Daily Archives: November 9, 2016

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It’s Mourning in America

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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

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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

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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:

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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

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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

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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

Florida Returns to Red

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Donald Trump, shown in an earlier campaign event, turned Florida red, winning by 120,000 votes. /Trump campaign photo

Florida turned a shade of red on election night, boosting Donald Trump over the finish line with a 120,000-vote lead and 29 electoral votes, the biggest cache of any battleground state.

The vote lead is larger than President Barack Obama‘s 74,000 re-election win in Florida in 2012, but not as high as Obama’s over 200,000-vote Sunshine State margin in 2008.

Third-party ticket Gary Johnson-Bill Weld grabbed 2 percent of Florida’s vote or 206,000 ballots. That is more than double the 97,000 votes that Ralph Nader generated in 2000 which boosted George W. Bush into the White House in the 2000 elections.

The third-party vote was higher than for Ralph Nader in 2000. 

Narrow Florida Win

It was a narrow win for Trump in Florida – 49 percent vs. 48 percent for Democrat Hillary Clinton – one that lays bare a very divided Florida electorate. It’s white people vs. everyone else, it seems.

It’s not that Latinos did not vote. It’s that whites voted more. Although the white share of the Florida electorate is shrinking, white voters came out to vote in droves. That made all the difference in returning Florida to red.

Florida voter turnout was high across the board, according to the Florida Division of Elections – 74 percent of registered voters cast a ballot,  a good thing.

But turnout in red counties was more decisive – 84 percent in Baker County (Panhandle), 84 percent in Sumter (The Villages), 86 percent in Collier (southwest). In Central Florida the figure was 78 percent in reliably red Seminole County. Even big-blue Volusia County turned red. How’d that happen?  

Compare that with 71 percent turnout in Orange and 72 percent in Osceola – great numbers  in any election year  – but not enough to overcome the Republican/conservative votes elsewhere in Florida.

Watch for more analysis, specifically voter demographic numbers and the mood in Florida, on Orlando Latino. 

˜˜Maria Padilla, Editor