Friday, February 26, 2016

Rubio, Cruz and the Politics of Latino Authenticity

The emergence of two politicians of Cuban ancestry as serious contenders for the Presidency of the United States this year has generated a contentious debate within the Latino community as to their “Latino authenticity.” Are they really Hispanic or LINOs (“Latinos in name only)? In a recent Republican Presidential debate, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz seemed base their Latino authenticity on their ability to speak some Spanish. Others think it is just a question of where you or your parents were born. Still others argue that you are Latinos if you say or think you are. But if it is that simple, why all of the contentiousness over this question?

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Monday, February 8, 2016

Hispanic Television's Most Influential Racialist

Jorge Ramos, whom The Wall Street Journal has described as “Hispanic TV’s No. 1 correspondent and key to a huge voting bloc,” recently lamented how “sad” it is that “treacherous” Republican presidential candidates have fueled a “xenophobic discourse in the United States” by repeatedly launching “harsh attacks on immigrants.”

These “attacks” include such transgressions as “label[ing] undocumented immigrants 'illegal',” “support[ing] the idea of building a wall along the southern border with Mexico,” and being opposed to “offering a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S.


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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Hispanic voting power swells, Pew study says

A record number of Hispanics will be eligible to vote in the 2016 presidential election, yet the group’s high share of young voters could blunt its potential political clout.

A study released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center estimated that a growing population of U.S.-born Latino

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

#MemeOfTheWeek: Hillary Clinton, Not Quite An Abuela

Everyone agrees that Hillary Clinton is a grandmother. But some aren't so sure she's an abuela.

This week, Hillary Clinton's team put up a post up on her website called "7 things Hillary Clinton has in common with your abuela" (the Spanish word for grandmother). Like your abuela, the post says, Hillary does things like worry about children everywhere, and isn't afraid to talk about the importance of respecting women. She uses the Spanish word for respect, respeto, a few times.

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Monday, December 21, 2015

A Politician Walks Into King Taco ... A Look At The Political Term 'Hispandering'

Hillary Clinton got side-eyed after blasting Jennifer Lopez's "Let's Get Loud" at a campaign stop in San Antonio where she called herself "La Hillary" and "Tu Hillary." Jeb Bush earned eye rolls after debuting a Spanish-language ad celebrating Cinco de Mayo.

Both were accused of "Hispandering": a mashup of "Hispanic" and "pandering" that means faking interest in Hispanic issues and culture for self-serving reasons.

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Saturday, December 12, 2015

What Is 'Hispandering' And Why Do Politicians Do It?

With the presidential election just over the horizon, many politicians are looking for ways to connect with their constituents.

For some it's talking about the economy or healthcare, for others it's the war on terrorism. But when interacting with a demographic that that may not resemble their base, some politicians turn toward pandering.

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Saturday, December 5, 2015

Shamed Spanish politician poses nude for magazine to try to restore her reputation

A Spanish politician who feels she was wrongly fired by her party after it was revealed that she was claiming travel expenses for commuting from the United States to her job back in Spain wants people to know the naked truth … literally.

Carmen López, a 43-year old former beauty queen who became a lawyer and politician, appeared completely nude on the cover of a Spanish magazine this week in an effort to repair her reputation and tell her side of events.

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Rangel's retirement sparks generational, ethnic shift in New York

Harlem has been an enduring symbol of African-American political power in New York City for decades, from Adam Clayton Powell Jr.’s iconic civil rights protests to Hillary Clinton's carefully choreographed visits as she explored a Senate campaign in 1999. And for 45 years, voters in the district anchored by Harlem have sent Rep.  to Washington to represent them.

Rangel will retire in 2016, but while the congressman hasn’t changed since 1970, the congressional district has. As Latino voters have grown in power and prominence nationally and within the Democratic Party, shifting boundaries and an influx of Puerto Rican and Dominican-American residents have also changed the fabric of Rangel’s now-majority-Hispanic district.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Most Hispanics vote Democrat, so why are so many Hispanic politicians Republican?

Cuban immigrants account for less than 1% of the US population, but they are uniquely poised by our immigration system to receive power and status that, in just one generation, can produce a candidate – or two – ready to enter the political scene on a national level.

That’s why, though most Hispanics lean Democrat, though they are the largest minority population in the US, and though Donald Trump’s entire presidential campaign should be a Hispanic recruitment coup for the Democratic party, it’s not actually surprising that the two Hispanic frontrunners in the presidential race, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, are both Republicans.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hispanics, the Intergenerational Divide and What Politicians Should Keep in Mind

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton recently launched “Latinos for Hillary” at a rally in San Antonio. She chose San Antonio because it is the birthplace of Julián Castro, whom she is thought to be considering as a potential running mate.

