In this podcast, Fi2W Executive Producer John Rudolph speaks with La Opinión senior political writer and columnist Pilar Marrero about the first poll showing how Latino voters are responding to the GOP presidential field.
Tag: Latino Politics
A new Impremedia poll shows that Latinos support the majority of the federal health care law’s provisions and oppose its repeal. But just like other voters, they are against the clause that will force them to purchase coverage, the so-called mandate.
By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor
Unless another Latino is nominated to be secretary of commerce, Bill Richardson’s exit will leave Latino cabinet representation in the Obama administration at the same level as the Clinton and Bush administrations.
The New Mexico Governor, and would-be highest-profile Latino politician in the incoming Obama administration, has withdrawn his name from consideration for the post of secretary of commerce, a position to which he had been nominated by the President-elect with considerable fanfare in early December.
Richardson stepped down because of uncertainty over the success of his confirmation process – uncertainty caused by a federal investigation into his administration’s dealings with a consulting firm that donated $100,000 to two of his political action committees.
While Richardson said he was confident he and his aides will be eventually cleared of any wrongdoing, he decided to withdraw from the Obama team to avoid delays in the confirmation process. He will stay on as governor of New Mexico.
Richardson — who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination before throwing his support to Obama (despite his longtime association with the Clintons) — apparently had expected to become Obama’s main Latino official, not only dealing with Commerce matters, but also helping improve the currently very cool U.S. relationship with Latin America. He had also been mentioned as a candidate for secretary of state, and the naming of Hillary Clinton to that post instead caused discomfort in some Latino quarters.
“Millions of Latino voters…are being targeted like never before on the Web, in radio, television and print. Campaigns are hiring strategists, media consultants and recruiting Latinos for the ground war.”
Eleven million Latinos are expected to vote in this year’s presidential election (60% more than in the 2004 elections), and 3 million of them are young voters.
Many media outlets have focused on the emerging Latino vote; but most news coverage has lumped Latino voters of all ages and types together into one category.
In her radio feature that aired on August 18 on WNYC in New York, Feet in 2 Worlds journalist Martina Guzmán examines how the Presidential campaigns are increasingly tailoring their outreach to subsets of Latino voters: a large and diverse electorate that has displayed a spectrum of responses to the candidates’ multi-million dollar ad campaigns.
The Obama campaign has been heavily targeting young Latinos through social networking sites like MiGente – the Latino equivalent of FaceBook. One of the most popular links is a to a video called Podemos Con Obama. According to the William C. Velasquez institute, 50 thousand young eligible Latinos turn 18 every month, and from 2000 to 2004 Latino youth turnout increased by 13 percent.
Although the numbers are high, some consultants argue that the youth vote is unreliable. “This country is changing and young Latino voters are very excited but historically we don’t know if they turnout,” said Republican strategists Leslie Sanchez. Meanwhile the McCain campaign is reaching out to other segments of the Hispanic community such as Latino military families. They are running a television ad called God’s Children in Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada. That ad pays homage to Latino veterans and soldiers who are currently fighting in Iraq.
Guzmán reports on how the presidential candidates are crafting sophisticated messaging toward Latinos in the 2008 presidential election. Her story aired this morning during Morning Edition on WNYC, New York Public Radio. Click here to listen online.
Rashida Tlaib is poised to make history. The Palestinian attorney overwhelmingly beat eight other candidates in Tuesday’s Democratic primary in Detroit, and appears on her way to becoming the only Arab-Muslim woman in the Michigan House of Representatives. The majority-Latino neighborhood where she campaigned borders the largest concentrated Arab community in the US.
Although this was only the primary election, the district is more than 90 percent Democratic and there is rarely a credible Republican candidate.
As we noted earlier this week Tlaib’s candidacy was controversial from the start. Latino leaders in the district felt the seat in Michigan’s 12th House District belonged to them. The mostly Mexican community has a long history in Detroit going back almost 100 years, yet has no political representation in the state legislature.
