Latino Vote: As elections near, advocates urge Latinos to make their voices heard

With less than a month to go before the presidential elections, advocacy groups are urging Latino voters to make their voices heard at the polls.

On Thursday, Janet Munguia, the president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza – the largest Hispanic advocacy and civil rights group in the country – will speak at East Austin College Prep about the lack of political outreach to Latino voters.

Later in the month, the local chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) will hold a “Get out the Latino Vote” breakfast at Angie’s Restaurant on 1307 E. Seventh Street. That event, on Oct. 21 at 8:30 a.m., will be attended by Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir, who will inform prospective voters on what documents they will need to present to vote in November.

Several Austin business owners launched a ‘Guac the Vote’ campaign this month to use the ubiquitous taco trucks in the city as voter registration locations.

The General Consulate of Mexico in Austin has also been hosting citizenship drives this year to engage Mexicans in the United States who qualify for citizenship in the American electoral process.

Carlos González Gutiérrez, the consul general of Mexico in Austin, has said in the past: “We will aggressively ask people to exercise their rights and the possibilities they acquire by becoming U.S. citizens.”

On Monday, Travis County announced it had registered more than 90 percent of its eligible voters. County officials said they would make a big push Tuesday – the last day to sign up to register to vote in the presidential election in November – to make sure people get registered before the deadline.

The county’s main tax office at 5501 Airport Boulevard will be open until midnight and voter registrars will be signing people up to vote at all Thundercloud Sub and Alamo Drafthouse locations in the county.

Follow live: Hillary Clinton speaks at 2016 NABJ-NAHJ Convention

Reporter James Barragán will tweet as Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks at the 2016 National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) joint convention at 10 a.m. Central Time.

Watch a livestream of Clinton’s appearance below.

And catch up on tweets from the event here:

 

Poll: Latinos oppose Trump, back Clinton, lean Democrat

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop at the Flynn Center of the Performing Arts in Burlington, Vt., Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
A poll released Wednesday indicates that nearly 80 percent of Latinos in battleground states have an unfavorable view of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Latinos in battleground states oppose Donald Trump’s proposals and lean toward ideas espoused by the Democratic party, according to a poll released Wednesday.

The poll conducted by Latino Decisions on behalf of the Latino Victory Project surveyed 800 registered Latino voters in battleground states during last week’s convention has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points. The poll was conducted in English and Spanish based on the respondent’s choice and used a mix of online surveys and landline and cell phone interviews. Respondents to the poll came from Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin

The Latino Victory Project is a non-partisan group co-founded by Eva Longoria that works to ensure that the voices of Latinos are heard at all levels of government. It has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.

Seventy-one percent of Latinos in battleground states said they would likely vote for Clinton if the election was today, compared to 24 percent who said the same about Trump. Sixty-four percent said the Democratic Party was more aligned with their views, compared to 26 percent who said the Republican Party was more reflective of them on issues.

The poll found that 75 percent of Latinos have an overall favorable view of President Barack Obama. Sixty-two percent have an overall favorable view of Hillary Clinton, while only 20 percent have an overall favorable view of Trump. The Republican vice presidential candidate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, did only slightly better with 24 percent of respondents saying they had an overall favorable view of him.

And the poll indicated that Trump would have an overall negative effect on other Republicans. Overall, 62 percent of respondents said they are less likely to vote for a Republican who says they disagree with Trump on many things but will still support him in the presidential election. Even if Republican candidates said they would not support Trump, only 33 percent of respondents said that would make them overall more likely to vote for that candidate.

Seventy-five percent of Latinos in battleground states said Trump had encouraged audiences to be angry and hostile toward Latinos, Muslims and immigrants. Similarly, 73 percent said Trump’s campaign events had been violent and dangerous, and 71 percent said Trump had contributed to making the country angrier and more divided on racial issues.

On policy proposals, respondents also rejected Trump and tended toward ideas pushed by the Democratic party.

Ninety-five percent of those surveyed said people should be required to pass a background check to buy a gun and 67 percent supported a ban on assault weapon sales. Eighty percent of Latinos said they supported addressing climate change by making clean energy technology and jobs.

