Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Opinion: Latinos will decide Romney’s Presidential Fate

If the Presidential elections were held today, Mitt Romney would lose the election according to many polls. The swing group that will decide his fate…the Latino voters.

Related: Obama and Romney intensify their Latino outreach in Florida

According to the Washington Post, “Obama continues to hold a large lead over Romney among Latinos after the conventions — 66 percent to 29 percent, pretty much where he was before them. Romney has to boost his percentage — a lot. Sen. John McCain got an estimated 31 percent of the Latino vote in 2008. While there’s some dispute on the numbers, George W. Bush got an estimated 35 percent of the Latino vote in 2000 and around 40 percent of that vote in 2004.”

Romney is in full “Latino” gear to capture our hearts (our votes & our tans). As I tagged along for the ride, the Governor’s first stop last week was the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) annual convention, which my hometown of Los Angeles played host this year.

Governor Romney spoke at the USHCC’s  “Ultimate Latina Luncheon”, of course sponsored by BMW and the “ultimate machine”. The luncheon was honoring Cristina Saralegui. I guess someone told Romney that in order to get the Latino vote, you first have to get through our Latinas. As many people know about our culture, women are the core matriarch of the family. You get to them and you get to all of us! Romeny’s mission…failed.

As I was assisting Los Angeles Councilwoman Jan Perry present to Javier Palomarez, CEO/President of the USHCC, the City proclamation stating that day “The official day of Latina entrepreneurs” in the City of Los Angeles, I could not stop to think of the dichotomy of where I stood.

Just a few moments ago, the candidate for the presidency of the United States, was pitching himself once again to Latinos as the better Presidential candidate. As a Republican myself, I unfortunately found Romney’s speech lacking passion and ganas. I also found it insulting that he did not lay out his plan to overhaul federal immigration policies, or at a minimum explain how “self-deportation” actually works.

Romney said that his focus is on economic development. According to Immigration Reform for America, their study concluded that if  “…improving the process of immigration policies, it would generate generated 66 billion in revenue over 10 years, mostly from income and payroll taxes from new and newly-legalized immigrants.”

Interesting…because if Romney and President Obama (with his 1.2 million deportes) do not see immigration reform as the platform for economic development, I really do not want eitherr as President of these United States of America. Romney has had years to prepare for his candidacy. If he does not get it now, he definitely will not get it by Election Day,

I then witnessed a few days of great television…I know it sounds like an oxymoron. Univision’s Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas interviewed both Governor Romney and President Obama individually. As a political junkie, I was not only in heaven but I saw true journalism when both candidates were grilled with hard questions about their platforms.

At the end, I felt that both candidates failed me. I saw the same blame game and finger pointing that gridlocks all levels of our American government. I commend Univision for their commitment to their viewers and to the American people.

Finally, I witnessed again on television (it must be Emmy’s week) Jorge Ramos as a guest on George Stephenopolous’ show, This Week . Jorge was on a panelist group that included both Republican and Democrat strategists, and also Ann Coulter. So I was ready with popcorn in hand to watch the battle royal. To my surprise, this was by far the best show George Stephenopolous has had, and the show did not even include my favorite analyst George Will.

I saw Jorge Ramos truly represent Latinos as he answered questions and gave his opinion on the campaign and upcoming elections. He did it with style and grace that left me speechless. But the best was saved for last. Jorge went head to head with Ann Coulter. For those who do not know who she is, then I don’t know where you have been hiding. Ann is basically like a Rush Limbaugh, but who is a blonde and wears a skirt.

Ann represents that 1% of angry Americans who must find a scape goat for their problems and who do not take responsibility for their actions…tu sabes.

Jorge Ramos is the man. He gracefully and with dignity and a smile placed Ann back in her place. He did it with facts. He did it with respect. He did like a Latino.

Oh yes…we have a Presidential election coming up in November. In all honesty, I am tired of voting for the “least of two evils.” I know we have great young candidates out there that can truly represent America. I think its time for both parties to really look inwardly and realize that they are in need of reorganization.

