The Worst Thing That Could Come Out of the Election: ‘Latinos Didn’t Vote’

October 27, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

For more than thirty-five years, we at EGP have been driven to nearly pulling our hair out when we hear politicians and the media say, “Latinos don’t vote.”

This election cycle, many political observers, statisticians and pollsters have pointed out that Latinos can play a major role as decision makers, not only in California, but throughout the U.S. Their population numbers and the numbers of Latinos registered voters are large enough to merit substantial influence in the Presidential Election and down ballot races for candidates and on ballot measures.

Over the last few days, however, we are again hearing rumblings that Latino voters may not turn out in states where they believe Hillary Clinton has already clinched the election. If true, this is very bad news.

On Wednesday, according to the polls, the race for president in Florida has tightened, and GOP nominee Donald Trump is leading Clinton by 2 percentage points.

Our point is that the election is not over until the last vote is counted and so it just isn’t smart for voters to skip voting.

That’s doubly true for Latinos who have been under attack by Trump during this election, and now have the opportunity to flex their muscles at the ballot box.

If politicians believe Latinos will not stand up and show up at the ballot box, and   Latinos prove them right, they’ll believe they have no reason to fear continuing to ignore and disenfranchise this large segment of the population.

Latinos finally have an opportunity to show that they can and will swing an election and must turn out in large numbers to prove the point.

It’s nail-biting time here at EGP as we look towards November 8.

On November 9, let’s make sure we don’t hear those dreaded words: “Latinos didn’t vote.”

Democrats Making Few Gains Among Latinos, Survey Finds

October 13, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Despite Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s more than yearlong bombardment of offensive remarks against Mexican immigrants—in which he called them rapists, thieves and killers and promised mass deportations—overall views of the Republican and Democratic parties among Hispanics have not changed much since 2012, according to a survey released Oct. 11 by the Pew Research Center.

Almost half of registered Latino voters surveyed, 54%, continue to consider the Democratic Party as more concerned with their needs than the Republican Party. Only 11% of those surveyed said Republicans are more concerned, while 28% said there is no difference between the political parties.

The numbers are not much different than they were four years ago when Democrats held a similar edge, when by a 61% to 10% margin Latino voters said they viewed Democrats as more concerned about Latinos.

The lack of movement is surprising considering that 75% of registered voters surveyed said they had discussed Trump’s negative comments about Hispanics or other groups with family, friends or coworkers.

“Among Hispanic registered voters who have discussed Trump’s comments, 74% say they have given ‘quite a lot’ of thought to the presidential election and 74% say they are ‘absolutely certain’ they will vote,” according to the Pew survey.

About 6 in 10 registered Latino voters favor Clinton (58%) over Trump (19%); 10% favor Libertarian Gary Johnson and 6% favor Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Democrats were doing better at this stage of the 2012 race between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, with Obama ultimately winning 71% of the Latino vote.

Clinton is not doing as well as Obama among Latino Millennials (those ages 18 to 35 in 2016), reports Pew Research. Millennials will make up nearly half of the record 27.3 million eligible Latino voters, but at 48%, their support of Clinton lags behind older Latinos (36 and older) whose support for Clinton stands at about 66%, and 21% for Trump.

About two-thirds (64%) of Latino Millennials who back Clinton describe their support as more a vote against Trump than a vote for Clinton. By contrast, 65% of older Clinton supporters say their support is more of a vote for her than a vote against Trump.

The big question, according to the survey results, is whether Latinos will turnout to vote given that their voter turnout numbers have long trailed those of other groups.

In 2012, 77%of registered Latinos voters said they were “absolutely certain” they would vote, that number has dropped to 66% for the upcoming November election. The sharpest decline is among Latino Millennials, with 62% saying they are certain they will vote compared with 74% who said the same four years ago.

Democratic political strategies worry that the lack of passion for Clinton’s candidacy could result in Latino Millennials failing to show up at the polls, which could prove problematic in swing states where Trump supporters continue to enthusiastically support his candidacy despite a barrage of news reports detailing allegations of boorish and inappropriate behavior toward women.

 

Latinos at the Ballot Box

October 6, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

When Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump kicked off his campaign by calling Mexicans rapists and drug dealers, Latinos were propelled into the forefront of political rhetoric that sought to marginalize their importance and value to the country or on the flip side motivated multiple campaigns to get the Latinos to the ballot box.