Eighty-two percent said they supported a comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship. Thirteen percent of respondents said all undocumented immigrants living in the country should be deported.

Sixty-eight percent supported raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and 86 percent supported giving parents paid leave. Ninety-four percent said that overall they supported strengthening laws to ensure women get paid the same as men for equal work.

In contrast to a perception of Latinos as more conservative leaning on social issues, the poll showed that 68 percent believe that laws should not interfere with women’s reproductive health care, including access to contraception and abortion.

Twenty-six percent of respondents supported Trump’s proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country, but 57 percent said that a religious test that singles out a single group is against American values.

Thirty-five percent of Latinos said the Affordable Health Care Act should be repealed, as Trump has promised to move to do on his first day in office. But 59 percent said it is working well and should remain in place.

In this year’s election, 36 percent of Latinos in battleground states are more motivated to vote than they were in 2012 and 35 percent of those respondents attribute that to wanting to stop Trump and fight back against racism.

Click here for the full results of the survey

 

Texas Democrats suggest a Castro brother take over as DNC chair

The Texas Democratic Party have suggested that either Julian or Joaquin Castro should take over as chairman of the Democratic National Party after Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the current chairwoman, announced her resignation Sunday.

U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Julián Castro, will visit Austin on Thursday to speak with the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials. Photo from November 20, 2014. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN
U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Julián Castro, will visit Austin on Thursday to speak with the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials. Photo from November 20, 2014.
RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN

“In our humble opinion Texas Democrats believe that both Julian and Joaquin Castro have what it takes to pick up the reins and move the party forward,” Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement. “It would be remarkable to have the first Hispanic chair of the Democratic National Committee.”

Julian Castro, the current Secretary of Housing and Urban Development was considered by many a possible vice presidential candidate before Hillary Clinton announced Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate Friday. Joaquin Castro is a U.S. representative from San Antonio. Both hail from the Alamo city and are popular figures among Texas Democrats.

Wasserman Schultz, who will step down after the completion of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, has faced recent scrutiny after the publication of leaked emails from Democratic National Committee staffers that appear to favor Clinton over her competitor Bernie Sanders during the presidential primaries. She served as chair of the committee since May 2011.

“Texas Democrats thank Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz for her hard work, leadership and commitment to our great party,” Hinojosa said in his statement. “She has fought heart and soul for this party, and we are well-poised to succeed in November because of her efforts.”

Donna Brazile, a Democratic strategist and the vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, will act as interim chairwoman through the end of the presidential election, according to committee spokesman, Luis Miranda.

Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, responded to Wasserman Schultz’s resignation on Twitter.

“The highly neurotic Debbie Wasserman Schultz is angry that, after stealing and cheating her way to a Crooked Hillary victory, she’s out!”

Mexican-American Norteño group writes corrido for Bernie Sanders

For much of the campaign trail, pundits have said that Bernie Sanders has a Latino problem.

The narrative has been that his opponent for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton, has stronger roots and ground game among Latino communities and that the voting bloc’s support cannot be wrested away.

But Sanders received a helpful boost in his efforts to prove pundits wrong this week from a somewhat unexpected source: a viral video of a California Norteño band singing a corrido that praises his candidacy.

Grupo La Meta of Modesto, California published their song “El Quemazón” (Translation for “The Burn,” which presumably is a play on “Feeling ‘the Bern'”) to YouTube on Tuesday and the video has been seen more than 30,000 times since. In an interview with Buzzfeed News, Juve Quintana, the 26-year-old singer and songwriter for the group said he was turned on to Sanders by his girlfriend.

“I can relate to him and everything he wants to do for us,” Quintana told Buzzfeed News. “I thought what can I do so the Hispanics, the paisanos, the Mexicans vote for him? Everyone I speak to says ‘I’m going to vote for Hillary’ and I say ‘Have you heard of Bernie Sanders?” And they say ‘No, I don’t even know who that is.’”

