If Latinos and African-Americans Deliver the Election, What Will Change?

latino-vote-2New Orleans   Every current indication is that early voting from Latinos is soaring to unprecedented levels in Nevada, North Carolina, and Florida, while African-American early voting is significant, though lower than the record levels of participation achieved in the excitement of electing and retaining Barack Obama as the first African-American president. If the early trend manifests itself on Election Day, there will be political capital banked by both constituencies and debts owed to these blocks of voters. It’s fair to ask, will they be taken for granted, or will they see some payback on their issues and concerns? What’s the point of being a firewall, if there’s not a deep moat of benefits to come?

In 2008 after the Obama election, I can clearly remember the period between election and inauguration day when the sharp elbows of many constituencies and countless lobbyists tried to squeeze their priorities into the small handful of initiatives that would be prioritized in the first one-hundred days. I was giving a hand to the national immigration reform campaign and some of the larger state-based efforts in Maryland and Illinois. Tactically, we wanted to push Obama hard from the first day, including a mass mobilization on Inaugural Day to push immigration reform to the top of the agenda, but the action ended up being more modest with a bit over 1500 on the cold Washington, D.C. streets once the rug was pulled out from under some of the national groups, largely by funders pulling the strings and wanting to give Obama some time to set his pace before pushing. It took time, but Obama finally reversed his own course and delivered some relief though most of it is still contested by Republicans and the right, and tenuous as we face another term with millions hanging on the wire.

No one seems to think there is a honeymoon waiting for either candidate, and if Hillary Clinton wins, as is widely expected, there even seems to be a hard core group burrowing into their caves, Taliban-like, and preparing to resist Clinton on everything from Supreme Court appointments to all other policies, while threatening to convene more hearings and even making crazy talk about impeachment before she is even elected. Not only is this not a honeymoon, but it’s more like one of those never consummated marriages that ends up seeking annulment within weeks. Clinton’s notion that she will be able to wheel-and-deal with former Senate colleagues with some adult beverages after hours sure seems improbable.

South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham is now saying that Trump almost single-handedly is creating a voting block for Democrats in the Latino community. Is that a signal that there may be sufficient traction among Republicans to finally make a deal that has some value on immigration? There are bound to be right strategists and tacticians of the old Bush camps who understand that Republicans could lose Latino votes for a generation, without a positive initiative towards Latinos.

It sure seems unlikely given the way that Trump has drum beaten to build his base on the right based on immigration, but as the commentators keep saying, at least there’s a narrow path towards change. One thing is very clear. Attention must be paid, and there has to be debts settled to these major groups or, mark my words, there are days coming where this base will be as estranged from the Democrats as much of the Republican base is now alienated from their leadership and party.

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Trump May Be Rebuilding the Women’s Movement

from bitchmedia.com

from bitchmedia.com

New Orleans    In spite of himself Donald Trump may launch a sea change in the way that American women are dealt with in both private and public by serving as a poster boy for how much American men say they have changed, and how little they have actually changed. He has made no special effort to make this huge contribution. He has just done what comes naturally to him.

I didn’t watch the debate. I saw a soundless minute or two changing airplanes around the world. Just enough to see Trump talking and Clinton grinning like the cat who had swallowed the canary. I have never seen the word “manterruption” before, and I may be misspelling it and not saying it correctly now, but thanks to thousands of stories about the most watched debate in US-history, all of us immediately know what it means and how it works. Women are rallying behind the banner of “I told you so,” with fingers pointed at Trump’s performance and his constant efforts to talk over Clinton, to interrupt her as she spoke, and uncontrollably feel driven to respond, even unwisely, to her points.

Single-handedly, Trump has proven why no amount of “leaning in” will ever work with many men, especially those with wealth and power, because they just don’t respect or care what women have say. Period. They like the eye candy, but such men don’t want a whole lot more than that.

And, as Trump has abundantly proven, such men and many, many like them it seems from the level of his continued support, will say they love women and shout down any naysayers, but when it comes right down to it they don’t know what to do with them or have much interest in figuring it out. For Trump and his team it’s still the 50’s, and it’s a man’s world. They never understood the rest of the James Brown line that “it would be nothing without a woman or a girl.”

In the same way that Black Lives Matter and the ruthlessness of police has grabbed the country by the shirt collar and shaken the pretense of progress on race to reveal how much systemic racism is still crippling the country, Trump will launch a million water cooler and kitchen table discussions about how deep seeded sexism remains throughout the country, high and low. In voices soft and loud, there will be tens of millions of women reminding men to not “go Trump” on them when they have something to say and need to be heard. Those women will find the opportunity to remind the men in their lives, sons, brothers, partners, and colleagues that they need to get right on this issue before they humiliate themselves and become pariahs among women. You know, like Trump did.

That’s the problem with this whole fake issue of “political correctness.” That’s camouflage being worn by Trump and some of his supporters as a claim that the problem is language, and not the beliefs themselves. No matter what lipstick you put on a pig, it’s still a pig. No matter how you dress up sexism and racism, these diseases are still viral it seems throughout our society, and Trump is proving in his candidacy and campaign that they are popular and pronounced. Every time he opens his mouth, interrupts, and spouts his “tell it like it is” racism and misogyny, he is also sending messages that repel good people everywhere and move them to recoil in horror and humiliation, and vow to change themselves and force others to do so as well.

When all of this is said and done, we may owe him some inadvertent and unearned thanks for showing all of us how we should never be and helping those silenced to raise their voices for change.

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