Click here to read Part 1 of Latino Factor: Changing the Face of Politics

The power of the Latino vote in recent years has been touted as a possible game changer in national elections, with both Democrats and Republicans citing the importance of their vote in Barack Obama’s winning of the presidency 8 years ago.

Efforts to get Latino permanent residents to become citizens so they can vote in November were significantly ramped up, as were the campaigns to get eligible, but unregistered voters signed up.

On Monday, a handful of registered voters showed up to a Voting Basics workshop in Commerce to become more informed before heading to vote Nov. 8. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

On Monday, a handful of registered voters showed up to a Voting Basics workshop in Commerce to become more informed before heading to vote Nov. 8. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Of the 27 million Latinos eligible to vote, more than 13 million are expected to head to the polls this November, according to the Pew Research Center.

For this two-part series, EGP spoke to a number of Latino elected officials from California about the history, power and influence of Latinos in the political arena. They described the struggles and discrimination faced by Latinos both in the past and the present. While they acknowledge there has been progress – such as the number of “political firsts” that includes Latinos leading both of California’s legislative bodies, more Latinos now serving on powerful congressional committees, in the president’s cabinet and in other leadership roles – all agreed there is still a long way to go to solidify Latino political strength.

They also discussed the evolution of what it means to be a Latino candidate, or worthy of Latino support.

In California, the U.S. Senate race between U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez and State Attorney General Kamala Harris in many ways highlights those changes.

The election has potential for its own “first.” If elected, Sanchez would be the first Latina to ever serve as a U.S. Senator: Harris would be California’s first African-American woman and first Asian-American woman in the U.S. Senate.

Part two of this series takes a closer look at what’s at stake for Latinos on Election Day and what it means for a Latinos to run for office.

 

The Latino Voice

The polarizing Presidential Election that polls still show is to close to call, has driven dozens of nonprofit and civil rights groups to launch outreach campaigns to register eligible Latino voters and encourage them to head to the polls next month.

According to a Pew Research Center report, Latinos are about 15 percent or more of the electorate in Florida, Nevada and Colorado, all key battleground states. In November, Latinos are projected to make up a record 27 million or 11.9 percent of all eligible U.S. voters, according to the report.

While the numbers are growing, the voter turnout among Latinos has not been as impressive. Despite a record 11.2 million Latinos casting their vote in 2012, it represented less than half of all the Latinos eligible to vote.

“Yes, Latinos can determine the election, we have the numbers,” acknowledged U.S. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard. “My fear is [they] don’t show up to the ballot box.”

In contrast, African-Americans and White voters are more likely to turnout. In 2012, 64 percent of White and 66.6 percent of African-Americans eligible voters cast votes.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla is partnering with colleges and universities and other organizations across the state to encourage voter registration. He says the importance of voting is often instilled when parents take their children to the polls, an experience unfamiliar to many Latino immigrants.

“My parents never took me to vote, it wasn’t our experience,” he told EGP. “Far too many families don’t have that tradition.”

Because nearly half of eligible Latino voters are between the ages of 18 and 35, a group already on its own less likely to vote, special attention has been focused on targeting Latino millennials. The nonprofit Voto Latino aims to empower Latino millennials through civic engagement and reports it has registered over 101,000 Latinos. The next battle will be to get them out on election day.

“This election is very important” to Latinos, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis told EGP. Especially “when you hear Donald Trump say these things,” says the daughter of immigrants, referring to his comments disparaging women, immigrants, specifically Mexicans.

The former labor secretary has been campaigning for Democratic presidential nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, calling her a “good alternative for our community.”

“I believe she has a good record representing our community and I believe she will appoint Latinos to her cabinet,” Solis said.

Roybal-Allard tells EGP she often hears Latinos say “para que” (what’s the point) when it comes to voting, but hopes this election they consider the consequences.

“If they stay at home that’s like voting for Trump,” she said.

According to the Pew Research Center, a major factor in who voters support is their dislike for a candidate’s opponent.

Sanchez told EGP no matter whom they vote for, Latinos need to care about being represented at the polls.

“When our community doesn’t vote we give away our vote to the people who are voting,” she said.

 

Being Latino Is Important, But Not Everything

As EGP reported in part one of this series, in years past when there were few Latinos in elected office, being Latino was often the most important qualification for getting the Latino vote. The belief was that a Latino candidate would have a more comprehensive grasp and sensitivity to the issues and positions important to Latinos.

It was once unheard of for a Latino politician to endorse a non-Latino over a Latino in the same party, but the race between Sanchez and Harris is an example of how things have changed as more Latinos are elected to office.