Make no mistake. The Latino vote is an important issue for all presidential candidates; 28 million Latinos will be eligible to vote by 2016, more than 11 percent of voters nationwide,

Politics aside, this month also coincides with National Hispanic Heritage Month. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the Hispanic population is growing almost five times as fast as the general population, making this the nation’s largest ethnic group. Latinos are a swiftly growing demographic group in the United States, representing 1 out of every 6 Americans.

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Why climate law advocates are watching these black and Latino lawmakers

The "wanted" poster with pictures of five state lawmakers appeared in the pages of a Spanish-language newspaper in Southern California last week.

"Would these politicians be willing to confront the petroleum industry and fight for Latino families?" the ad said in support of tougher environmental rules. "Help us make sure these elected politicians stay responsible to the community."

The five are among the Latino or African American Democrats representing low-income districts who have not taken a side in the fierce tug of war over climate change measures that has been dominating the Capitol.

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Mark-Viverito allies pull out of Senate fundraiser

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito appeared to hit a bump last week on her path to national prominence, when a U.S. Senate candidate from Nevada rescinded an invitation for Mark-Viverito to headline a fundraiser for her campaign.

Catherine Cortez Masto, who is running to replace Harry Reid, and would be the only Latina in the Senate, decided to "cut all ties" with Mark-Viverito, because of the speaker's longstanding support for the release of Oscar Lopez Rivera, a Puerto Rican nationalist.

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Arnoldo S. Torres: Latino politicos ignore the education imperative

Over the past four years, many Latino and Latina elected officials at both the state and federal level have taken a very negative and dangerous approach to public policy, creating the impression that immigration is the only real concern in the Latino community.

Not only have elected Latinos and Latinas been pushing this message, but media, regardless of ideological bent or language (MSNBC, Fox, CNN, Univision and Telemundo), are also promulgating this view.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Double standard for Latino politicians

Let’s say you’re a smart and accomplished Latino politician with big dreams, impressive credentials and what many people agree is a bright future. Only one thing stands in your way: You don’t speak Spanish.

Will that fact cause you any grief, open you up to criticism or prompt the media to pounce? If you’re a Republican, the answer is likely yes. If you’re a Democrat, then probably not.

The 2016 election is adding a new twist to familiar accusations of bias in the media. Latinos are at the center of the controversy, with two of them waging well-funded and credible campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination (Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida) and three more in the wings as possible running mates (Republican Govs. Brian Sandoval of Nevada and Susana Martinez of New Mexico, and Democrat Julian Castro, the secretary of housing and urban development).

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Candidates facing more Latino voters who don’t speak Spanish

LOS ANGELES — As the protracted race for the White House and Congress unfolds 18 months before the 2016 elections, candidates intent on garnering the all-important Latino vote may want to keep this in mind: Speaking and advertising in Spanish may fall on deaf ears.

A record 33.2 million Hispanics in the U.S. — more than two-thirds of Latinos age 5 or older — speak English proficiently, according to new research by the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C.

And the share who speak Spanish at home has dropped from 78 percent to 73 percent since 2000. In 1980, 28 percent of U.S.-born Latinos spoke Spanish at home and said they did not speak English proficiently. By 2013, only 11 percent did.

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hispanic Voters Are Important for Republicans, but Not Indispensable

President Obama’s plan to defer deportation and grant work permits for up to five million undocumented migrants is having two utterly predictable results: outrage from congressional Republicans, and speculation about how the politics will play in 2016.

The country’s growing Hispanic population was widely credited with tipping Mr. Obama’s re-election in 2012. Just about every post-2012 analysis found that the Republicans needed to do better among Hispanic voters in 2016. Whether politicians agree with that assessment might shape their reaction to Mr. Obama’s decision, and might even underlie Mr. Obama’s decision itself.

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Monday, November 10, 2014

5 takeaways about the 2014 Latino vote

Even though some states with the largest Hispanic populations were not part of the most competitive midterm election contests, the Latino vote still mattered. Gearing up for the election, pollsters, journalists and politicians wanted to know how the Hispanic vote would shape the overall results. Would Latinos turn out to vote in greater numbers this year? Would the lack of action on immigration reform by President Obama and Congress depress voter turnout, or raise it? Here are five takeaways about Latino voters in this year’s elections, based on exit poll data.

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Voto Latino: Millennials have the power to rock the Hispanic vote

The numbers are stunning.

Every month, 66,000 American Latinos turn 18, according to a Pew Research Center study. Not only are young Latinos a potential gold mine of voters who could have a monstrous influence on Election Day, they could be the key to boosting turnout among older Hispanic voters as well.

