MSNBC’S Alex Witt: Trump’s Plan to Pay for the Wall

By DrVMDS on April 9, 2016

From Arizona’s Immigration Legacy to Trump

By DrVMDS on March 26, 2016

This post first appeared on NBCnews.com

Arizona is the birthplace of the Trump phenomenon.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, then Governor Jan Brewer, and former state senator Russell Pearce, the author of SB 1070, all lovingly nurtured a babe born of anti-immigrant sentiment. Now that baby is all grown up and his name is Donald Trump.

Donald Trump burst onto the political scene last summer claiming thatimmigrants were rapists, drug dealers and all around bad people. Trump doesn’t limit his discourse to immigration but the issue has become the core of his political brand.

The upcoming primary in Arizona reminds us that Trump’s immigration rhetoric isn’t coming out of the blue. The most recent incarnation of anti-immigrant rhetoric targeted at Latinos stems from the 2010 Arizona law spearheaded by the then GOP governor and legislature. Senate bill 1070 sought to do exactly what the GOP presidential frontrunner is extolling – get rid of all “the illegals.”

Arizona’s Senate bill 1070 had various parts all aimed at driving out undocumented persons. There were a number of state penalties related to federal immigration law. Then there was the “show me your papers” provision where local and state law enforcement were required to act as immigration agents if an individual was suspected of illegally being in the country.

The unintended (or intended) consequences of racial profiling are not to be missed. There was a lot going on in this anti-immigrant omnibus bill but the bottom line was that the state wanted to make the enforcement climate so unbearable that immigrants would ultimately self-deport.

Republican-led copycat bills soon followed—Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, and Utah. And trailing these mega anti-immigrant bills, smaller-scale ones followed. In the wake of the Tea Party revolution anti-immigrant sentiment was red-hot.

The streak of anti-immigrant legislation started to cool in 2012 in wait of the Supreme Court’s SB 1070 decision. That summer the core components of SB1070 were struck down. However the “show me your papers” provision was upheld in that a person could be asked for resident documentation during a lawful stop.

Arizona kicked off a bold anti-immigrant rhetoric which tamped down to an inside voice after the Supreme Court decision. Today, Trump has blasted the anti-immigrant volume back up to 11.

Sheriff Arpaio and Governor Brewer are both back in the national spotlight after having endorsed Trump. And it now looks like state level anti-immigrant legislation is getting a second wind with a visible uptick of immigration bills since Trump announced his candidacy.

The resurgence of Trump’s anti-immigration platform was inevitable. Trump, just as Arizona’s SB 1070 is the result of our elected officials not passing comprehensive immigration reform. Until a holistic solution is found to our broken immigration system we will continue to see the offspring of Arizona’s SB 1070 long after Trump has come and gone.

MSNBC’S Alex Witt – Immigration & the AZ Primary

By DrVMDS on March 19, 2016

Adiós, Rubio 2016

By DrVMDS on March 18, 2016

This piece originally appeared on NBCnews.com

Donald Trump has been thumping Marco Rubio—verbally and politically—for weeks. But the lethal blow came in Florida with Rubio coming in a distant second behind Trump. Just a few years earlier Florida had launched Marco Rubio as one of the brightest GOP stars. On Tuesday that star went dark. Florida turned its back on Rubio ending his 2016 presidential bid and perhaps his career in politics.

What was it? Was it that his boots were too high? That would be such a satisfying and simple answer if only it were that. Was it that his hair was not gray enough?

Again the answer is no. In any previous Republican primary that might have been the case given the old adage that “Democrats fall in love and Republicans fall in line.” But Donald Trump has upended the orthodoxy that Republican presidential aspirations need to wait their turn. Trump is one of the older candidates, but in terms of paying his political dues he’s as young as they come.

The demise of the Rubio presidential campaign was largely out of his control. Prior to Trump being taken seriously Rubio was seen as a top contender for the Republican nomination. Mega-donors were Rubio-curious and the Clinton camp was not looking forward to a matchup with the young Florida Senator.

Trump has surprised politicos, political watchers and voters alike. Yet the demise of Marco Rubio, not his campaign, was not inevitable. Continue Reading

Sanders’ “Tenemos Familias” Ad: A Latino Face on Inequality

By DrVMDS on March 12, 2016

This piece first appeared on NBCnews.com

About fifteen seconds into Bernie Sanders’ Tenemos Familias ad you start to feel the lump in your throat. We see the images of a young mother with her children in living conditions most would assume to be in the third world but are actually here in the United States.

For the next five minutes we learn about the farm labor struggle of the tomato pickers in Immokalee, Florida. We see it through the eyes of Udelia–a working mother, a Latina, and an immigrant. The narration of the David and Goliath story coupled with the documentary quality of the ad packs a one-two emotional punch.