For most, the fact that Sanchez is Latina is a factor, but by no means the biggest reason behind their endorsement.

“She’s a hard worker, dedicated and knowledgeable,” says Roybal-Allard, who has worked with Sanchez for nearly two decades. “I have seen first hand her commitment not just to Latinos but to our country.”

Roybal-Allard tells EGP she also endorsed Sanchez to ensure someone on the Senate would be sensitive to the needs of Southern California.

“The fact that she’s Latina is the cherry on top.”

Sanchez herself admits sometimes you don’t always want the Latino.

“Look at the presidential race, I was not going to vote for Ted Cruz.”

Instead, Sanchez asks that voters look at her resume, noting that during her 20 years in Congress she has served on the Committee on Armed Services and Committee on Homeland Security. She voted against the War in Iraq and supports immigration reform, and has been a supporter of small business.

“I know the issues, my opponent doesn’t have the experience” to get to work right away, says Sanchez, who has earned the endorsement of many of her colleagues in the House. “If we have a qualified Latina candidate and don’t choose the Latina then when the heck are we going to get one?”

The growing number of Latinos in office is what has perhaps made the shift in perspective possible.

“You want to have quality, good leadership,” points out Solis, who endorses Harris. She said Harris is on the right side of issues important to California Latinos. “I know some non-Latinos who fight for our rights.”

“We’ve evolved beyond looking at the color of our skin and instead focus on what a person brings,” she adds.

Other prominent Latino leaders including Sen. Pro Tem Kevin De Leon and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon joined Solis in endorsing Harris, despite many expecting them to back the Latina with congressional experience.

Roybal-Allard told EGP this came as a surprise to her.

“It could be a lack of understanding to what it takes to be a member of congress,” she said. “There are different set of rules and Loretta [Sanchez] is someone that would hit the ground running,” the congresswoman said, noting the importance placed on seniority and established replacements.

Sanchez told EGP she thinks those who didn’t endorse her despite her qualifications were likely influenced by Northern politics in Sacramento.

It’s not about being Latina per se,” says Sanchez. “In this case I’m the qualified one with the experience.”

Endorsements in the race also show immigration is not the only issue important to Latinos.

Hector Barreto, president of the Hispanic Business Roundtable Institute, told EGP the group endorsed Sanchez because they have worked with the congresswoman for decades.

“Loretta [Sanchez] has always been passionate about helping small businesses,” he said. “It was a very easy decision,” he added.

The group tends to lean center right endorsing conservative candidates like Sen. John McCain and Sen. Marco Rubio this election.

Barreto said the group is concerned Harris will double down on efforts that hurt already struggling Latino-owned businesses by supporting more taxes and raising health care costs. There are 4 million Latino-owned businesses across the country, generating $700 billion in revenue each year, according to the Hispanic Business Roundtable Institute.

Sanchez on the other hand has been a champion in congress by fighting to get more federal contracts for small businesses and helping them have access to capital, said Barreto.

“If we can support a Hispanic candidate we will, but we don’t support a candidate [just because] they’re Hispanic.”

For those unsure of whom to vote for, Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia hopes they ultimately mark the box next to Sanchez’ name.

“We did our research, our part to get this member on the ballot, she’s the qualified one,” Garcia said.

Congressman Xavier Becerra told EGP he chose not to endorse in the race and is instead concentrating on supporting Latinos running for seats in the House of Representatives. He told EGP he is happy to see there isn’t an absence of Latino candidates, and points out that in some races there is more than one Latino on the ballot.

“No doubt, when I hear a Latino is running I take an interest,” he said.

Solis predicts Latinos will have another bite at the apple when U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein retires.

Some political observers have speculated that deals were made early that a Latino would get Democrats support when Feinstein leaves office.

Meanwhile, Padilla told EGP he’s not endorsing in the race but says the U.S. Senate race is a reflection of the diversity of the state.

“Whether it’s the U.S. Senate this year or California Governor next year, I’m pretty sure there won’t be any state election without a strong viable Latino running for office.”

 

High Expectations for Latino Vote

June 30, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Following the “disappointing” U.S. Supreme Court’s announcement that it was divided 4-4 and therefore a lower case decision blocking President Obama’s plan to expand the relief from deportation to the undocumented parents of U.S. born citizens and permanent residents will stand, activists say the future of immigration reform could now depend on the Latino vote.