Related:Opinion:Republicans are grooming Latino leaders, Dems are not

I have been waiting for thirty-nine years for this past week to finally arrive. America….the sleeping giant is now fully awake.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Opinion: If Obama’s appeal to minorities is a gamble so is the GOP’s appeal to the “white voter”

Great piece by NBC political commentator and fellow Loyola Cub....take the time to read it!

U.S. President Barack Obama greets supporters during a campaign rally at Byrd Park October 25, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia. With less than two weeks to go before Election Day, Obama and his GOP opponent former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are crisscrossing the country attempting to sway voters in all-important swing states.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama greets supporters during a campaign rally at Byrd Park October 25, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia. With less than two weeks to go before Election Day, Obama and his GOP opponent former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are crisscrossing the country attempting to sway voters in all-important swing states. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

It was clear early on in Mitt Romney’s campaign that he had committed himself to the “white vote.” Of course, he had little choice. Almost 90 percent of those who voted in Republican primaries identified as white. The Republican Party has for decades gambled on the surest thing in American politics; the appeal of our country’s collective sense of whiteness.

Newsweek and Daily Beast’s columnist John Avlon, however, mischaracterizes this phenomenon by claiming that President Obama’s appeal to minorities is a gamble, as if the democratic notion of appealing to all people is a foreign concept for democracy. Avlon’s benign assumption that the appeal to minorities is an implicit rejection of white people is false. They are not mutually exclusive in form or function. The interests of whites is the same as those of Latinos.

But while mutual exclusivity on the basis of race and ethnicity is false, it is precisely the narrative the Romney campaign has appealed to throughout the year, and Avlon is reinforcing this narrative, even if unintentionally. This is the nature of systemic racism. You breathe it.

The former chairman of the Republican National Committee admitted as much. In 2005, Ken Mehlman said, “Some Republicans gave up on winning the African American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization. I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong.”
Yet this history of racial division against African-Americans hasn’t changed the tactics of the GOP’s approach towards Latino voters.

When Pete Wilson’s seat as governor of California was threatened, he bet on whiteness. He blamed California’s ailing economy on undocumented immigrants, which turned into an assault on Latino identity. Of course, he won.

Jan Brewer, the governor of Arizona, found herself in a similar position in 2010. With Arizona’s economy reeling from the collapse of the housing market, Brewer faced a 50 percent unfavorability rating in the polls by February of 2010. Brewer responded by appealing to her ace in the hole; she bet on whiteness. The month after the anti-immigrant bill, SB1070, was signed, Brewer’s favorability reached its highest in her career and skyrocketed her back into office later that year.

Yet these laws can’t be explained by economics. These laws have had devastating economic results on states that embrace these laws, yet they continue to gain momentum across the country. Two researchers, Karthick Ramakrishnan and Pratheepan Gulasekaram, looked at 25,000 municipalities and all fifty states to see if anti-immigration laws could be explained simply by economics.

They found that the most accurate explanation for these laws was partisan identity. In other words, the more Republican a district or state was, the more likely we are to see these laws emerge.

The GOP, however, wants us to believe that these laws have nothing to do with race. They are simply rational reactions to circumstance. They are pushbacks against the Federal government’s refusal to enforce our immigration laws.

In a highly-publicized event, Donald Trump offered the President five million dollars in exchange for the release of his college transcripts. Nobody expected the President to take him up on the offer, but that wasn’t the point. The point was to continue the assault on President Obama’s legitimacy as a rightful member of society. From the obsession with his birth certificate, his middle name or his father’s nationality, the whole purpose is to appeal to the country’s sense of whiteness.

There is a serious gamble going on, but the gamble is not on minorities or by Barack Obama; the gamble is being taken by the others.

