Monthly Archives: November 2016

9 posts

New Reality Begins to Set In

qtq80-bD7gHG
A new reality is beginning to set in but we don’t know what it looks like yet except a lot of people are seeing red. /Go Daddy stock photo

A new reality is beginning to set in one week after the presidential election. The country appears to be poised to tear at the seams after a divisive presidential election filled with hateful rhetoric.

Here are some ironies and random thoughts.

The same people who rail about John Mica losing his congressional seat to inexperienced newcomer Stephanie Murphy say nothing about the entire country being run by an inexperienced Donald Trump-come-lately.

About 22 years ago Mica was a freshman congressman. We have all been freshman – in high school, perhaps in college. We like to think we all start at the bottom and work our way up, but that’s not true. Here’s a solid example: Trump, a man who has held no elected office, represents a special kind of dispensation, a special kind of affirmative action.

But it’s funny how things work out. Mica’s name is being bandied about as a potential Transportation secretary, allowing the 70-odd year old to spend many more years as a Washington insider, bringing home the pork we all hate, except when it’s for us.

Off to the Races

 The dust hasn’t settled and already Seminole people are actively recruiting a Republican opponent to run against Murphy in 2018. Although I disagree, here’s a true confession: Democrats, this is how you win elections – by recruiting early and often. But  I see in this shades of then Senate Minority Leader (now Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell stating that his job was to make sure Barack Obama was a one-term president. Obstructionism followed. A reminder to all of what McConnell said this past week about the GOP sweep, “Elections are not forever.”

• Republican State Rep. Bob Cortés,  just re-elected to a second term in Tallahassee, is one name bandied about to challenge Murphy. Cortés won by about 52 percent each in the two-county, Seminole-Orange House District 30, a respectable showing considering that Orange is decidedly blue. Cortés, of course, is Hispanic – Puerto Rican, to be exact. If he were to run for Congressional District 7, it would be a Trojan horse candidacy aimed at dividing the Latino vote. That’s exactly what happened when he challenged incumbent Karen Castor Dentel for his first term. The fact is, many Hispanics are eager to see other Hispanics in office and will cross party lines to do it. Hence, the promise of a Cortés’ candidacy to keep the GOP’s hope alive.

Flattery May Get You Somewhere

• To all the GOP people who say they’re not interested in running for Mica’s old seat: Stop it already. Just stop. It rings false. Marco Rubio said no to Senate re-election until he said . Plus, political flattery can make anyone think they can walk on water. Only the strong survive.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence has been elevated to be “the new Dick Cheney.” My friends, there is no comfort in that, no comfort at all, considering how Cheney and his inner circle got us into a bad war. Are they saying that Pence is Trump’s brain?

Imagine

•  America almost went crazy this year because Malia Obama may have toked on a joint at a festival with friends. It blew over when folks realized, hey, Baby Boomers are legalizing pot everywhere. Oops!  But  imagine if Malia or First Lady Michelle Obama had nude photos all over the Internet as Melania Trump does? Would lightning and thunder ever cease?

• Europe: Spare me the lecture and condolences. I’m not having that from the Brexit people. Same goes for Colombia, whose voters nixed a peace agreement with the FARC rebel forces. Nope.

Thanks But No Thanks

Thank you but no, I ain’t wearing no safety pin on my lapel, meant to indicate that the wearer might feel in danger in this new America because of their religion, nationality or other status. The Democratic Party truly is bankrupt if this is the best Cong. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida can come up with.

I know a lot of people who feel anxious, myself included, due to the election outcome and 15 months of Trump campaign smack talk. Will he really do this or that?  I’ll wait for the evidence. If you really want to do some good, go volunteer some place.

Stop the bawling already. The election was a true shocker, and for no one more than Donald Trump and fellow Republicans who expected a loss. But they broke it and now they own it. Trump is looking positively frightened – and chastened.

A recent news story stated that Trump told Chris Christie he didn’t expect to last beyond October 2015 in the GOP primary season. But he outlasted everyone – including 16 other Republicans far, far, far more qualified than he – and won squarely if not fairly. Don’t boo-hoo; instead, do something. Trump, in true fashion, won’t be chastened for long.

Reality Check

• To protest or not to protest?  It’s your Constitution-given right to free speech and freedom of association. Go ahead, if it makes you feel better or if you must. But protest without an end game or action is … bawling.

˜˜Maria Padilla, Editor

Did Latinos Vote for Donald Trump?

early-vote-line-hoffner
An early voting line at the Hoffner library in Orange County. /Maria Padilla

Did Latinos vote for Donald Trump? And by what margin?

Pollsters are having a food fight trying to answer that question. Expectations were high that Latinos would vote against Trump in large numbers and this would be a major factor in Hillary Clinton’s supposed victory.

Well, high numbers of Hispanics did vote and Clinton won the popular vote.

Bit Hispanic pollsters, political analysts and others have taken umbrage at the exit-poll suggestion that 29 percent of Latinos nationwide voted for Trump, stating the number is too high.

But it’s plausible.

