backing police and tough anti-crime measures, from trying to restore manufacturing jobs. They saw the party being mired too often in political correctness, transgender bathroom issues and policies offering more help to undocumented immigrants than to the heartland.

The suggested immigration policy?

Washington should restore the sanctity of America’s borders, create a path to work permits and possibly citizenship, and give up on both building walls and defending sanctuary cities.

They blame so-called “identity politics” and then call on the Democrats to save  others who are hooked on opioids while calling for the ceasing of  pardons and early prison releases of black kids caught up in the US war on drugs.  And that Dems must also stop protecting brown people from deportation, thus, becoming “anti-sanctuary city” like the other guys.

Let’s be honest,  “working class,” is also code for  “white people in Wisconsin, Pennsylviania, and Michigan,” which are the states Clinton lost. So, kicking a group of people around is OK as long as Dems win? While they may consider it a path to victory, some Latinos will consider it a clear path out of the Party, or worse, away from their polling location.

Now, this may be one op-ed in a major newspaper by some high-paid consultant, but no doubt I’ve heard (and read on social media) the conversations by and about Dems needing to become more centrist ever since the big loss last November. “Change, or else!”, is the mantra. This op-ed, though, is the first time I’ve read something so specific. Otherwise, it’s been elected officials and activists on social media (still) whining about railing on Bernie, or on the “fringe,” which could be anything from Black Lives Matter, Immigration activists, and even “bathroom” policy protesters. (I miss the old days when Dems only hated the LaRouchies.)

This isn’t anything new, and I’ve certainly blogged about it many times over the last twelve years. For some reason, immigrants, and by default, Latinos in general, are usually the first groups with a boot placed on their necks in the name of “working class outreach.” I still recall an East Texas Dem Chair telling my client to “go against the illegals” to win the white vote (and probably his own vote). Is this making a comeback? Please, tell us now, instead of a few weeks before the 2018 election.

Obviously, conversations must be had about the Democratic message, perhaps also about candidate quality, and the stances Dems take on issues. There are smart ways to communicate with voters without being openly divisive. Thus far, these members of the consultant-class who wrote the op-ed aren’t very much into party unity, and much less into the defense of those who come under attack for political purposes by the other side. Dems need to be smarter than what these guys offer.

Something on which to keep an eye and ear open, for sure.

Hillary Counting on Bernie’s Demographic Challenges

bernieIt didn’t take long for the other side of Bernie (Hillary) to come out telling us that as the states get browner, their candidate will win more. Talk about taking voters for granted!

These are the same kind of Democrats who’ve wanted to rely on demographics to win elections. And when nominated, it’s all about, “Yeah, let’s move to the right on certain issues, they’ll be with us anyway, right?” It’s the sort of mentality that has kept turnout rates low and mediocre candidates on our ballots.

Bernie Sanders’ platform is as close a match to how Latinos respond to issues based on most polling. And people are listening to the issues, instead of just blindly following. No doubt, Sanders’ showing in Iowa will cause more eyes to open. Will it be enough? Well, there’s still time to convince folks that we need to get behind a people-driven agenda, rather than the same ol’ tired messaging.

Latinos have much to think about:  34% of Latinos are still uninsured and it will take more than the ACA to get it done. Latino unemployment is higher than the national average. 2.5 million deportations later (and more on the way), Latinos are tired of being kicked down the road on this issue. Lack of access to college because of cost is wearing on the Latino demographic. The same ol’ message doesn’t motivate voters, especially those of us with much to think about.

The Sanders message is one of hope. We’ve learned from President Obama’s hope and change message that not everything gets put in place during an 8 year period, but we’ve also learned that how we attempt to push a legislative agenda can be cause for a deflated base. I doubt a President Sanders will start at the middle and move to the right on hot issues. If you want to have a powerful base that backs you up, then you have to fight for that base. The “No Se Puede” message of the other side is not something that is exciting, that’s for sure.

But if a campaign wants to ride on demographics, well, I guess that’s their prerogative. I’ll stick with Bernie Sanders.

 

Poll: 25% of Latinos Are Clueless, Self-Hating Trump Supporters?

trumpinata

Credit: Lalo Alcaraz/GoComics

While the media is selling the latest poll of Latino thoughts on Donald Trump as “75% having a negative view.” I’m pretty concerned about a quarter of those polled being accepting of Trump’s message; not surprised, but concerned, as they could easily accept the usual GOP message on Latinos and immigrants. Given recent elections, they probably have accepted the GOP message.

More specifically, the poll found the following:

Asked to assess that comment (about immigrants being rapists and drug dealers), 55 percent of Latinos said that the remarks were “insulting and racist and have no place in a campaign for president.”

Another 29 percent said that “Trump should have been more careful with the language he used, but he is raising an important issue.” Fourteen percent said that “Trump had the guts to say exactly what was on his mind about an important problem we need to deal with.”