Stephen A. Nuño, Ph.D., NBC Latino contributor and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and International Affairs at Northern Arizona University. He is currently writing a book on Republican outreach into the Latino Community.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Opinion: The campaigns have treated Mexico as an oversized HomeDepot

US President Barack Obama (L) greets Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (R) following the third and final presidential debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, October 22, 2012. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

 President Barack Obama (L) greets Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (R) following the third and final presidential debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, 

October 22, 2012. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)
Latin countries avoided the gaze of the giant in last night’s presidential debate on foreign policy, while the focus was mainly on the Middle East and China. Perhaps its better that way, but throughout this campaign, surprisingly little has been said about Latinos and issues that disproportionately impact our lives.
The only substantive comment on Latin America was by Mitt Romney, who said we are not adequately taking advantage of opportunities there regarding trade. It was perhaps unfortunate that just before mentioning Latin America he discussed energy independence and capitalizing on coal, oil and gas, because it sounded disturbingly colonial.
However, the impact of our foreign policy on immigration was missed in the entire debate. From our sponsorship of anti-Communist regimes that imposed brutal tactics to seize power in Central America, and for which we continue to reap what we have sown in gangs and drug lords, to our heavy-handed support of American corporations bent on extracting natural resources, we continue to ignore the direct role our foreign policy has had on domestic problems.
Our war on drugs, which is essentially a jobs program that pays one group of people to put another group of people in a box, without making any positive change in the disease of drug addiction ravaging minority communities, has thrown Mexico into a most uncivil war against ruthless gangs determined to get rich off of American addiction.
The privileged status reserved for Cuban immigrants was also completely ignored. Cuban immigrants who manage to make it to American soil are given permanent residency status after one year. This is not to say that this policy is judiciously administered, since Cuban refugees are often prevented from reaching American soil by the Coast Guard, sometimes through direct force, but it has been a source of resentment among Latinos for decades.
If a Haitian refugee and Cuban refugee reach American shores at the same time, the Haitian goes through a deportation process, while the Cuban goes through a system designed to integrate him or her into the country. This is the same for Cubans who are detained at our southern border with Mexico, who have been coming in greater numbers recently. While Mexican migrants, who are largely economic refugees seeking opportunity, are deported, those who are Cuban are given a pathway to citizenship.
This immigration policy is directly related to foreign policy and is a throwback to the Cold War. With Fidel Castro as the last remnant of that era reaching “Weekend at Bernie’s” status, our asymmetric immigration policy is an important question for Latinos that has gone unaddressed for far too long.
Since the Monroe Doctrine, which declared any attempt by European countries to colonize South America as an act of aggression almost two hundred years ago, our collective national conscience has viewed Latin countries as an extension of domestic policy, but without the respect of co-equality. In essence, our perception of the people south of our border is that they are themselves both a resource and a burden.
The Anglo-centric history of our leadership and their sense of superiority has denied this country an opportunity to expand prosperity, not only across our continent but across South America, as a consequence. And it has directly impacted Latinos in America and abroad.
We see Mexico as an oversized Home Depot, where we drive by and pick up laborers as we need them, and then dump them into the real world without access to the mechanisms of prosperity once the work is done.
And when we run into tough economic times, these same people become a convenient villain for our politicians who depend on ignorance and racism to get elected.
It would have been nice to see our first minority president address these issues in his first term, or at least bring attention to these issues in our national dialogue, but perhaps it was too naïve to believe he could. There is simply too much social privilege in excluding others from economic growth, and too much opportunity in capitalizing on the resources of others, to think our President had any power to do so.
Stephen A. Nuño, Ph.D., NBC Latino contributor and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and International Affairs at Northern Arizona University. He is currently writing a book on Republican outreach into the Latino Community.

Monday, October 22, 2012

NBC/WSJ/Telemundo poll: Obama holds strong lead, Romney has ‘image problem’ with Latinos

Great piece by Sandra Lilley of NBC Latino!

A  new NBC/WSJ/Telemundo poll finds Barack Obama with a strong lead over Mitt Romney.