A corrido is a traditional poem or song in the Spanish language, which is especially popular in Mexico. In recent years, the song form has been used to lionize drug dealers and cartel leaders, but had been used traditionally to tell romantic stories and epic adventures.

The group’s song follows many of the traditions of corridos like speaking about the protagonist’s life in heroic terms, positioning him as an Everyman fighting against enormous odds and exaggerating some of his characteristics (the song claims Sanders “sees everyone as children of God” even though the candidate has never expressed an overtly religious message during his campaign and characterizes him as a “Robin Hood” figure.)

The song also makes Sanders appealing to working-class Mexican families by touting his record of fighting against the rich, supporting civil rights and fighting against segregation, even calling him “compa,” a word used to designate close friends.

It makes an effort to connect him to the struggle of Mexican working-class families by saying neither the rich nor television want him, emphasizing that Sanders also had immigrant parents and wants everyone – regardless of legal status- to have health insurance and saying that Sanders noticed from a young age that the rich got richer while the poor “no tenian ni para el frijol” – a colloquial way of saying, people were starving.

Here in full are the song’s lyrics in Spanish and English translations:

 

Es un hombre con muchas visiones  (He’s a man with many ideas)

para mejorar a este país, (On how to improve this country)

corriendo para ser presidente, (running to be the next president)

pero los ricos no lo quieren aquí. (but the rich do not want him here.)

Bernie Sanders se llama el compa,  (Bernie Sanders is the ‘compa’s’ name)

su quemazón ahora van a sentir. (And now you will feel his Bern.)  

 

Nueva York estado que lo vio nacer, (The state of New York is where he was born)

En las calles de Brooklyn se crío,  (In the streets of Brooklyn he was raised)

Desde niño empezó a notar, (Since he was a child he started to see)   

Que los ricos se hacían más ricos, (That the rich just kept getting richer)

Y los pobres todo el día chambeando, (And the poor who were working all day)

Y muchos ni tenían para el frijol. (Barely had enough to eat.)

 

 

Hijo de padres inmigrantes, (He’s the son of immigrant parents,)

que vinieron a mejorar sus vidas, (who came to make a better life for themselves,)

Trabajando para salir adelante, (working hard to get ahead,)

como todos lo hacemos hoy en día. (like we all do every day.)

Venimos con el mismo sueño,  (We all come with the same dream,)

sacar adelante a nuestras familias. (make a better life for our families.)

 

¡Y echale compa Bernie! (Let’s go Bernie!)

Hasta llegar a la Casa Blanca. (All the way to the White House.)

 

Los ricos ni la tele lo quieren, (Neither the rich, nor TV like him, )

Tienen miedo que vaya a ganar, (They’re scared he might win,)

Porque quiere que el colegio sea gratis, (Because he wants college to be free,)

Pa’ que nuestros hijos puedan triunfar, (So our kids can succeed.)

Quiere cuidado de salud para todos, (He wants health insurance for all,)

Sea ciudadano o seas illegal. (whether or not you’re a citizen.)

 

En Chicago caio tras las rejas, (In Chicago, he fell behind prison bars,)

Por protestar contra la segregación, (For fighting against segregation,)

No le importa el color de tu piel, (He doesn’t care about the color of your skin,)

Pa’ el todos somos hijos de Dios. (He thinks we’re all children of God.)

Muchos le apodan ‘Robin Hood,’ (Many call him Robin Hood,)

otros le dicen ‘El Quemazón.’ (Others call him The Bern.)

 

Peleando por los derechos humanos, (Fighting for human rights,)

Pero ni la ley lo aplaco, (Not even the law could stop him,)

El sigue luchando hasta ser (He’ll keep fighting until he is)

Presidente de esta nación. (the president of this country.)

Bernie Sanders se llama el compa (Bernie Sanders is the compa’s name,)

Este es su corrido ‘El Quemazón.’ (This is his song, The Bern.)

A Mexican-American Norteño band from Southern California wrote a song praising Bernie Sanders.
A Mexican-American Norteño band from California wrote a song praising Bernie Sanders.

Correction: This story has been updated. The band “Grupo La Meta” is from Modesto, which is not in Southern California.