If judges had overturned the Fifth Circuit’s decision in U.S, v. Texas, as many as 4 million undocumented immigrants would have been shielded from deportation and allowed to obtain work permits under Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs announced in November 2014.

Lea este artículo en Español: Hay Altas Expetativas en el Voto Latino

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has said she supports Obama’s immigration programs, while Donald Trump, the GOP’s presumptive nominee, says he will deport all undocumented immigrants if elected president.

Latinos are the second fastest growing group in the U.S. and according to political analysts, Trump needs to get 47% of the Latino vote if he hopes to win the White House in November.

In California, nearly one in every four registered voters (24%) is Latino. There are also 1.5 million legal permanent residents who are Latino and eligible to become citizens, but have not yet started the process, which among other benefits would give them the right to vote, something immigration rights activists are counting on.

Araceli Quijada, 54, has been a legal permanent resident for 36 years. The Boyle Heights resident says health issues and lack of time have kept her from applying for citizenship, but “I hope to do it this year,” she told EGP in Spanish.

Maria Montoya said she hasn't become a U.S. citizen out of fear. (Claudia Carrasco)

Maria Montoya said she hasn’t become a U.S. citizen out of fear. (Claudia Carrasco)

83-year old Maria Montoya has been a legal permanent resident for 15 years and says she fears the citizenship process. “At my age, it is difficult to learn the questionnaire in English,” she told EGP in Spanish.

Told twice —by nonprofit Hermandad Mexicana and a lawyer—that she had to take the written and oral tests in English, she decided not to apply, noting that it’s hard to find the right kind of help for someone of her age.

A recent analysis by the Willian C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI) showed “anemic growth” of Spanish Surname voters in California.

The analysis, using information from Political Data, Inc, showed a 3.1% increase – from 4.11 million to 4.24 million – in Spanish Surname voters between April 2015 and June 2016.

The numbers show the trends in Latino participation, WCVI President Antonio Gonzalez told EGP, explaining the increase in “net new voters.”

“Many more new Spanish Surname voters are registered to vote but they are not in that ‘net total’ either because they moved and didn’t re-register, left the state or passed away, shrinking the number of California Spanish Surname registered voters prior to the June 7 Primary Election, he said.

However, NALEO Educational Fund Spokesperson, Paula Valle told EGP the number of new Latino voters may be higher, adding they expect more than 3,839,000 Latinos in California to vote in the November Presidential Election.

“This would mark a 22 percent increase in Latino turnout in the state from Election 2012, and a 12 percent increase in the Latino share of the vote in the state from Election 2012,” she said.
Both agree a bigger effort to mobilize the Latino vote in California is needed.

“… Scant resources have found their way to Latino registration groups early in the election cycle despite promises from national funding sources as well as parties and candidates,” opined Gonzalez. He said increases in overall voter registration “was likely among non-Latinos and/or reflected lots of re-registrations of those who had moved.”

Of the total projected number of eligible Latino voters in the U.S. in 2016, about 44% or 27.3 million are millennials, between the ages of 18 and 34, according to the Pew Research Center.
“Eligible voting age unregistered Latinos will usually register to vote if they are directly contacted,” but they won’t register if they do not feel a connection to the political/electoral process, explained Gonzalez about the unmet voting potential.

Pro-immigrant activists hope that Latino Vote can change the future of immigration reform. (CHIRLA)

Pro-immigrant activists hope that Latino Vote can change the future of immigration reform. (CHIRLA)

Organizations are not focusing exclusively on Latinos and are spending more time on voter education than actual voter registration, Gonzalez told EGP, adding that they are exaggerating their success to please donors.

Research conducted by the National Immigration Forum found that 91% of legal permanent residents want to become U.S. citizens, but 61% have never received information about the process.

The New Americans Campaign—a coalition of several nonprofits that assist in the naturalization process—helps to bridge that information gap and show legal permanent residents that becoming a citizen isn’t as expensive or as difficult as they think, Communications Associate Meredith Brandt told EGP.

Becoming a U.S. citizen brings it’s own benefits, including the right to vote, she pointed out.

“This right gives immigrant communities the power to voice their priorities on all issues that affect their families and their communities,” she said.

32-year old Claudia Carrasco, a permanent resident for 14 years, told EGP she’s lately become more interested in becoming a citizen.

“I’m still shocked that even with [Trump’s] racist remarks and bigoted comments towards all minorities, he was chosen as the republican nominee” for president, she told EGP.