A new NBC/WSJ/Telemundo poll finds Barack Obama with a strong lead over Mitt Romney. (Photo/Win McNamee/Getty Images)


by , @sandralilley

BOCA RATON, Fl – As the candidates get ready for their final debate tonight here in Florida, a new NBC/WSJ/Telemundo poll finds Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney by 45 points among Latino voters – 70 percent to 25 percent among likely voters, and pretty much the same with registered voters, 69 to 23 percent.

 ”Despite a tightened presidential race among the wider electorate – Hispanics continue to say they prefer President Obama by wide margins,” says Domenico Montanaro, NBC News Deputy Political Editor.

A crucial issue for Mitt Romney, according to the poll results, is that Romney “continues to have a severe image problem with Hispanics,” according to Montanaro.  Forty five percent of Latinos have a “very negative” view of Governor Romney, up from 35 percent last month.  A solid majority, 57 percent, have a negative view of Romney.

The NBC/WSJ/Telemundo poll finds President Obama has strong approval ratings, but they have dropped – from 73 percent last month to 66 percent. On how President Obama is handling the economy, the President’s approval declined slightly to 61 percent from 66, and on favorability, Obama is now at 69 percent favorable from 74 percent last month.

Did the previous debates help ‘move the needle’ for the candidates?  Fourteen percent of Latinos polled say they are more likely to vote for Romney after the debates; 48 percent say it made them more likely to vote for Obama, while 35 percent say it made no difference.

On the question of Latino enthusiasm for the election, it has gone up slightly since last month, according to the NBC/WSJ/Telemundo poll.  Sixty eight percent of Latinos say they are a ’9 or 10′ on the enthusiasm scale, up from 59 percent last month, though this is still down from the 76 percent of Latinos four years ago who said the same at this time. Latinos are also lagging behind the general electorate, there 76 percent they are a ‘nine or ten.’

An impreMedia-Latino Decisions poll released today, though, finds Latino voters are ‘highly engaged’  in the election, and 56 percent of Latinos say they are ‘very enthusiastic’ about the election, up from 51 percent last week.  In fact, within the 45-65 age group, this poll finds 89 percent are certain to vote, and 68 percent say they are very enthusiastic.

Moreover, almost six out of ten Latinos in this age group say they are certain to vote, and almost 30 percent have volunteered for a campaign or worked on voter registration. The poll also found support for President Obama is up. Seventy one percent of respondents were certain or likely to vote for Obama, compared to 67 percent last week, according to the results.

Monica Lozano, of impreMedia, says Mitt Romney now stands at 20 percent in the new impreMedia/Latino Decisions poll. Though the general polls have Romney and Obama neck and neck, Lozano said if the national polls are not accurately polling and counting Latinos,  which will comprise about 10 percent of the voters, “they may be overstating Romney’s numbers by 2 or 3 points,” Lozano said.

Here in Florida, a new Scripps/WPTV poll has Romney ahead by one point, 48 percent to Obama’s 47 percent, and this Florida poll has Romney ahead among Hispanics, 49 to 46 percent.  The pollsters attribute these higher Romney Latino numbers to the state’s Cuban-American population, which according to the poll favors Romney.

But Casey Klofstad, associate professor of political science at the University of Miami, says “the Cuban-American population in South Florida skews Republican, but my guess is that the Latino vote in Florida will break more for Obama and Obama will win the Latino vote in Florida, though there is a tightening of the margin,” says Klofstad.

“Polls bounce up and down,” adds Kloftstad, “but in the end, the Latino vote is really going to hinge on turnout,” he says.

The NBC News/WSJ/Telemundo poll finds thirteen percent of the Latinos polled say they have already voted early, and another 10 percent say they plan to vote before Election Day.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Corruption hits again in local government!

Corruption...this is not the norm but the exception in local government. Unfortunately stories like these must be brought out to light to show all of us that this type of activity is not only illegal but will not be tolerated.