A huge majority also found that Trump is hurting the GOP’s image. I would ask, “More than usual?” Let’s face it, the GOP has a “nice” way of insulting Latinos and immigrants, which probably coincides with the 29% who felt Trump should have said it differently. Be nice, but we still won’t vote for you, might be the message.

Frankly, what the poll found is not surprising. That Democrats, throughout this Trump media frenzy, have simply pointed and blamed on the issue is disappointing. This is an opportunity to lead on immigration reform, deportation reform, and immigrant warehousing (detention)–and that goes for Bernie, too–along with the rest of the issues in which Latinos poll strongly progressive. Whether Dems will wake up to this is still yet to be seen, so, here’s another opportunity.

The Trump Thing and Latino Voting

trumpinata

by Lalo Alcaraz

Fact:  Trump is a pendejo. Fact:  All the pageant and show cancellations are not going to hurt Trump’s wallet. So, what else are all the hurt Latinos going to do after the Trump anger fades away?

What was noticeable in all of this was Latinos declaring that they would not be voting for Trump in 2016. Of course, I asked myself if they meant in the Republican Primary or in November 2016? Given that not many Latinos vote in the GOP primary, I’m guessing they meant November, in which Trump was likely not going to be candidate, anyway. So, those declarations didn’t excite me much, but if it means more Latinos are going to show up or get involved, great!

But let’s look beyond the idiotic comments and pay attention to issues, like health care, education, jobs, economy, and yes, immigration. Who has real solutions, or which candidates can we as voters drive toward real solutions, rather than just the usual campaign talk? Thanks to Trump, folks are paying attention, so, campaigns need to talk issues rather than just point fingers at Trump and Republicans.

In the quest for higher turnout, Latinos won’t respond favorably to blame, though.

Here in Texas, no sooner did Leticia Van de Putte lose in her bid for Mayor of San Antonio, I started seeing rants from liberals and Dems blaming Latinos for the loss. It was a bit annoying, considering it was coming from folks who are part of the problem and who refuse to look inward for solutions.

My friend Joaquin Guerra from TOP penned an excellent op-ed. Here’s a bit of it:

If we’re not part of the plan to win or part of the engagement strategy, then, no, we’re not to blame for the fact that you came home and dinner wasn’t waiting for you on the table.

Stop taking us for granted.

Here are five tips for politicians, pundits, reporters, editorial boards and political consultants who are scratching their heads about what happened:

  • Respect: Stop implying that Latinos are too lazy and disinterested to vote..
  • Ask Latino voters what’s important to them.
  • Lean into economic and racial justice issues. Economics and race are at the core of some of our biggest problems.
  • Make Latinos part of the solution.
  • It’s not just about Latinos. We’re all in this together. It’s easy to look at voter data and say that Latinos don’t vote, but the reality is that Texans as a whole don’t, either.

Read the whole thing and not just the tips I took out of the article.

The bottom line is that Latino hires and token words by campaigns aren’t enough to excite Latino voters. And avoiding questions surely doesn’t help. And, it certainly doesn’t help when Latinos are used by supposedly liberal candidates as a piñata to gain a few right-wing votes, either.

Obviously,Trump’s Mexican attack was an attempt to gain votes in the GOP primary, and we’ll hear it from other Republicans, too. But, Dems do it as part of a continually losing strategy, too, if they get desperate enough. It needs to stop and Trump is just the tip of the iceberg.

So, let’s take Joaquin’s tips seriously. Seriously.

3rd Centavo: Acuña ~ Our Politicos Have Sold Us Out

Selling Public Space
The Chickens Will Come Home to Roost
By Rodolfo F. Acuña

On the one side is neoliberalism, with all its repressive power and its machinery of death; on the other side is the human being. There are those who resign themselves to being one more number in the huge exchange of power … But there are those who do not resign themselves … In any place in the world, anytime, any man or woman rebels to the point of tearing off the clothes resignation has woven for them and cynicism has died grey. Any man or woman, of whatever colour, in whatever tongue, speaks and says to himself or to herself: Enough is enough! Ya basta! — Subcomandante Marcos

acunaThe lambs have a problem hearing the sounds of the clarion because of a lack of long term memory. Because of this memory lapse, the Zapatistas January 1, 1994 revolt protesting the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) never sunk in. Perhaps the word neoliberal was too foreign to the lambs that had a difficult time comprehending that the word takes different forms.

News that University of California President Janet Napolitano began two days of meetings to Mexico about expanding academic and research cooperation with Mexican universities and scientific and cultural organizations has raised fears among many of us.

The U.S. War on Drugs has ravaged Mexico to the point that few U.S. students want to study there. As a consequence, about 40 out of 233,000 UC students study in Mexico each year, while about 1,900 Mexicans attended UC schools in 2013.

Ironically, Napolitano, the former secretary of Homeland Security, was involved in making U.S. drug policy; her visit coincides with that of Secretary of State John Kerry. According to the UC president this is part of the “UC’s many and varied partnerships, exchanges and collaborations with Mexico are integral to bettering lives on both sides of our national border … I’m here to ensure we grow that relationship by establishing our new project to enhance the mutual exchange of students, faculty and ideas across the border.”

