Monthly Archives: July 2016

5 posts

Wrapping Up the Democratic National Convention

Clinton and Kaine
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine on the last night of the Democratic National Convention. /photo courtesy Hillary Clinton-Facebook

Here, in order, are  my comments about the Democratic National Convention published in the Orlando Sentinel‘s online Daily Convention Edition. Each day the writers who comprise the Central Florida 100 answered the questions who won, who lost and added a quote or tweet of the day.

In another post I’ll analyze more closely the Democratic National Convention.

˜˜Maria Padilla, Editor

Day One

Who won? Bernie Sanders won the night followed closely by Michelle Obama.

One moment Sanders can come off as a sap and another moment a superhero. “The revolution will continue” past Election Day, he said to great applause, a reflection of the affection his supporters have for him. But Sanders continued his speech as if he were at a campaign rally, as if he hadn’t lost the primary campaign — which is exactly what his supporters wanted to hear. He eventually and sporadically pivoted to Hillary Clinton.

Sanders was clearly glorying in his moment, talking of future generations, as did Michelle Obama, who mentioned by name only Hillary Clinton and took several swipes at Donald Trump, including the Republican’s penchant for reducing policy and politics to 142 characters. Michelle Obama rarely disappoints, delivering good speeches during previous conventions and Democrats clearly love her.

Who lost? Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was booed and booted in a spectacular loss of power and prestige that was a long time coming. Wasserman-Schultz is a bulldog, and attack dogs make enemies. Lots of them. Attorney John Morgan, with whom she had a run-in over medical marijuana, did a happy dance on Twitter at her fall. It is surprising Wasserman-Schultz lasted as long as she did as Democratic National Committee chair. The Demos should have taken seriously Bernie Sanders’ earlier advice to ditch her, which would have avoided the pre-convention mess. For a split second, the convention threatened to become unglued, but miraculously quieted down as the night progressed.

Quote of the day “@DWStweets are you still against #MedicalMarijuana? Clinton and Trump aren’t. Nor is your opponent @Tim_Canova! #YesOn2″ — Attorney John Morgan.

Read what others had to say: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/central-florida-100/os-a-big-hunk-of-bernie-love-as-dnc-chair-booed-booted-cf100-convention-watch-20160725-htmlstory.html

Day Two

Who won? Hillary Clinton won the night as the first woman to be the presidential nominee of a major political party. The moment harked back to 1984, when Minnesota Democrat Walter Mondale picked Geraldine Ferraro — also representing New York, by the way — as his VP on the ticket. It was a big deal then as now, except the silliness of 1984 — will Mondale and Ferraro hold hands? Yes, that was a real concern, believe it or not — has been replaced with gravitas.

The nomination process also got a boost as each state voted during the roll call, making it clear to Bernie Sanders’ supporters that Clinton won not only the popular vote but also the delegate vote. Sanders was classy in defeat. The Mothers of the Movement were powerful in their testimony, reminding all that it’s not about politics it’s about pain. The Man from Hope, Bill Clinton, spoke of a lifetime of memories, a former president supporting a potential future president and they happen to be spouses. Historic.

Who lost? Bill Clinton’s health. His hands trembled throughout his speech, raising questions about whether he’s OK. And time was a loser, because Bill Clinton’s speech ran a tad longer — about 43 minutes total — than it should have, a perennial problem. At one point, he even glanced down at his watch.

Read what others had to say: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/os-bernie-goes-all-in-spouse-in-chief-bill-laudss-his-change-agent-20160726-htmlstory.html

Day Three

Who won? Face it: President Barack Obama was the star of the night. Democrats love him. Everybody else was just a warm-up act, except maybe Vice President Biden, whose regular Joe persona had just the right touch of anger and exasperation. Obama was generous in his praise, stating there has never been anybody more qualified for president than Hillary Clinton. He said of Donald Trump, “The choice isn’t even close.” Obama is still seeking “a more perfect union,” which is what got him elected president. He didn’t have to say much else. Meanwhile, it seemed to take a while for vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine to warm up. Then he hit his stride with “believe me” and “not one word.” Artists with celebrity power provided a kumbaya moment, singing “What the world needs now.”

Who lost? In a spectacular stumble, Donald Trump, always eager to grab a headline, asked Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails, probably the first time a presidential candidate has invited a foreign power to commit a crime against the U.S. and interfere in a domestic election. It doesn’t get any worse than that. On another note, not sure if Tim Kaine is Hispandering by speaking Spanish — unless he speaks Spanish on a regular basis. Felt bad for former CIA chief Leon Panetta who was hit with the chant, “No more war!” But that’s the way it goes.