In Los Angeles, the previous Los Angeles County Assessor, John Noguez, once a rising Latino elected official, has been indicted by the Los Angeles District Attorney of multiple counts of bribery and using his office to lower property taxes to campaign contributors.

Here is the full story from the Los Angeles Times:

Los Angeles County Assessor Accused of Corruption. (CLICK HERE)

Just Southwest of downtown Los Angeles, where the famous Beach Boys grew up, the City of Hawthorn has been the issue of corruption and scandal in the past few years. Now, Mayor Daniel Juarez, billed as the "reformer" is now being accused of accepting monies and not reporting them.

Here is the full story:

Mayor of Hawthorne accused of taking money. (CLICK HERE)

So America...what do you think? Love to hear your feelings and responses!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

OPINION: Romney’s Chance To Win Latino Voters: “The Economy Stupid”

America last night saw round two of the Presidential Debate, and the race is getting closer and closer. According to the national Gallup poll, Governor Romney is edging at 50% versus President Obama at 46%.

Both campaigns are fighting hard to court the Latino vote for this Presidential election. Even Former Governor Jeb Bush stated that the margin of victory in the 15 swing states will be decided by Latinos. Now for the first time in American history, Latinos will decide who will be the next President come this November.

We have seen both parties put out their Spanish language campaign ads trying to convince Latinos that they are the right candidate. The Governor’s son, Craig Romney, is in one of these ads, as he touts his father as the right candidate for America and in Spanish:

But what will really push Latinos to vote for Governor Romney? President Clinton’s former campaign strategist, James Carville, coined the phrase in the 1992 Clinton campaign, “The Economy Stupid”. Clinton’s campaign used the recession to successfully unseat the incumbent President Bush, who served just one term.  Carville also used the message, “Change vs More of the Same”. I don’t know about you, but I am seeing a lot of similarities from the 1992 Presidential elections and the only difference is the shoe is on the other foot.

The issue of the economy is going to be the principle indicator of how Latinos will vote for either candidate. This is why Romney still has a chance of winning this Presidential election because it’s the “economy stupid”.

Romney’s campaign is gaining speed, money and political messaging. Romney still has a chance to show Latinos that he is the right choice for President. What he needs is to continue focusing on how his economic plan and experience will be better for Americans. Latinos will listen to Romney’s economic message only if it makes sense like for most Americans. Will the economy get better? How will real jobs be created? How will my business be protected?

According to the US Census, both Latinos and women are the largest growing overall groups in business ownership in the United States. Entrepreneurship is part of the DNA of the Latino culture and only makes sense why we are so interested in issues relating to the economy and the business climate.

Romney has just a few weeks left to show Latinos that he is the right candidate for President. He must focus his message on supporting small business, increasing jobs in America, and protecting current jobs from leaving the United States. If he continues this path, Romney’s chance for Latinos voting for him will increase, and Latinos might possibly make him the next President of the United States.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Hispanics to be impacted by Presidential Election

by on Oct 4th, 2012

A number of things are impacting the workforce in the U.S. including demographic changes. Whoever wins the presidential election in November has to address the Hispanic community’s concerns.

One of the largest advocacy groups for Hispanics, National Council of La Raza, said that the U.S. economy’s health was tied closely to the strength of the Hispanic workforce. Hispanics form 16% of the entire labor force in the U.S. and that figure is projected to increase to 18% before 2018. Hispanic workers are estimated at this time to be more than 21.3 million.

The Hispanic workforce in the U.S. is also less likely to have a college degree than blacks or whites and they generally earn less money. On average, Hispanic men earn only 66 cents for each dollar earned by white men.

Hispanic women earn only 60 cents per dollar. The sectors of employment where Hispanics are overrepresented include construction, agriculture, meatpacking and the service industry.
On Tuesday, a member of the National Council of the Raza said the Hispanic workforce would represent a third of the entire U.S. workforce by 2050.

A need for a workforce of less skilled employees in food service, farming and car washing resulted in a surge of Hispanics working in lower-wage jobs. Many Hispanic immigrants, more often than not with less or very little schooling took those types of jobs.