At first sight this ad comes across as a powerful Latino targeted ad. It highlights immigration, family, and Florida, to boot.

But this ad’s message is much broader – going beyond the issue of immigration.

The docu-ad provides the account of how in 2008 when the tomato pickers were first fighting for increased wages and improved working conditions Sanders went down to Immokalee. He then came back to Washington D.C. where he held hearings on the issue. The political pressure spurred by Sanders coupled with the public support for the pickers led improvements for the workers. Continue Reading

Mapping the Latino Vote on Super Tuesday

By DrVMDS on February 29, 2016

This piece first appeared on NBCnews.com

Super Tuesday is do or die, with over a quarter of pledged delegates at stake for each party. Iowa and New Hampshire may be the electoral contests that produce viable candidates, but Super Tuesday is the kingmaker (or queenmaker this year). But beyond the electoral bulk of March 1st the primaries will give us important indicators about Latino political preferences.

Latinos in Texas are in the spotlight, but the growing role of Hispanics in other Super Tuesday states give us a sense of how the Latino voice is shaping up for the 2016 presidential election and beyond.

Texas – the 800 pound gorilla

Come November Texas (at least for now) is irrelevant because it is such a deep red state. But the Lone Star state makes up for that irrelevance in its giant footprint on Super Tuesday. Texas has the most delegates up for grabs and it is the state with the largest Latino electorate on Super Tuesday. Texas has the second largest Latino population and nearly 30 percent of the state’s eligible voters are Hispanic. Continue Reading

Post MSNBC Town Hall Analysis w/Rachel Maddow

By DrVMDS on February 19, 2016

The Caucus is Coming: Here Are Some Facts About Nevada’s Latinos

By DrVMDS on February 18, 2016

This piece first appeared on NBCnews.com

Iowa and New Hampshire have a number of virtues, electoral diversity isn’t one of them. The lack of diversity in the first two nominating contests makes Nevada’s upcoming caucus all the more relevant, especially for Latinos. The Silver state is just a few percentage points shy of becoming a majority-minority state and has one of the largest Latino shares of the state population making up 28 of the population.

Nevada has a large and growing Latino population. But beyond its demographics the state has become ground zero for a maturing Latino political voice -both among Democrats and Republicans. Going into this weekend’s Democratic caucus and next week’s Republican Caucus here are a couple of things to keep in mind about the first nominating contest that trains the spotlight on the nation’s largest minority.

1. Latino Presence – Old and New

Not all Latinos (or their ancestors) crossed the border, for some the border crossed them. Nevada was originally part of Mexico, becoming a U.S. territory after the Mexican-American War. There are deep Latino roots in the Silver State. At the same time, the last 30 years has seen a rapid increase in Latinos. From 2000-2010 the Latino population grew by over 80 percent and as a result accounted for almost half of the state’s overall population growth.

2. An Eligible Voter Boom.

Not surprisingly, the growth of eligible voters has followed behind Nevada’s Latino population growth. There was a lag since the first large immigrant waves were not naturalized citizens and thus ineligible to vote. By the 2008 election the Nevada Latino electorate had started to make its mark at 15 percent of Nevada’s voters. And in the last eight years there has been an increase of 70 percent in the Latino eligible voter electorate – they now make up about 17 percent of the prospective voters. And with the high number of millennials the electoral footprint of the community will not be slowing down anytime soon. Continue Reading

The Republican ‘Elefante’ in the Room

By DrVMDS on February 9, 2016

This piece first appeared on NBCnews.com

The election of the first Latino president (or vice president) is as close as ever, yet he/she could likely hail from the Republican Party. This is an uncomfortable truth for Latinos and trains the spotlight on a big elefante in the room.

Republican Latinos are seen as traitors or vendidos (sellouts). However, the majority of non-Republican Latinos willfully ignore the ideological diversity of our community.

We often hear that Democratic Latinos outnumber Republicans by two to one. This figure is misleading because it includes “leaners.” Leaners are Independents who are asked what party they would lean toward. Taking out the “leaner” Latinos, most Latinos, 44 percent, self-identify as Independent. The aggregate figures that are usually cited hide the truly Independent nature of Latinos. This independence is seen in instances such as the 2004 election when Republican President George W. Bush received over 40 percent of the Latino vote.

There’s a reason Latinos are considered swing voters. They have demonstrated that if they identify with a candidate, regardless of their partisanship they will support them. Continue Reading

MSNBC’s UP: The Digital Ground Game in Politics

By DrVMDS on February 1, 2016

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