Maria Teresa Kumar, CEO and President of Voto Latino, the nation’s largest voter registration initiative for Latinos, says politicians and political parties make the mistake of looking at a Latino millennial as just one vote.

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Friday, October 10, 2014

"More Hispanic Than Thou"?

Last month, New Mexico's Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Gary King, was at a private fundraiser when he shared an off-the-wall opinion about Gov. Susana Martinez, his Republican opponent.

After paraphrasing remarks he attributed to labor leader Dolores Huerta about the need for voters to distinguish candidates who have “a Latino heart” rather than ones with only a Hispanic surname, King added, “And we know that Susana Martinez does not have a Latino heart.”

That an Anglo politician felt comfortable making such a disparaging, ethnically tinged comment about the nation’s first female Hispanic governor -- one who happens to preside over the state with the highest percentage of Latinos in the country -- struck many New Mexicans as problematic. When video of King’s comments surfaced, the ensuing outrage was not confined to Martinez and her GOP allies.  

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Friday, October 3, 2014

President Obama addresses Latino politicians

On Thursday evening in Washington, D.C., President Obama addressed the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Gala, an annual gathering of Latino lawmakers and politicos (aka “Latino prom”). This address came after an announcement was made last month by the White House that relief from record breaking deportations would be delayed until the holidays. President Obama had earlier expressed that some sort of executive action would be coming at the end of the summer.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Meet Some of NYC's New Generation Of Latino Legislators

NEW YORK, NY -- A conversation with several of the recently elected Democratic New York City Latino legislators point to certain traits they share. They are bilingual, millennial and unapologetically progressive, and are quick to defend the virtues of marriage equality and affordable housing. And since their election last November, they have been garnering attention. Ritchie Torres, who at 26 is the youngest member of the New York City Council, was crowned by New York magazine as one of the 47 reasons to love the Big Apple.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Midterm Election Message: Latino Participation Is Critical this November

The last couple of months have been disheartening for Latinos who were hoping for action in repairing the nation's immigration system. Faced with insult on immigration from one political party and broken promises from the other, Latinos may be tempted to sit on the sidelines in the 2014 midterms. Some have even counseled that the best way for Latinos to show their power is to stay home.

While there is good reason for frustration, we cannot afford to be apathetic or to indulge in the politics of spite. The only way to ensure that both parties respect Latinos and address Hispanic priorities is to grow our electorate.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

National Hispanic Heritage Month is not just for marketing

NATIONAL HISPANIC Heritage Month is overdue for a makeover. Originally established as a weeklong event by President Lyndon Johnson, the celebration was expanded in 1988 to the period from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Since then, companies, politicians, government agencies, and institutions alike celebrate the contributions of a growing population of Latinos — now estimated at 54.1 million. But widespread cultural acceptance has a downside: What started as a cultural tribute has evolved into a bland, and often patronizing, opportunity. Seeking a piece of Latinos’ buying power, estimated at about $1.2 trillion, marketers treat an ethnically and racially diverse group as a monolithic, homogenized cluster.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Latino Voters Likely To Be Decisive Factor In Handful Of Key Races, Experts Say

Many of the old political chestnuts about how and when U.S. Latinos vote are eroding. Voting blocs like Mexican-Americans in border states and Cuban-Americans in South Florida are becoming less monolithic and more difficult to predict.

One of the commonly-held notions of 2014 is that Latino voter turnout for midterm elections is, in historical terms, less than that of other groups – a situation that analysts are suggesting will be compounded this November by a limited number of closely-contested races in the more demographically Latino-heavy areas of the country.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Wilmer Valderrama: Latinos will vote independent if Obama doesn't act on immigration

Actor and activist Wilmer Valderrama predicts that Latinos will back candidates without ties to either major political party if President Obama fails to act on immigration this year.

Valderrama, a self-described Obama supporter, called the president's decision to delay executive action on immigration policy a "dark day" for Latinos who voted to re-elect him. Republicans and Democrats share blame for promising immigration reform to Latino voters without delivering, which could doom their chances of winning over voters in upcoming elections, he said.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Hispanic Chamber attracts politicians

About 50 people attended the Sept. 5 meeting of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at Castaways Restaurant, most of them either elected officials or candidates for office.

With the November election looming and absentee ballots coming soon, several candidate did not miss a chance to get a plug in for their candidacy.
Highland was well represented by Sheriff’s Deputy Chief Rod Torres accompanying his boss,

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Friday, September 5, 2014

Chris Christie visits Mexico

MEXICO CITY — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie stepped out on the international stage Wednesday to talk trade with Mexico, but he stayed mum on one of the most pressing questions confronting the two countries and his party: immigration reform. 