This group of workers will be affected by the election through initiatives for smaller businesses, collective bargaining agreements and the increased enforcement of violations in the workplace.
Hispanics have begun to influence state and local elections by supporting certain candidates or running for office themselves. They play large roles in both electing members of Congress and the President of the U.S.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Post-debate analysis: Romney 1, Obama 0

DENVER, Co. – It’s a brisk, cold post-debate day here in Denver, which pretty much describes the way Latino analysts are rating President Obama’s performance in last night’s presidential debate.

“I just don’t understand President Obama’s thought process last night,” says Stella Rouse, a Colombian-American political scientist at the University of Maryland.  “Obama was too professorial, he got lost in details, and he seemed lethargic,” Rouse adds.

“I have to hand it to Romney, he was on top of it and he was the aggressor,” says Rouse.  “Romney came up with zingers and said things that were not true, like saying Obama would cut 719 billion from Medicare, and he threw it out there like three times, and Obama didn’t respond, I don’t understand,” Rouse says.
Political scientist and NBC Latino contributor Victoria DeFrancesco Soto was pretty blunt in her assessment. “I think people connected with Romney, he hit it out of the park,” she says, adding, “If you landed from outer space and saw President Obama in the debate, you’d be like who is this guy?”  She explains while President Obama enjoys great likeability among voters, last night Governor Romney dominated in style, substance and demeanor.

And it looks like independent voters agreed with Rouse’s and DeFrancesco Soto’s observations.  In polls of independent voters taken after the debate, a large majority of voters thought Governor Romney did a better job.

Both analysts said many issues which could have been addressed, especially issues which mattered to many Latino voters, were left untouched.
“There was so many issues left untouched – women’s issues, immigration, details about education,” says DeFrancesco Soto.

Rouse agrees. “I thought certainly that in a domestic agenda debate they should have touched on immigration reform, the Dream Act – these issues have been at the forefront since both Republican and Democrats have run on these issues,” Rouse explains, who says she was disappointed that the moderator, PBS anchor Jim Lehrer, let the candidates dictate the issues discussed.

Regardless of the candidates’ performance, the debate did highlight the important fundamental philosophical and policy differences between the two parties. Governor Romney repeatedly emphasized he would repeal Obamacare and leave health care legislation to the individual states, and repeated his support for a Medicare voucher system for adults under Medicare age. Romney also strenuously opposed any increase in taxes to reduce the deficit, saying increasing taxes does not create jobs. President Obama on the other hand defended his belief that additional taxation on wealthier individuals and corporations needs to be part of deficit reduction, and defended increased government expenditures in areas such as education and energy investment.

Latino Republicans say Romney’s performance has given them momentum.  “I’m delighted with his performance, I thought he hit 100,” said Romney supporter Al Cardenas. “I thought Mitt Romney addressed undecided voters from the heart and laid it out in a way that was clear.”
Latino Democrats, however, stressed after the debate that Governor Romney was not being truthful about how his proposed cuts would affect Latino families.  Obama For America’s Gabriela Domenzain said last night that “facts matter, and Romney didn’t deliver them,” stressing that Romney’s policies would cut education investments in Pell Grants and money for elementary schools, as well as cuts in Medicaid.  Ledy Garcia-Eckstein, a Colorado Latina watching the debate, said “Romney’s policies would bring us back to the financial brink.”

Both DeFrancesco Soto and Rouse think last night’s debate could tighten up the race, especially in swing states where it is neck-and-neck. Among Latinos, however, President Obama holds a large lead over Governor Romney, according to the latest NBC News/WSJ Journal/Telemundo poll.
The candidates move on to continue their campaigning in key swing states, President Obama holding a rally in Denver and then Wisconsin tomorrow and Governor Romney going to Virginia.
The next debates will have different formats. On a town-hall debate, Latinos interviewed hope more topics of interest to Hispanics will come up for discussion.