Rare Hispanic Politician Reaches Higher

January 19, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Hispanics — 58-million strong — are represented at all levels of American society, business, professions, street and homeless populations, criminal gangs, law enforcement, the military and a few in politics.

They are everywhere. They live in big cities, small towns and rural agricultural districts. Wherever they live, they provide manpower and energy that make economies hum, run and produce. They also own and man thousands of restaurants serving Americas favorite food, Mexican food. (https://www.statista.com/statistics/281028/us-households-consumption-of-mexican-food-and-ingredients/)

But few Hispanics are active in government and politics, especially high level politics. Around 6,100 Hispanics hold elected public office in the U.S. according to NALEO, the National Association of Latino Elected Officials. The 6,100 include water district and school board members up to and including governors and United States Senators. (http://www.naleo.org/at_a_glance)

The Hispanic vote’s base is 28 million registered Hispanic voters. Other than in New Mexico, the most Hispanic state, however, there are no huge concentrations of Hispanic voters except for a congressional district here and there. Three Hispanics are U.S. Senators and 28 are in the House of Representatives. At the local level, 2,322 serve on boards of education and 1,766n serve as elected municipal officials.

Considering though that it wasn’t too long ago the Mexican American citizens were not permitted to vote, serve on juries or hold government jobs in Texas (Hernandez v. Texas), for example, and Puerto Ricans on the island can’t vote in federal elections (but can on the mainland) the governors of New Mexico (Susana Martinez) and Nevada (Brian Sandoval) are Mexican Americans today. (https://www.oyez.org/cases/1940-1955/347us475)

A hundred years ago, New Mexico entered the United States and promptly elected a Mexican American Governor and U.S. Senator. Before that, California had elected Mexican American state legislators, a Mexican American state controller and Lt. Governor (who inherited the Governorship), the first Mexican American congressman who went on to be the first Mexican American – Hispanic – United States ambassador to several foreign countries.

All told, there might be 250 Hispanic state legislators throughout the country; there are Hispanic congress people including three U.S. Senators, Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) and 28 congress people.

Of course, there are some Hispanic Presidentially-appointed cabinet officers in the succession line for President have and are serving with the highest ranking Hispanic government officer ever being President Bush’s Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, 5th in Presidential succession. Nonetheless, until recent years, few Hispanics have ever jumped off the newspaper front page as a politician of real consequence (Rubio and Governors Sandoval (R-NV) and Martinez (R-New Mexico, have, of course).

A Puerto Rican born, Mormon raised and educated (Brigham Young University) small town immigration lawyer from Idaho (Idaho?) surprised the political world when he defeated a popular candidate for congress in 2010 as a Tea Party supported Republican.

Raul L. Labrador, Esq., is his name.

He surprised the political world again when he announced his candidacy for the Congress’ and Republican Party’s Majority Leader of the House, a job vacated by primary-defeated Eric Cantor. Kevin McCarthy won the job; California Congressman Kevin McCarthy, is perhaps the most popular congressman in the Republican House.

Labrador lost because there is no conservative cabal large enough to beat the Establishment in its own house. For 228 years, Congress— which respects length of service, seniority more than any other institution in the Republic, Congress is spelled E-S-T-A-B-L-I-S-H-M-E-N-T.

Certainly, back-bencher Steve King (R-Iowa) and 39 Southern and other ultra-right congressman (the kind that used to keep Blacks and Hispanics from voting) cabal of Neanderthal congress people will complain and continue to be congressional pests without one of their own in the House leadership, but it won’t matter much.

McCarthy is critical for immigration reform; 30% of his Bakersfield, California district is Mexican American and they have helped elect him to the California state legislature and to Congress.

Labrador has made contributions by being an honest challenger to the Establishment; he did not burn his political bridges when he lost the Majority Leader race. As long as he stays cool and ignores Iowa’s King and his Loony Tunes friends, Hispanic Raul L. Labrador has a future outside Congress; his future is being elected Idaho’s next governor. He is one of the many Republicans in the House that are retiring or running for higher office in this 2018 midterm.

The difference that sets Labrador aside, is he’s Hispanic, a Hispanic Republican with solid conservative credentials.

Labrador stands an excellent chance of being elected. With the departure of term-limited Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, the role of role model Hispanic male governor will be filled well by my namesake “Raul” Labrador of Idaho.