Not Monolithic

Latinos are a mosaic of political interests and persuasions, owing to the complex demographic make-up of Hispanics – 16 or so different ethnicities, foreign-born vs. U.S. born, newcomers vs. fourth- and fifth-generation Hispanic, Spanish speakers vs. non-Spanish speakers, and more. Frankly, the nuances maintain afloat Republicans’ hope that the party can capture a chunk of the Latino vote.

In comparison, the African American vote is more monolithic and reliably Democrat. Only 9.4 percent of the U.S. black population is foreign-born, according to the census. But the Latino foreign-born population is four times that.

Of course, faith in polling went kerplunk this election cycle. Exactly how Latinos voted won’t be clear until the census provides a glimpse of presidential voting patterns based on race, gender, ethnicity and more, according to the Pew Research Center. But that is a long way off.

Numbers Crunching

Meantime, here are a few numbers-crunching nuggets – yes, based on election day and exit polls, as well as actual voting data – with a specific look at Florida.

Nugget No. 1: A lower percentage of Florida Latinos supported Clinton, versus other states.

In the Univision pre-election November poll of Latinos in Florida, Arizona and Nevada, 60 percent of Florida Latinos said they planned to vote for Clinton, the lowest percentage of the three states. Nevada polled at 72 percent, while Arizona was 67 percent. The Florida voter exit poll numbers, part of state and national exit polls conducted by a consortium of news organizations, were close.

In the Florida voter exit poll Latinos voted 62 percent for Clinton, while 35 percent went for Trump. Or, just slightly higher than the Univision poll predicted.

Puerto Ricans and Cubans

Nugget No. 2: Puerto Ricans and Cubans polled – and voted – distinctly different.

According to the Univision poll, about 71 percent of Puerto Ricans said they planned to vote for Clinton while only 42 percent of Cubans planned to do so. Meanwhile, 49 percent of Cubans planned to cast a ballot for Trump, versus only 19 percent for Puerto Ricans.

univision-fla-by-heritage

The exit poll of Florida voters showed a close correlation: 41 percent of Cubans voted for Clinton, while 71 percent of “other Latino” – presumably mostly Puerto Rican – supported Clinton. 

Miami-Dade vs. Osceola

How did Puerto Ricans and Cubans actually vote?

Using Osceola and Miami-Dade counties as proxies  – Puerto Ricans are the majority or plurality of Hispanics in Osceola, while Cubans are in Miami-Dade –  about 60.4 percent of Osceola voted for Clinton, while 63.6 percent did so in Miami-Dade, according to state Division of Elections results.

Why is the figure higher in Miami-Dade?

Very likely because the liberal non-Hispanic white vote boosted Clinton in Miami-Dade, while the opposite is true in Osceola, where non-Hispanic whites tend to be more conservative.

Rubio Breakdown

Nugget No. 3: Cubans and non-Hispanic whites pushed Sen. Marco Rubio over the top.

Looking at the breakdown in the Marco Rubio vote, both Osceola and Miami-Dade voted against the incumbent Republican U.S. senator, by nearly equal percentages, according to the state Division of Elections.

In Osceola 54.5 percent voted for Democrat Patrick Murphy, while in Miami-Dade 54.6 percent did so, according to state elections data.

In the Florida exit poll, 50 percent of Latinos voted for Murphy, while 48 percent supported Rubio.

But the split along Hispanic ethnic lines was stark.

The Florida exit poll showed that 68 percent of Cubans voted for Rubio, while just 39 percent of “other Latinos” did. Among non-Hispanic whites, 60 percent voted for Rubio.

This suggests that Cubans were more united in support of Rubio but more fragmented or divided for Clinton. Cubans and non-Hispanic whites boosted Rubio’s re-election, making up for his loss among Latinos in general – a loss likely pulled down by Puerto Rican voters. Otherwise, it would have been a slam dunk for the Cuban-American senator.

˜˜Maria Padilla, Editor

It’s Mourning in America

mourning-ribbon

It is mourning in America.

The nation woke up to a funeral for what could have been or should have been, a novena for the deceased, a rosario for the living whose souls must flicker on.

‘We should have all lit a candle yesterday,” my mom said, disappointed in the election results. My Latino friends will understand.

Friends and family have taken to social media to deliver a post-election outpouring of emotion, following the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States. It’s a day like only – and thankfully – a few others: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy or Martin Luther King Jr.; the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers; Hurricane Charley, followed by Frances, Ivan and Jeanne in 2004 in Florida.

Always Remember

You’ll never forget where you were and what you were doing when struck by the news or event.

“I will remember what today feels like for the rest of my life,” wrote a friend on Facebook.

Facebook and other social media have been an endless trail of tears, recriminations, even a fighting word or two among  foes.

Following are some expressions of grief from the “Legacy” book of this election. The authors shall remain nameless.

Aching Hearts in America

A mis hermanos y hermanas en Puerto Rico. Se los dije,” wrote one Facebook friend. “Los Estados Unidos está más racista que nunca.” (My brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico, I told you so. The United States is more racist than ever.)

Me duele el corazón ante la realidad de lo que puede ser!” wrote another. (My heart hurts as I face the reality of what could happen.)

