Who made the list of Texans and Latinos at the DNC and RNC?

Texans, Latinos, and yes, Latino Texans. They were every bit present during the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. Their numbers may not have been large, but they made strong appearances, leaving memorable remarks.

The Los Angeles Times, which broke down the list of scheduled convention orators for us, found that the DNC had nearly twice as many and more diverse speakers than the RNC. Not surprising.

DNC had 133 speakers of which 43 percent were women and 44 percent were nonwhite, according to the LA Times. Meanwhile, the RNC had a total of 71 speakers, of which 35 percent were women and 20 percent were nonwhite.

So how many were Texan? Latino? And Texan Latino?

LA Times said six Latinos spoke at the RNC and I found more than 20 took the stage at the DNC. From Austinite Robert Rodriguez (in video above) to Ted Cruz, Latino Texans made for some of the most unforgettable appearances at both conventions.

And while the Los Angeles Times did not have a count of speakers from the Lone Star State, at least five spoke at the DNC and three at the RNC.

There’s no surprise to find the lists lopsided in Latino and minority representation. One need only look to the party platforms to see why. The parties differ on everything from health insurance coverage to college education with most Latinos favoring the Democratic positions. But perhaps the most stark difference is on immigration in which Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump calls for the deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants and the building of a wall stretching nearly the length of the southern border between Mexico. Hillary Clinton, the Democrats’ candidate, calls for comprehensive immigration reform.

So, who exactly showed up at the conventions? Here’s a list — and links to some of the speeches:

AT THE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION:

From Texas to the DNC:

  • U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (Houston) | Speech
  • Actress Eva Longoria (Corpus Christi) | Speech
  • Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez (Austin / San Antonio) | Speech
  • U.S. Representative Joaquín Castro (San Antonio) | Speech
  • Sheriff Lupe Valdez (Dallas) | Speech

Latino representation at the DNC:

  • U.S. Representative Raul Grijalva of Arizona
  • U.S. Representative Ruben Gallego of Arizona
  • Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti of California
  • Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, California
  • State Senate President Kevin de León of California
  • U.S. Representative Xavier Becerra of California
  • U.S. Representatives Linda and Loretta Sánchez of California
  • State House Majority Leader Crisanta Duran of Colorado
  • U.S. Representative Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois
  • State Senator Ruben Kihuen of Nevada
  • U.S. Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico
  • U.S. Representative Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico
  • Hillary for America Latino Vote Director Lorella Praeli
  • Civil rights leader Dolores Huerta, civil rights leader
  • National Education Association president Lily Eskelsen Garcia
  • Disability rights advocate Anastasia Somoza from New York
  • Immigration advocates mother and daughter Karla and Francisca Ortiz
  • DREAMer activist Astrid Silva
  • Jose Arraigada, speaking about the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting
  • Singer Demi Lovato
  • Actress America Ferrara
  • Musician Sheila E.

AT THE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION:

From Texas to the RNC:

  • Former Governor of Texas Rick Perry (Austin) | Speech
  • U.S. Representative Michael McCaul (Austin) | Speech
  • U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (Houston) | Speech

Latino representation at the RNC:

  • U.S. Senator Marco Rubio from Florida
  • Kentucky state senator Ralph Alvarado Jr.
  • Libre Initiative spokesperson Rachel Campos-Duffy

 

 

Can wave of citizenship applications hurt Trump? Maybe.

Julio Leon, left, collects study materials from Jose Franco during a naturalization workshop in Denver, Feb. 27, 2016. Donald Trump, a Republican presidential hopeful, has used harsh language against Mexican immigrants, compelling legal residents to seek citizenship in time to vote against him in November. (Theo Stroomer/The New York Times)
Julio Leon, left, collects study materials from Jose Franco during a naturalization workshop in Denver, Feb. 27, 2016. Donald Trump, a Republican presidential hopeful, has used harsh language against Mexican immigrants, compelling legal residents to seek citizenship in time to vote against him in November. (Theo Stroomer/The New York Times)

While the number of applications for naturalization generally rises during presidential election years, Donald Trump has provided an extra boost for just such efforts this year. All across the nation, the fear of a Trump presidency and its possible accompanying anti-immigrant policies have created urgency for thousands of immigrants to become U.S. citizens.

Throughout his campaign, Trump — despite describing Mexicans as drug-traffickers and rapists, pledging to build a border wall and vowing to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. — has assured us all that he has the Latino vote in his pocket because, well,  Latinos know he is a job creator. Really? A surge in naturalization applications suggests otherwise.

Motivated by the fear rooted in the harsh immigration rhetoric that’s become all too common in GOP presidential race, many Latino immigrants are taking the steps to become voters. [Now if only all Latinos eligible to vote in the U.S. felt as compelled, Latinos would finally be that force so many politicians fear. (I’ll come back to that point in a separate commentary at a later date.)]

Figures from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services show a 14.5 percent jump in naturalization applications between June-December of 2015 compared with the same six months in the previous year. And that pace speeds up every week. Advocates estimate applications could approach one million in 2016, about 200,000 more than the average in recent years, reported the New York Times.

While much of the citizenship movement have been reported in Colorado, Florida and California, there has been a significant uptick in applications in Texas as well.

In San Antonio, a citizenship workshop in September drew approximately 400 people — up from the 150 to 200 that normally show up, Liliana Mireles, a regional program manager of civic engagement for the NALEO Educational Fund told Texas Tribune reporter Alexa Ura.

In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Proyecto Inmigrante, which typically helps about 1,000 legal residents apply for naturalization each year, has already has already helped 900 in 2016, the group’s director told Ura.