Raoul Lowery Contreras is the author of “The Armenian Lobby & U.S. Foreign Policy, (Berkeley Press 2017) and “The Mexican Border: Immigration, War and a Trillion Dollars In Trade” (Floricanto Press 2016); he formerly wrote for the New American News Service of the New York Times.

Can Republicans Survive?

November 2, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The Republican Party today is not the same as when it won with President George W. Bush. In Texas, 50 percent of Hispanics voted for George W. Bush for governor and between 35 and 44 percent of U.S. Hispanics voted for him in 2000 and 2004 for President. In 2004, 80 percent of Evangelical Hispanics voted Bush, according to a report by Pew Hispanic.

The Hispanic vote for the GOP nominee in 2008 was 31 percent, in 2012 about 26 percent, less in 2016; in fact, the 2016 Hispanic Presidential Vote may be a record low 20 percent based on actual vote counts in Florida, Texas and Wisconsin.

My views on the GOP and Hispanics started over 50 years ago when the late Rear Admiral Leslie E. Gehres (USN ret.) was County Republican Chairman in 1962. That is when I became active in the GOP.

Being 21 and a Gung Ho “Young Republican” I became a “gofer” for the Admiral and behind-the-scene money men/women of the county GOP. Those were heady days for a young political junkie.

At a County Committee meeting, I asked the Admiral to appoint me a County Committee “Associate Member.” He looked at me and asked: “Why?” I said, “Admiral, look around, I’m the only person here that looks like me.”

“No,” he said, “your people don’t vote.

I went on that year (1962) to serve as co-chairman of a statewide Richard Nixon for Governor committee, served on three legislative campaign committees, the Sheriff’s committee and was hired by a two-year-old Los Angeles campaign management firm, Spencer-Roberts to campaign for United States Senator Tom Kuchel. My job: Under direction, to run the campaign in California’s then third largest county.

Stu Spencer and Bill Roberts made Ronald Reagan governor four years later and President in 1980. I was in good company.

This WWII-famous admiral never imagined that San Diego County and California would be 40 percent or more Hispanic and that Hispanics would deliver million-plus-vote pluralities against Republicans Presidential candidates. I did, and I told everyone at the time. They didn’t listen. They didn’t want to listen.

Fast forward to the other night at a beautiful hillside house overlooking the Pacific Ocean. 150 people showed up to a $500-a-couple fundraiser to help Hispanic Republicans run for office in California. Most were Anglos. Two mayors, two district attorneys, one sheriff: “Big” money people, elected state and local officials, and famous people like diet-Guru Jenny Craig.

The GOP County Chairman? I didn’t see him.

The fundraiser was organized to help “Grow Elect.” It is directed by former Northern California County Supervisor, Assistant to President George W. Bush and immediate past President of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce –Hispanic Ruben Barrales. Moishe Moreno and non-Hispanic Kevin Spillane work with him.

They school Hispanic Republicans to run for elective office from water districts up to and including the state legislature. They help with voter materials, strategy and money. Money raised at events like this one in San Diego.

For example, a Hispanic immigration attorney single mother raised in poverty by immigrant Mexicans parents decided to run for her school board. She had no idea how to run. She connected with Grow Elect. They advised her, and they designed, printed and mailed political pieces to her voters. She won, the first Hispanic to win election in mostly Anglo Coronado, California (Hispanic 14 percent). She won with 67 percent of the vote a year ago

Esther Valdes electrified the crowd with a fiery speech that rocked the mostly Anglo audience. They liked her.

She is one of almost 200 Hispanic Republicans who have won offices throughout California in four or so years with Grow Elect help.

The GOP hierarchy is still thinking like 1960s Republicans who criticized this writer for what they perceived as a “chip on the shoulder.” They didn’t listen to my message.

Bring Hispanics in or lose!

Some, not all, are listening now, now that California Republican registration is only 25 percent and shrinking. Independents will soon outnumber Republicans in California.

The ultra-mainstream New Majority Republicans of San Diego County have joined up by delivering a check for $25,000 to add to the same amount raised at the beautiful house overlooking the ocean.

The fundraiser was in progress when the California Republican Party announced that former Trump Senior Advisor, a “Nationalist” anti-immigrant, “America First” Steve Bannon would speak at the State Party meeting. He had “declared war” on the people who were at this event.