Quote of the day: How about word of the day? That would be “malarkey.”

Read what others had to say: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/central-florida-100/os-pride-passion-and-party-no-malarkey-prose-cons-and-dems-in-philadelphia-20160728-htmlstory.html

Final Night

Who won? Hillary Clinton, of course, is the first woman to be the presidential candidate of a major political party. It was her night. Period. I must add that the eloquence of President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, former President Bill Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama, is a hard act to follow. Hillary campaigns and, if elected, will govern in prose. But hand it to the woman, she’s got plans — lots of them! — and appeared to be having fun.

In an attempt to round out Hillary’s edges, it appeared she also might be running for Mother in Chief.

The Democratic Party won because it would have nominated a black man and a woman in succession for the presidency. Yes, these things matter. It’s 2016, after all. And because Donald Trump’s and the Republican Party’s vision is so dark, the Democratic Party has become the party of “morning in America” versus “midnight in America.”

America won because it is one of the few industrialized nations that has never had a woman nominated or elected to the highest office of the land. Cultural diversity won because America in all its varied hues was present in Philadelphia, a refreshing counter to the disproportionately white delegation of the Republican convention.

Celebrities won because the A-list was out in full force at the convention. It was fun but, seriously, people shouldn’t base their vote on celebrityhood.

Who lost? Chaos lost because, after it threatened to upend the convention on its very first day, it slinked away after it was allowed to vent. Its presence and absence made the convention stronger. The Republican Party because the Democrats put on a better convention with ideas.

In some ways political conventions lose because they really are long, carefully calibrated infomercials, not always short on substance but focused on glossed-over substance. Daily life lost out to our attachment to convention viewing. And now back to reality.

Quote of the day: “We are called upon by our democracy to be the moral defibrillators of our time.” Rev. William Barber, president, NAACP of North Carolina

Read what others had to say: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/os-hillary-for-mom-in-chief-smoothing-her-rough-edges-20160728-htmlstory.html

Wrapping Up the Republican National Convention

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Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and vice presidential nominee Mike Pence on the last night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. / photo courtesy RNC

As part of the Orlando Sentinel‘s Central Florida 100, participants were asked to provide nightly commentary about the Republican National Convention events and proceedings in Cleveland. Below is a compilation of my commentary published in the Orlando Sentinel online last week, with a link to all the commentaries. I look forward to critiquing the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia next week.

Before moving on, here are some parting thoughts about the “Hispandering” moments at the Republican convention in Cleveland.

Hispanics para Trump

There were few Latinos at the Republican convention (and even fewer blacks), in contrast to previous years. So it was suspicious when on the final night of the convention “Hispanics para Trump” and the “Latinos para Trump” signs popped up everywhere on the convention floor, most of them waved by nonHispanics. That’s a Hispandering moment –  trying to appear more Hispanic-friendly than you really are.

The signs also were incorrect. Not to get too technical but “Hispanic” is not a Spanish-language word. (And besides, it was created in the United States for census purposes.) It should have been “Hispanos.”  Apparently, not enough Latinos around to proofread.

I am not going to quibble, as others have, about whether it should have been “por Trump” or “para Trump.” Irrelevant, at least for me.

Ralph Alvarado

Kentucky State Sen. Ralph Alvarado gave a speech, partly in Spanish (excellent Spanish, too),  reminding Latinos that many have fled dictatorial rule in their homelands for freedom in the United States. It would have been a powerful appeal in any language – for another convention. The words fell flat at a convention in which the presidential candidate has demonized Latinos for over a year and who is threatening to become Strong Man of the United States. Hispandering moment: The Republican Party is not friendly to Latinos this year. Check the irony at the door.

Orlando Sentinel  Nightly Commentary

Monday Night

Who won? Anger and politics as entertainment won the night, as did loose lips and loose facts.

Who lost? The never Trump movement for its inability to rally at the convention to stop Donald Trump from becoming the Republican nominee. The Republican Party for doubling down on portraying undocumented immigrants, notably Hispanics, as criminals. Donald Trump for the shameful exploitation of the justifiable pain and anger of the parents who lost children. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for being scary crazy and out of control during his fear-mongering speech. The Republican Party, again, for having so few people of color among its delegates – reportedly only 18 blacks – in a country where nearly half the people are people of color. And the Republican Party one more time for turning a serious political debate-convention into a television reality show with third-rate actors.

