Election throwback: Corridos, madrinas and how to woo the Latino vote

A day away from the presidential election, early voting returns show an increase in Latino voter turnout in key states across the country, including Texas.

In Texas alone, Latino turnout in 20 of the state’s largest counties had already exceeded Latino early voting turnout in 2012 by 26 percent, and voters with Spanish surnames made up 18.8 percent of the 3.8 million ballots cast through Wednesday in those 20 counties – a 20.1-percent increase over their share of the electorate in 2012.

Latino turnout is also poised to make a significant impact in key states like ArizonaFlorida and Nevada, where the early voting period was extended until 10 p.m. Friday at a grocery store in a heavily Latino area of Las Vegas to allow all people in line to cast their vote.

And although the scope and impact of the increase in Latino turnout for this presidential election will not be fully known until after Tuesday, the noted rise cannot be denied.

“We’re seeing more Hispanics register to vote and, like the numbers say, we’re seeing more Hispanics show up,” Derek Ryan, a political consultant and former research director of the Republican Party of Texas, told the American-Statesman last week.

This presidential election, perhaps because of Donald Trump’s statements about Mexican immigrants and building a border wall, has seen an increase in outreach to Latino voters. Notably, the history of Latino voter outreach in national elections goes as far back as 1960 with the campaign of John F. Kennedy airing Spanish language ads featuring Jackie Kennedy urging Latinos to vote for her husband.

Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, also benefited from Latino support. Historical photos often show voters at campaign stops with “Viva Johnson” posters.

But as the recent PBS documentary “Willie Velasquez: Your Vote is Your Voice” shows, it was a Republican, John Tower, who first used the power of the mass media to woo Latino voters on a large scale during his 1978 re-election bid for the U.S. Senate.

With the help of advertising executive Lionel Sosa (a longtime Republican, who has said he will vote for Hillary Clinton this year), Tower put together a media campaign based around “El Corrido de John Tower,” a song written as a traditional Mexican ballad that espoused Tower’s record of helping the Latino community. Notably, the song only notes one Latino issue, bilingual education, that Tower had worked on.

That did not matter. Tower won 32 percent of the Latino vote, a traditionally Democratic stronghold, which helped him edge out Democrat Bob Krueger by less than a percentage point.

In another show that Republicans can turn out Latino voters, George W. Bush won 40 percent and 44 percent of the Latino vote nationally in his respective presidential races in 2000 and 2004.

More recently, Gov. Greg Abbott aired a television ad during his 2014 election campaign that featured his mother-in-law, who is Latina, espousing his Catholic faith and values. In the ad, she says she is not only Abbott’s mother-in-law but also his madrina, a Spanish word that means godmother but is also loaded with affectionate connotation for Latinos.

During this presidential elections, both campaigns had pretty dismal attempts at wooing Latinos.

Trump, who started his campaign by calling Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists, further alienated himself through botched attempts to reach out to Latinos. On Cinco de Mayo, (which, for the record, is not Mexican Independence Day) Trump posted a picture on Twitter of himself eating a Taco Bowl at Trump Tower with a message that read “I love Hispanics” and later pivoted to a “What Have You Got to Lose?” appeal to Latinos and other voters of color.

For her part, Hillary Clinton, was criticized when her campaign posted an article titled “7 things Hillary Clinton has in common with your abuela” that was seen as a failed effort to connect with Latinos that perpetuated stereotypes. The article listed similarities such as “she cares about children” and unnecessarily interspersed Spanish words into its text, in what was largely criticized as a move to “Hispander,” or pander, to Hispanics. She was also criticized for her campaign’s attempt to brand her as “La Hillary.”

Those criticisms may not be enough to affect her popularity with Latino voters, who have traditionally viewed Clinton and her husband, Bill, favorably.

On Tuesday, we’ll have a clear answer to who wooed the Latino vote better. But we can always be proud that the first politician to really channel his efforts into a concerted Latino outreach campaign was a Texan.

 

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

 

New campaign aims to turn Trump’s message on its head

From the beginning of his campaign, Donald Trump made headlines instantly after negative comments about Mexican immigrants. He said Mexicans crossing the border brought drugs, brought crime, were rapists, and some, he assumed, were good people.

In the 10 months since, Trump has doubled down on negative comments about Latinos and also made negative comments about other groups of people, including Muslims and women. And despite vocal opposition from Democrats, Republicans, pundits and civics rights groups, Trump has continued making negative (and often egregious and erroneous) statements about minority groups, seemingly without hurting his standing as the front-runner for the presidential nomination.

Now, an immigrant rights group from Los Angeles has started a new campaign to turn Trump’s message on its head. Through the Turn Ignorance Around campaign, the Coalition for Humane Rights of Immigrants of Los Angeles uses the insinuations Trump made in his campaign announcement speech – that immigrants were criminals – and uses it to make its own point about the contributions the group thinks immigrants, and Latinos in general, make to the United States.

The campaign’s video starts with various Latinos looking into the camera and saying: “I’m a dealer,” “I’m a killer,” “I’m a murderer,” “I’m an attacker,” and then turns the concept around when one man says “I’m a trafficker” then turns around to reveal a shirt that says “A trafficker of stories. I’m a director and I’m Latino.”

The “murderer” says he’s a murderer of boredom: “I’m a comedian.”

One of the “dealers” says she’s a “dealer of care”: a nanny.

The “attacker” says he’s an “attacker of ignorance”: a student.

One by one, each person who introduced themselves as some sort of criminal turns around and reveals the back of their shirt which has their profession (actress, firefighter, attorney, etc.) followed by the words “And I’m Latino.”

“It’s time to turn ignorance around,” they say and the video goes off into a montage of Latino faces. The video ends with the social media campaigns two hashtags #TurnIgnoranceAround and #DumpTrump. The video has been watched more than 885,000 times.

A campaign by the Coalition for Humane Rights of Immigrants of Los Angeles launched a new campaign that flip Donald Trump's comments on immigrants and Latinos on its head.
A campaign by the Coalition for Humane Rights of Immigrants of Los Angeles launched a new campaign that flip Donald Trump’s comments on immigrants and Latinos on its head.