Former Bush Administration official Peter Wehner – new to my fifty year-long struggles – in the New York Times: “…there’s really no choice about challenging the blood-and-soil nationalists. If they were to triumph — if the tribalistic, angry, anti-government wing of the party turns out to be the vanguard rather than an ugly and unfortunate parenthesis — then the Republican Party would collapse intellectually and morally, and a lot of lifelong Republicans would head for the exits.”

Which Republicans will win this epic struggle?

Answer: we don’t know; but Grow Elect is doing what should have been done 50 years ago. It is building towards a diversified Republican Party with educated business and professional Hispanics not Steve Bannon.

Raoul Lowery Contreras is the author of “The Armenian Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” (Berkeley Press, 2017) and “The Mexican Border: Immigration, War and a Trillion Dollars in Trade” (Floricanto Press); he formerly wrote for the New York Times’ New America News Service.

One Hispanic American and the Star-Spangled Banner

September 28, 2017 by · 1 Comment 

Justice Robert Jackson’s opinion in one of the most famous Supreme Court decisions, 1943’s (West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette):

“To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous, instead of a compulsory routine, is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds.”

Fast forward to Sunday, September 24, 2017, one U.S. Army veteran, Hispanic American (former Capt. Of Army Rangers) 29-year-old Alejandro Villanueva became an instant hero to many Americans – football fans and otherwise.

Certainly, he has become a hero to the President of the United States as Villanueva is a living, breathing patriotic American not just because he served three tours in Afghanistan during the years he was required to serve in the Army after he graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, but because he rejected the suggestion from his boss, Mike Tomlin, the Black coach of the NFL Pittsburg Steelers who “suggested all team members” present themselves as a team in Sunday’s league wide protest after being called “sons of bitches” by the U. S. President.

Is Villanueva the embodiment of a failed U.S. Army promotion of “An Army of One” that flunked the marketing test to the far better and brilliant U.S. Marine Corps marketing ads? Is he really an Army of One? He was on Sunday.

Aside: Never in its marketing history has the United States Marine Corps objected to a Navy or Army advertising campaign; on the other hand, the United States Army complained to the Department of Defense that the eye and ear catching “I didn’t promise you a rose garden” Marine television recruiting ads made the Army look bad. Thus, “an Army of one” was born.

Since television cameras caught Villanueva standing off the field at the tunnel entrance from which players come on to the field, he has apologized for “throwing his teammates under the bus” by embarrassing them with his solo attention to the Star Spangle Banner.

He shouldn’t apologize. He signed a $24 million-dollar contract offered to him because he has developed into a fine offensive tackle. Neither should his teammates be embarrassed either. The reacted to what they think is an insult by the President and they did so in a manner fitting, take a knee on national television’ they were insulted on national television so their pushback had to be on national television.

The fact that some of the team owners either spoke out against President Trump or participated in the actual demonstration of team pushback is interesting. Though some of the owners popped for millions of dollars to support Trump or his inauguration, we should not forget that none of them like Donald Trump enough to even allow him to bid for ownership of the NFL Buffalo Bills. Moreover, some of the owners were NFL defendants against Donald Trump’s anti-trust law suit against the NFL that he and his fellow Trump professional football league’s that they won but were only awarded One dollar trebled to one dollar plus three for damages. The United States Football League (USFL) died, many people blame Trump and his law suit for the league’s demise.

So, the President insulted black players that dominate the league’s rosters and gave owners a chance to pay him back for insulting them years ago. It seems like NFL owners and President Trump share one “quality” i.e. NFL owners have very long memories.

Now that almost every NFL player has manifested an imaginary middle index finger at the President, how long will they remember being called “sons of bitches” and that they be fired for being good Americans and protesting like good Americans, peacefully as prescribed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Good thing the owners are not firing the “sons of bitches” for “taking a knee” – for Alejandro Villanueva, the 29-year-old for Army combat soldier and son of a Spanish naval officer starting offensive tackle for play-off regular Pittsburg Steelers would have a hard time playing against a team by himself.

Six-foot ten inches tall, 300-pound Alejandro Villanueva would not be enough in a game with another team. Standing at the tunnel entrance on Sunday by himself at attention during the playing of the national anthem, however, is a different story. Standing with him, I believe, was every Hispanic American that has ever served in the American military, I least I did.