Read what other Central Florida 100s had to say: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/os-ed-econ-vote-wrong-myword-071916-20160719-story.html

Tuesday Night

Who won? Donald Trump’s children Donald Jr. and Tiffany did not embarrass themselves or the candidate during prime-time speaking slots, after charges of plagiarism flew against wife Melania for cribbing off a 2008 speech by current first lady Michelle Obama. Paul Ryan managed to barely mention Donald Trump’s name during a speech that emphasized party unity for a party still very much divided.

Who lost? The economy lost Tuesday night, an evening that was supposed to be dedicated to making “America work again.” The slogan didn’t live up to its promise because nobody talked about the economy — how to grow it, how to create jobs, how to steady the lives of the underemployed and unemployed who have been left behind and are huge Donald Trump supporters. Instead, one by one, elected U.S. representatives and senators — who know little about how the economy works — stood before a substantially empty convention hall to talk about government, the very thing Republicans have spent decades badmouthing as ineffective, bloated and out of control. Where’s the plan for the economy? There was none. Because there is no plan, just empty words. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell lost because he was booed both times he came on stage.

Read what other Central Florida 100s had to say: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/central-florida-100/os-everyone-loves-donald-trump-jr-cf100-gop-convention-watch-20160719-htmlstory.html

Wednesday Night

Who won? Former astronaut Eileen Collins dared to speak of science and exploration before a Republican audience that increasingly is anti-science. Ted Cruz enjoyed great applause, gave his 2020 “acceptance speech” four years early and never endorsed Donald Trump. But Trump got his revenge by pushing Cruz offstage with his appearance in the convention hall.

Who lost? It was hard listening to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and not think of the Trump University complaints she failed to investigate and the $25,000 donation Bondi solicited from the Trump organization while the complaints were swirling. Bondi lacks credibility, and a whole lot of people know it, including the Twitterverse, which lit up with negative comments. Gov. Rick Scott spoke before Bondi, saying, “It’s time for all Americans to put down the partisan banners,” even as speaker after speaker has spent the week unfurling the flag of derision and division. Marco Rubio was too cowardly to appear at the convention in person, and too cowardly to skip it altogether, preserving his spot for 2020.

Read what other Central Florida 100s had to say: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/central-florida-100/os-boos-greet-cruz-pence-accepts-vp-slot-gop-in-cleveland-day-3-20160720-htmlstory.html

Thursday Night

Who won? John Kasich for remaining true to his word and being a complete no-show at the Republican convention that took place in his very own state of Ohio and which may take the GOP years to overcome.

Who lost? Following a night during which the Republican Party attempted to showcase some diversity – blacks, women, gay and Asian speakers – Donald Trump took the stage on the final night of the convention and continued trampling the truth about the hot-button issues of immigration, the primary vote total, chaos in the streets, crime, Iran, Syrian refugees, Clinton‘s email server and more, a raw appeal to mostly non-Hispanic whites, indicating that the earlier display of diversity was all cosmetic. It is 1968, and Richard Nixon‘s law-and-order mantra all over again. The code-talker used words like rigged, crime, race, Islamic terrorism, sanctuary cities, great border wall and voiceless people, a throwback to Nixon’s silent majority. “Things have to change and they have to change right now,” the strong man said, underscoring people’s fears and frustrations. To his credit, Trump didn’t repeat the chant “Lock her up!” But he and other nattering nabobs of negativism and doom and gloom certainly led the crowd there all week long. Trump simply dropped the balloons on it.

Quote of the day “I have nothing negative to say about Hillary. I have only amazing things to say about Donald.” — Tom Barrack, deputy interior undersecretary, Reagan administration. Imagine if Donald Trump’s team had followed Barrack’s advice from the outset. They might have made a stronger case for Trump. Barrack also did the best job of humanizing Trump.

Read what other Central Florida 100s had to say: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/os-the-donald-delivers-who-woulda-thunk-it-20160722-htmlstory.html

˜˜Maria Padilla, Editor

Few Latinos at the Republican Convention

GOP conv. logo

As the curtan is about to rise on one of the most anticipated Republican national conventions in a long while,  one of the questions that begs an answer is, will there be Latino participation and, if so, what will that look like?

The last Republican to win the White House – George W. Bush in 2000 – brought Mariachi music to the convention, held that year in Philadelphia where the Democrats will meet this year. It was a hamhanded, although apparently sincere attempt, at Hispanic outreach that was preceded by a “Change the Tone” whistle stop tour of California during which Bush focused on racial inclusion and even spoke some Spanish.