For over 50 years, the Mexican American community has always encouraged exchange programs lobbying for programs with Mexico. However, many of us have come to realize that just studying in Mexico, or studying in the United States does not always have positive outcomes.

A Facebook friend, Vicente Ramírez says about these exchanges, “They’re [the UC and CSU] not going to recruit the working class–it’s a class war… They’re recruiting Mexico’s elite students so that they can then go back and apply neoliberal policies. All of Mexico’s secretaries of Economy (Secretario de Economía) and Finance (Secretario de Hacienda y Crédito Público) have gotten their Ph.D.’s from American universities since the mid-1980s. Mexico’s current Secretario de Hacienda, Luis Videgarray who successfully pushed for the privatization of PEMEX got his Ph.D. from MIT.” Ex-Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari, arguably the intellectual godfather of Mexican neoliberalism, received his MA and PhD in economics from Harvard.

Upon hearing about Napolitano’s Mexican junket UC Irvine Professor Rodolfo Torres wrote. “I read this morning that Janet Napolitano is in Mexico exploring academic and research cooperation with Mexican universities. Do you think there is a proactive role UC Chicano Studies and progressive Latin American Studies faculty can play to prevent this initiative from becoming a total market-driven and neoliberal project? My Dean (Social Ecology) also announced at a school-wide faculty meeting that she will be meeting with selected faculty to discuss this US-Mexico initiative.”

UC Professor Jorge Mariscal wrote on FB, “UC is recruiting the Mexican ruling class and a token number of working-class mexicanos/as who identify with the ruling class. This process will intensify in coming years as Napolitano struggles to erase her record as DHS/Deportation Czar. One (un)intended consequence will be the slow-motion strangulation of Chicano/a programs in the UC system that refuse to subordinate the local (albeit transnational) to the ‘global’.”

It should be made clear that this initiative is not about diversity or cultural enrichment. The recruitment is global and it is about profit. When the UC or CSU turns away students the for-profit university sector in both countries thrive.

Neoliberalism at its worse will recruit wealthy Mexican students to displace U.S. minority students charging them out of state and foreign student fees. Not too many if any working class Mexican students will be able to afford the tuition and dorm costs.

The current exchanges have had little scrutiny from progressives in this country. Mexico has set a goal of sending 100,000 Mexican students a year to the U.S. by 2018. In addition, the UC and CSU system have recruiters in China, the Middle East, Asia and the U.S.. Let’s be clear, large numbers of international students impact minorities and working class students many of whom have already been priced out of the market.

Today first year students from outside California comprise almost 30 percent of freshmen at UC Berkeley and UCLA, a growth of just over 10 percent in four years. The Mercury News reports, UC Berkley’s “revenue from out-of-state and international students has grown to about $160 million, about 7 percent of its annual operating budget and more than half of its state subsidy.”

Meanwhile, at UCLA just under 28 percent of the incoming freshmen are out of state students while just over 3 percent are African American. Inside Higher Ed writes that “The number of foreign and out-of-state students admitted to the University of California’s 10 campuses soared by 43 percent this year, while the overall number of would-be freshmen admitted from within the state’s borders grew by just 3.6 percent, the university system … Out-of-state and foreign students made up nearly one in five students admitted for next fall, 18,846 of a total of 80,289.”

In the meantime, the Cal State Universities are following the same neoliberal model. Pathetically desperate the CSU has embarked on a policy of growth. The problem is that it is shifting the cost of this growth almost exclusively to students who pay over three-quarters of instructional costs and almost a hundred percent of new construction.

This leads to an insidious policy that limits space for low income students and justifies higher fees and tuition. It gives students who are turned away no alternative but to go to for-profit universities. Recently, a scheme by the community colleges to enter into a contract with the University of Kaplan to offer classes online to community college students (at a substantial fee) was derailed because of public outcry. (Until recently Kaplan was a tutorial center mainly for foreign students).

Meanwhile, California politicos are encouraging an insidious policy of divide and conquer, pitting the Asian community against the Latino and other minority communities. This has led to some Asian American leaders thinking affirmative action will discriminate against them.

I use the phrase “The Chickens are Coming Home to Roost” because the commodification of public spaces has been occurring for some time. The Zapatista revolt should have been a wake up call; however, our elected officials have sold us out. They seem more concerned with photo ops and getting elected than they are in preserving public spaces.

I cannot remember a Latino elected official since the late Marco Firebaugh who was concerned with the state of Latinos in higher education. However, the lambs have to bear responsibility for not keeping the politicos in check and allowing themselves and their public spaces to be sold on the open market.

GIVE US YOUR RICH, SEND BACK THE POOR

Rodolfo Acuña, Ph.D., is an historian, professor emeritus, and one of various scholars of Chicano studies, which he teaches at California State University, Northridge. He is the author of Occupied America: A History of ChicanosDr. Acuña writes various opinions and essays on his Facebook page and allows sites to share his thoughts.