Community leader Elena Herrada of the Centro Obrero criticized Tlaib in an interview with Feet in Two Worlds. “Rashida actually represents the majority of white voters,” Herrada said, “the new people, the younger people who came into the narrative very late.” Herrada also claims Tlaib is a protégé of current 12th District State Representative, Steve Toboccman, who is the Majority Floor Leader in the Michigan House, and who did not seek reelection because of term limits.
Tlaib also was attacked for being a Muslim Arab.
“Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian Muslim extremist whose candidacy was touted across the country on extremist Muslim and anti-Israel mailing lists, is unfortunately a viable candidate for this seat,” posted Debbie Schlussel, a conservative blogger based in Michigan.
Schlussel want on to say, “Tlaib was a top official at ACCESS, the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, the agency that gets millions in your tax money to help illegal aliens, fight immigration laws and supports Hezbollah and Hamas.”
Despite the attacks Tlaib won, and won big. She captured 44 percent of the vote, beating her closest competitor by 770 votes.
Her campaign team and volunteers were ecstatic. “We were so tired but when we found out we won I felt that all of that hard work paid off,” said 17-year old Latina Cynthia Carrillo. Carrillo had never worked on a campaign and says it empowered her as a young woman. “I thought politics was a bunch of rich men giving their opinions,” she said. “I learned that women could be in politics too.”
Tlaib’s story is also significant because, some believe, her success also helps break stereotypes about Arab women. “We’re fed up with seeing the same recycled images of Muslim women in the mainstream media, images that repeatedly depict women as passive and helpless,” wrote filmmaker Jolene Pinder. Pinder produced a film called Election Day featuring Tlaib.
Although Tlaib is celebrating her victory, she now must work with Latino leaders who did not support her candidacy. She also must deal with the troubles of a culturally vibrant yet economically distressed community. The district is rampant with drugs, crime and blight, and as part of Detroit, suffers from the highest unemployment rate in the country for any metro area.
Southwest Detroit is home to Michigan’s largest immigrant community. Before running for state representative, Tlaib built her career working on immigrant isssues. “She comes from an immigrant rights background, and that is a tough message in a post 9/11 world,” said Rep. Toboccman.
This article was written by Feet in Two Worlds reporter Martina Guzman.
Feet in Two Worlds reporter Martina Guzmán profiled Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American candidate running for state representative in a primarily Latino district in southwest Detroit, for WDET, Detroit Public Radio.
Martina’s story aired yesterday. You can listen to it by pressing play here:[audio:http://wdet.org/audio/articles/Tlaib.mp3]
This is the first collaboration between Feet in Two Worlds and WDET, our newest radio partner.
At last Sunday’s Ecuadoran Independence Day Parade in Queens, NY representatives of Ecuadoran political parties drew lots of attention, not all of it positive. But at least one community leader at the parade was trying to get people to focus on the US presidential election. As part of our special series La Ruta del Voto Latino – The Road to the Latino Vote, journalist Diego Graglia spoke to Francisco Moya, a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. In fact, he’s the first Ecuadoran to be a delegate to a major party convention in the US. In this Podcast, Moya talks about the challenge of getting Ecuadoran immigrants, including those who a US citizens, to pay attention to US politics.[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/204677354″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
Ecuadorans are one of the fastest growing immigrant groups in the New York area. The city’s Department of City Planning says Ecuador is third among the, “largest sources of the foreign-born,” in the borough of Queens, and it is second in The Bronx. There are also large Ecuadoran communities in Somerset and Essex counties in New Jersey and Westchester, NY. Despite their numbers Ecuadorans don’t have much political power, compared to other immigrant groups that have been in New York for decades, like Puerto Ricans and Dominicans.
Diego Graglia is on the road from New York City to Mexico City, talking to Latinos about the issues and the candidates in this year’s presidential election.