In truth, there weren’t many prominent Latinos with speaking slots in 2000, except for George P. Bush, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose wife Columba is Mexican.

Still, that year, Bush earned 34 percent of the Hispanic vote, according to Pew Hispanic Center. Four years later, he did even better, grabbing a 40 percent-share of the Latino vote – better than even Ronald Reagan‘s 37 percent in 1984, the year Reagan sought re-election. At the 1984 convention, Katherine Ortega, U.S. Treasurer and  a Latina originally from New Mexico, was the keynote speaker.

The 2004 Republican National Convention didn’t boast Latino speakers, except for Brian Sandoval, then Nevada attorney general and currently the state’s governor and Central Florida’s own Mel Martínez, elected to the U.S. Senate in that year’s November election.

In a fascinating and now supremely ironic twist,  Zell Miller, a conservative Democrat and then Georgia State senator, was the keynote speaker who had lamented earlier,. “I barely recognize my party anymore.”

Mitt Romney, meanwhile, had some prominent Hispanic speakers, including Sandoval, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (who introduce Romney), New Mexico Gov. Susana Martínez, then Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño and wife Luce Vela Fortuño, then U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz.

Harsher Tone

How things have changed.

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, takes center stage Monday as one of the most polarizing presidential candidates in modern times. He has spent months during the primary campaign alienating Latino voters, stating for instance that Mexicans are rapists and criminals, and that as president he will build a wall along the border with Mexico and make Mexico pay for it, among other things.

Having thus offended not only Mexicans but Hispanics in general as well as others, what Hispanic stands for Trump?  What Hispanic is scheduled to speak at the convention or has been asked to speak at the convention? Bear in mind that Trump esentially has ceded the Latino vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton, who polls show has an over 40-point lead among Hispanics versus Trump, according to a Pew Research Center poll.

The Republican National Committee finalized its convention plan today, Sunday. Combing through it, the first Latino and a Monday night prime time speaker is Mary Ann Mendoza, the mother of an Arizona police officer Brandon Mendoza who died in a crash involving a a drunk driver who was undocumented. She is described as an immigration reform advocate.

Mendoza is part of a night entitled  “Make America Safe Again,” which includes two other moms whose children were killed in an accident involving an undocumented immigrant or allegedly murdered by an undocumented immigrant. Their pain is real. However,  Trump appears to be  doubling down on the trope of Mexicans as criminals. 

Tuesday Night

There are no Latino speakers scheduled for Tuesday night whose theme is “Make America Work Again,” which is odd considering that Hispanics make up 16 percent of the U.S. labor pool or about one of every six workers,. The figure is higher in certain industries such as construction. Hispanic labor force participation is expected to rise to about 20 percent or one of every five workers in 2020, just four years from now, according to the Department of Labor.

Wednesday Night

This night of the Republican convention, or “Make America First Again,” showcases prominent Hispanics and former presidential primary rivals Florida Sen. Marco Rubio via satélite – after he said he wouldn’t appear at all –and  Ted Cruz.

Thursday Night

The final night of the Republican convention, “Make America One Again,” would seem an ideal night to demonstrate some measure of inclusiveness. There are no Latinos scheduled to speak.

Note: Donald Trump’s children – Ivanka, Eric, Tiffany, Donald Jr., as well as his wife Melania – have primetime  speaking slots.

˜˜Maria Padilla, Editor

New Latino Poll Shows Broad Support for Clinton

Hillary Meadow Woods resized
Hillary Clinton at a predominantly Latino rally last fall in Meadow Woods area of Orlando. /Maria Padilla

Pew Hispanic Research has published results from a new poll of political preferences among Latino registered voters and nonvoters, indicating broad support for Hillary Clinton. It doesn’t contain a lot of suprises but I’m posting some of the tables so readers can have an update. The poll was conducted between June 15 – 26, 2016.

 

Hillary Clinton has a significant advantage among Latino votes, one that Donald Trump may find very difficult to overcome.

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Contrary to popular opinion, immigration is not the top issue for Latino voters in general, although it may be for certain specific Hispanic groups – and this may differ in various parts of the country.  In fact, immigration is No. 4 on the list.

 

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Hete’s the most interesting finding: Latino support for Hillary Clinton differs based on English fluency. The more fluent in English, the lower the enthusiasm. Another fascinating finding: Millennial Hispanics greatly favor Hillary Clinton.

 

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˜˜Maria Padilla, Editor