A male friend wrote flatly, “I hate Florida.”

A female posted a prescription for getting through the day, starting with “1 dose of eating your feelings, preferably pizza…”

Alternate Reality

The economist Robert Reich penned this, “Waking up this morning in an altered universe, trying to avoid despair, as I’m sure many of you are.”

“It still doesn’t feel real, and you can see it on people’s faces everywhere,” wrote a journalist.

“I’m feeling overwhelmed reading everyone’s posts about waking up today and trying to make sense of it all,” wrote female friend.

Some people still longed for Bernie Sanders. “Democrats lost because the Democratic party could not ever fathom, resisted, hated having Bernie represent them.”

A Democratic operative stated, “Blasting ‘My President is Black‘ until further notice,” referring to the song by the rapper Young Jeezy that includes this line: “Just cause you got opinions, does that make you a politician?”

One friend posted a meme of the Statue of Liberty with her hands covering her face in shame. Another a meme of Trump grabbing Lady Liberty by the crotch.

And stating the obvious, “Over the course of the last 24 hours we have gone from exhaustion to exhilaration to despair.”

How Do I Tell the Kids?

But the most touching posts focused on the effect on children or how parents would explain the election results to their kids.

“Testing at my daughters school was canceled…kids too distraught,” wrote a mom.

“I rebuke the so called in-bound president for instilling fear in my kids,” stated a mom.

And finally, this: “How can I tell my daughter that if she is a nice person and works hard she will succeed????”

Watch for more election analysis on Orlando Latino. 

˜˜Maria Padilla, Editor

Fresh Faces Win Central Florida Congressional Races

darren-soto
State Rep. Darren Soto is the first Puerto Rican from Florida to be elected to Congress.

Central Florida will send a number of fresh faces to Congress come January. All are Democrats.

They include State Rep. Darren Soto, who will represent Congressional District 9 and is the first Puerto Rican from Florida to head to Congress, a symbol of the growing Puerto Rican electorate. In addition, former Orlando police chief Val Demings will head Congressional District 10 and newcomer Stephanie Murphy pulled a major upset in Congressional District 7.

It is the most diverse congressional delegation that Central Florida has ever seen – thanks to the Fair Districts constitutional amendment championed by the League of Women Voters and others and that took years of litigation to implement.

Once in place, it changed the gerrymandered district lines away from Republicans to more fairly represent Democrats in those areas.

The Biggest Upset

stephanie-murphy
Stephanie Murphy

The biggest coup belonged to Stephanie Murphy, who won District 7 held by 12-term Republican Cong. John Mica, who complained of millions of dollars of “outside money” being poured into the district to defeat him. Certainly that is true; over $4 million was spent on behalf of Murphy.

But the redrawn district also picked up parts of Orange and Volusia counties, ending Mica’s 22 years of landslide GOP victories. In fact, Mica won Seminole County with 52 percent of the vote, but lost Orange County by about 20,000 votes.

As surprising and just as revealing, Donald Trump won “reliably red” Seminole by just 3,654 votes or 1.6 percentage points.

As political analyst Rick Fogelsong repeated earlier and on Election Night, “Seminole County is turning purple.”

Local Races

In state races:

Mercado-Torres
Víctor Torres and Amy Mercado.

State Rep. Víctor Torres (D) won State Senate District 15, previously held by Soto and which covers Osceola and parts of Orange and Polk counties.

• Amy Mercado (D) was the victor in State House District 48 in Orange County. Mercado and Torres are the first father-daughter and Hispanic team to go to Tallahassee.

• John Cortés (D) was re-elected to State House District 43, representing Osceola County.

• Carlos Guillermo Smith (D) will head up State House District 49, which covers Orange County.

• Bob Cortés (R) retained State House District 30, which includes parts of Orange and Seminole.

• René Plasencia (R) captured State House District 50, covering Brevard and Orange counties.

Orange County

emily-bonilla
Emily Bonilla

Emily Bonilla also pulled a surprise 57 percent upset against incumbent Ted Edwards for a seat on the Orange County Commission, District 5.  Edwards was weakened by his support of a massive housing development east of the Econlockhatchee River, for years considered the line in the sand for protecting east Orange County’s fragile ecosystem.

Bonilla becomes the first Latina – and Puerto Rican – since Mildred Fernández to be on the Orange County Commission. Fernández was convicted on charges of illegal campaign contributions in 2012 and was sent to state prison. She cannot run for public office again.

Osceola County

image
José Alvarez

For the first time, Kissimmee’s fast-growing Hispanic population elected a Latino to be its mayor. José Alvarez earned a resounding victory over Art Otero, 63 percent vs. 37 percent, ending a very  contentious campaign that centered on whether Puerto Ricans would elect Cuban-American Alvarez over Puerto Rican Otero. They opted for Alvarez.

And despite being trailed by controversy early in his tenure as Osceola County Clerk of the Court, Armando Ramirez won re-election with 62 percent of the vote.

Watch Orlando Latino for more 2016 elections coverage.  

˜˜Maria Padilla, Editor