Contreras is the author of “The Armenian Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” (Berkeley Press, 2017) and “The Mexican Border: Immigration, War and a Trillion Dollars in Trade” (Floricanto Press, 2016); he formerly wrote for the New York Times’ New America News Service.


Wacky Band of Misfits in the White House

August 3, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

With the dumping of Chief of Staff Reince Preibus, Donald Trump has done what the lifelong Democrat set out to do with his run for the Presidency—Trump has divorced himself from the Republican Party; the “Republican President” has fired the semi-official Republican Party from the White House.

Preibus came to the White House after the longest service as Republican National Chairman who set fund raising records and handed over to the Trump campaign millions of dollars, a profoundly effective data/digital organization and experienced people, few of whom Trump had in his organization. He brought a number of GOP professionals with him. The Republican Party – apart from the Congressional GOP – was well represented in the new Trump Administration.

While Trump diehards detest the official Republican Party as do a band of conservatives in the House of Representatives, they all owe their very existence to the official GOP. Neither Trump or his daughter or son-in-law know enough people to fill thousands of appointive federal government jobs.

EDITORIAL CARTOON The Dream Team? Scaramucci lost more than just his cool. Unfortunately for him, he just lost his place on the dream team. By Khalil Bendib

The Dream Team? Scaramucci lost more than just his cool. Unfortunately for him, he just lost his place on the dream team. By Khalil Bendib

In other words, the GOP “Establishment” is what makes an administration work; thousands of local, state and federal office holders who govern everyday are the team the GOP has working 24/7. The GOP “Establishment” has been around since Abraham Lincoln was nominated for the Presidency in 1860 and his victory over two Democrats that did the country a favor by splitting Democrat pro-slavery votes.

As much as Trump and his base supporters hate the “Establishment” and its backbone, what Trump followers call “RINOS,” he cannot succeed as President without it. Throwing them out of the White House sets up the Administration for failure. Example: the healthcare disaster that has bogged down the entire government.

Trump base supporters pride themselves in hurling their pejorative “RINO” – Republican in Name Only – at any Establishment people whom they define as anyone who wasn’t tooting Trump’s horn and wears a baseball cap imprinted with “Make America Great Again.” If you weren’t for Trump running in and winning the Republican Primary from the very first day of the campaign, you were the enemy RINO.

The real RINOs aren’t the Reince Preibuses of the world, they are Donald Trump and his base supporters. Let us recall that Trump’s own children couldn’t vote in the New York primary for their father. They were not registered Republicans. Daughter Ivanka and her slumlord husband, both in the White House, couldn’t vote for Trump in the Republican Primary.

The same is true of many Trump voters in the states that elected him – Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio. Blue collar Democrats elected him by fewer than 79,000 votes. Trump lost my congressional district by thousands of votes and almost dragged my Republican congressman, Darrell Issa, down with him. That despite more Republicans voting for Issa than ever have in almost twenty years in the House.

What we see is the “Republican” Jimmy Carter in the White House, at least through the first 6 months. That is not the fault of Reince Preibus who as chief-of-staff did not have the power to run things as chiefs usually do. So he is gone. Here enters Lt. General John Kelly (USMC ret.) who has been secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

He has spent the past six months implementing Trump’s views on crime and immigration. Trump truly believes in an immigrant crime wave and stays awake at night sweating about immigrant “criminals,” “rapists,” and not “the best” of Mexicans Trump states the Mexican government is ordering to come to the U.S. FBI statistical data show crime has fallen over the past 20 years especially in areas heavy with immigrants from south of the Rio Grande.

Newly sworn-in Chief of Staff John Kelly is far better grounded in reality than President Trump; he is, perhaps, as described by the National Review’s Jim Geraghty — Kelly is the right man to save the sinking Trump Administration because he is the “hard-nosed military disciplinarian who’s brought in to coach a wacky band of White House misfits.”

Can Lt. General John F. Kelly (USMC ret.) save the Trump Administration from itself and the White House’s “wacky band of misfits” up to and including the President?  We’ll just have to see.


Contreras is the Author of “The Armenian Lobby & U.S. Foreign Policy” (Berkeley Press 2017) and “The Mexican Border: Immigration, War and a Trillion Dollars in Trade” (Floricanto Press 2016), and he formerly wrote for the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.





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