On a trip designed to help school him in foreign policy and court Hispanic voters should he seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, Christie stuck to economic issues and spoke of a “North American energy renaissance” in which the U.S., Mexico and Canada ramp up investments and do away with “foolish” regulations.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Role of Government in Race Relations Today

What should the role of government be in the arena of race and race relations in the U.S. today? This question has moved into the national conversation again after the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri. Representing the U.S. government, Attorney General Eric Holder flew to Ferguson recently to look into what the federal government could or should be doing to ameliorate the types of situations that occurred in that city when a young black man was shot and killed by a white police officer. A recent Politico story, for example, focused on the possibility that the situation in Ferguson could result in changes in police procedures and other aspects of race relations that might help prevent such a situation in the future.   

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Conservatives must better understand recent history of Latin-Americans to win their support

Half a century ago we saw the spark of powerful ideas that changed the face of America. Some became legislation, such as the War on Poverty. Others became potent cultural trends, like the sexual revolution. Less noticed but no less impactful was the onset of a radical change in our nation's demographic makeup.

That millions of immigrants, the majority from Latin America, began arriving just as the United States was being hit by a social and cultural tornado receives surprisingly little analysis. This whirlwind, after all, ripped up norms that had been in place for generations.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hispanic Voters Expected to Back Climate Change Candidates; Why Is This Issue Important to Hispanics?

The Latino vote is fast -growing and important for politicians who are backing a climate change agenda, according to reports. The Latino community has been backing the ideas about improving the environment, after a 2012 Sierra Club poll showed that 77 percent of Latino voters thought climate change was occurring. Now the question is whether heading into the 2014 midterm elections if that support will help political candidates at the polls.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

GOP Sees Latino Model in Pearce, NM-2; Dems See Opportunity

When Republicans began looking for ways to win over some of the Latino vote they so badly lost in the 2012 presidential race, their national party chairman pointed to a congressional district that spans the southern half of New Mexico.

The massive and rural district that extends to the Mexico border is something of a rarity these days: The predominantly Latino area is represented a white, conservative Republican. His name is Steve Pearce. In 2012, he garnered over 40 percent of the Hispanic vote, according to various reports, while Mitt Romney won just 27 percent nationwide.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

The 42 most influential latino politicians - Hispanic Power

READING THE LIST makes it apparent that we have made a great splash in the American political systems in relatively few years, and that this is the century where some of the people profiled will make political tidal waves.

However, considering how many of us there are, we are surprised that most right now are still wading in the shallows of the political pool.

Furthermore, although it is a highly diversified list in terms the people selected their positions, their political affiliation, ethnicity, and age, reading it drives home that two groups dominate the list. Mexican-Americans are by far the most numerous Hispanics, and Cuban-Americans have economic muscle, with most of their cash going to Republicans.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Carlos Manzano > www.nyc.gov/lmec

Carlos Manzano, Executive Director of the Latin Media and Entertainment Commission NYC.

Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business? Yes. I have the ability to shape and influence how non-Latinos and even Latinos view our great and rich culture as well as engage and participate.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
I keep reminding myself what my mother always said, “When you fall—and you will because that’s part of life—simply get up, take a deep breath, think strategically, and keep moving.” And try not to make the same mistake twice.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced?
Running for political office was my biggest challenge so far. I did not succeed, but I sure learned a great deal about people.

If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
I would have taken music and voice lessons early in my life.

What was your childhood ambition?
I wanted to be a rock star.

Tell us about three people that you admire?
Elias and Fanny, my parents (sorry, can’t separate them =))
Mother Theresa
Harry Truman

For meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
It depends: For business short and to the point meetings; for politics lunch or dinner.

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
I spent a lot of time getting my education part time nights and weekends. During all those years, I gave up a lot of my social and personal life.

What is your favorite quote?
Don’t do onto others what you don’t want done onto yourself.

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
It can be. There must be value in unconventional approaches for people to see why what you propose is good.

Biggest mistake made?
Nobody is perfect, and God knows I made a few in my lifetime.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
Yes. I want processes and systems to be better, simpler, faster, more efficient, and fun. When you give people an experience, they’ll return.

About the Company:
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg created the Latin Media and Entertainment Commission to make New York City the Latin media capital of the world.

The Commission advises the Mayor on business development and retention strategies for the Latin media and entertainment industry.

LMEC Goals
Develop a strategic plan to retain, recruit, and expand Latin media and entertainment productions, businesses, and jobs in New York City.
Develop a strategic plan for New York City to attract and host high-profile Latin entertainment productions and events and to support and create New York based events.

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