Carrasco won’t be able to vote in November but says she plans to campaign for the Democratic ticket. She agrees that Latinos who don’t speak English need more information about the importance of citizenship and voting.

Gonzalez says he hopes WCVI’s study will help give community leaders the information they need to address California’s problem of slow growth in Latino voter registration.

The number crunchers say Latinos are cynical about voting because they don’t see anything being done to counter attacks against them, said Gonzalez. “Maybe we are…but is the response to that really going to be nothing? We hope not, because between our size and the number of growing eligible voters, the power to change this is already ours.”

 

For more information about how to become a citizen visit:

The New Americans Campaign

NALEO or call its toll-free bilingual hotline (888) 839-8682

—-

Twitter @jackiereporter

jgarcia@egpnews.com

Hillary Clinton Brings Campaign to Los Angeles

May 6, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton brought her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination to Los Angeles Thursday, attending fundraisers and courting black and Latino voters by vowing to raise the national minimum wage and create jobs.

Clinton met with local black leaders during a stop at the California African American Museum in Exposition Park, where she touted her lead over her competitor, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

“I am 3 million-plus votes ahead of Senator Sanders, right?” Clinton told the crowd. “I am nearly 300 pledged delegates ahead of Senator Sanders.”

Among those in the crowd at the event were Reps. Maxine Waters and Karen Bass, both D-Los Angeles, and Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson.

Later in the day, she attended a boisterous rally at East Los Angeles College, where she again derided presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump as a “loose cannon” and a “risk we cannot afford.”

“Now as president, creating good jobs and raising income will be my number-one priority,” she said. “And we will follow the lead of California and raise the minimum wage.”

Clinton also vowed to guarantee equal pay for women.

“And we’re also going to follow California’s lead and make sure we have paid family leave for working families,” she said. “I will do everything I can to make the economy work for everybody, to help more people lift themselves out of poverty, lift themselves into the middle class and go as far as their hard work and talents will take them.”

Hillary Clinton supporters waited in line for hours to see her at East LA Community College. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

Hillary Clinton supporters waited in line for hours to see her at East LA Community College. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

At least two other presidential candidates have spoken at East Los Angeles College and gone on to be elected—John F. Kennedy in 1960 and Clinton’s husband, Bill, in 1992, according to Maria Iacobo of the Los Angeles Community College District.

Members of Union del Barrio, MEXA of East Los Angeles College, LA Brown Berets and several other student and community-based organizations held a march through Monterey Park to East Los Angeles College to protest what organizers called Clinton’s attacks on working-class communities of color and her 2002 vote as a senator in favor of the resolution authorizing military action against Iraq.

“This event is to let Hillary know that she is not welcomed in Los Angeles and to raise community awareness of what she really represents. We will let the community know that either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton would make terrible presidents,” said organizer Ron Gochez.

People gathered outside of the ELAC auditorium to protest against Hillary Clinton. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

People gathered outside of the ELAC auditorium to protest against Hillary Clinton. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

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(EGP photo by jacqueline García)

“This action is strictly to protest against Hillary Clinton and not in support of any party and/or candidates.”

There was no response to an email sent Wednesday night to the Clinton campaign seeking comment.

Ninio Fetalvo, spokesman for the Republican National Committee, said Clinton is faltering in her effort to win over Latino voters.

“Hillary Clinton is scrambling to win a nomination she should have locked down months ago,” he said. “Worse, the more Bernie Sanders campaigns in California, the more it looks like he will once again turn Clinton’s false Latino firewall claim on its head.”

Clinton also attended a series of fundraisers, including one at the home of City Councilman Jose Huizar, who called himself a long-time Clinton supporter.

“Hillary Clinton is by far the most qualified candidate for U.S. president who brings with her a wealth of experience, toughness, tenacity and compassion,” he said.

Tickets for the event were $2,700, the maximum individual contribution under federal law to a candidate seeking a party’s presidential nomination, according to Political Party Time, a website that tracks political fundraisers.

Both Sanders and Trump held rallies in Charleston, West Virginia, Thursday, five days before its primary.

Clinton’s Southland swing came amid news that several of her aides—including Abedin—have been interviewed by the FBI as part of an investigation into whether classified information was mishandled by Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state. Clinton has denied any wrongdoing and said she would cooperate with federal investigators.

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, called the FBI interviews evidence of “gross negligence” by Clinton, saying her use of a private email server was a “reckless attempt to skirt government transparency laws” that “put our national security at risk.”

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