There is no hard deadline to apply for immigrants set on  voting in November, but with approval of naturalization applications taking about five months, immigrant groups in Texas are urging folks to get applications in by April 15 to allow new citizens time to register to vote.

Those who become citizens by then will then have to clear two more hurdles: registering to vote and showing up to the poll. Until each one of those ‘must-do’ boxes are checked, the opportunity to have a voice will go unheard.

 

Here’s why we are not endorsing in the presidential race

GOP 2016 Debate
In the Republican primary races, Texas’ largest newspapers split endorsements last weekend between  Ohio Gov. John Kasich, left, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, pictured here during the CBS News Republican presidential debate in Greenville, S.C. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Over the weekend editorial boards in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio weighed in with their presidential primary endorsements. On the Democratic side, the message was unanimous — vote for Hillary Clinton, warts and all.

On  the Republican side, the results were more varied: The Dallas Morning News made its case for Ohio Gov. John Kasich; while San Antonio and Houston picked former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. But one message unified the three: Please, please, for the love of God, don’t pick Ted Cruz or Donald Trump, and let pragmatism prevail.

Here’s a bit from the Dallas Morning News endorsement that hit the internet on Friday and was printed on Sunday:

As much as we’d like to see a Texan in the White House, we fear that Cruz’s brand of politics is more about disruption than governing and threatens to take the Republican Party to a dark place. As we’ve written before, continuing obstructionist paths might excite primary voters, but it won’t benefit the nation or the conservative cause.

All the hubbub left those who watch such things wondering where the American-Statesman’s presidential endorsement might be. The short answer is that there won’t be one.

We didn’t endorse in 2012, and we won’t be endorsing in the presidential races in March or in November.

Why? In a political cycle that has already generated more heat than light, even with the talents of our writers, it is unlikely that we would unearth any new nugget that might sway readers from one candidate to the other. The presidential candidates do not sit down with our editorial board, so we are operating off the same sources of information and sound bites as the average voter. This year, very few of the presidential campaigns even bothered to fill out our voters guide.

Anyone who has read our columns and blogs over the past two years may not know for sure what primary we may vote in as individuals, but our institutional values are fairly clear. And in a world where national commentary and presidential election news are produced daily by the truckload, I have great confidence that our readers will be able to sort out where and who they stand with on the presidential race.

So, to that end, we’ve doubled down on what we do best — provide insight on our state and local races. Our last endorsement, on the area’s Congressional races will run in print Tuesday, coinciding with the start of early voting.

The choice has allowed us to dig deep into the Travis County and Williamson County District Attorney’s races, as well as the race to replace State Rep. Elliott Naishtat. The past two election cycles our endorsements have tried to shed as much light as possible on the rationale behind our choices, which is just as important for voters as the choices themselves.

One of the first-time candidates we interviewed this election season asked, “How do you decide?”

We decide based on the values you see on these pages on a daily basis: a commitment to transparency, fiscal responsibility, voter accountability, leadership, experience, knowledge of the community, respect for the rule of law, an orientation toward social justice, decisions based on verifiable information rather pure ideology, a strong work ethic, trustworthiness and an understanding of the responsibilities of representative government.

We don’t always get it right; but that’s the lens we use. It’s not a secret formula; there is no secret handshake. These are the qualities that have served Central Texas well. And it provides a clear framework in this very messy business of politics.

Click here for links to all of our endorsements for the March 1 primary

Latino voters are watching

(RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
(RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

If the results of the Iowa caucuses are any indication, candidates may want to start changing their tunes a little and focusing more of their attention on Latinos.

The League of United Latin American Citizens, one of several groups nationwide trying to increase Latino voter participation, said Monday they hit their goal of getting at least 10,000 Latino Iowans to pledge to participate, reported NBC Latino.

And just as analysts and media experts use the Iowa caucuses as a guide to predict how the rest of the nation will vote, so do candidates use the caucuses to woo more voters. Candidates who have waged anti-Hispanic rhetoric or who have chosen to err on the side of caution by avoiding specific topics important to Latinos may want to reconsider their strategies. From the looks of it, Latinos will be coming out to vote, and in droves.

Ten thousand Latinos showed up to have their voices heard in Iowa, up from 1,000 in 2012. And if efforts continue, the number will be even higher on election day in November as the League of United Latin American Citizens has identified 50,000 Latino registered voters in that state. Mind you, Hispanics make up only 5.6 percent, or 174,000 individuals, of the Iowa state population. Those may seem like small numbers next to Texas, where one of every four eligible voters is Hispanic (and where the Hispanic population tops 10 million). So Iowa’s results should not go unnoticed.

How did Latinos in Iowa vote? Exit polls showed that Latinos were 4 percent — 6,840 of 171,000 — of Democratic caucus participants and 2 percent — 3,700 of 185,000 — of Republican participants. The total: 10,540.

Which Democratic or Republican candidates Latino Iowans voted for is still unclear. What is known is that the one candidate who could have connected solidly with Latinos, as my American-Statesman colleague James Barragan pointed out, is no longer in the running: Democrat Martin O’Malley.

A former governor of Maryland, O’Malley called for criminal justice reforms in areas that disproportionately affect people of color and proposed investing more in job-training programs and restoring voting rights to people with felony records who had served their penalties. And, unlike other candidates — Democrats and Republicans — O’Malley offered the most immigrant friendly agenda, including proposing expanding due process protections in the immigration system. Yet, he was able to win only 0.6 percent of the Democratic caucus.

In tight primary races and caucuses, every vote will matter. The Latino vote could make a difference. Various Hispanic voter registration and “get-out-and-vote” drives have been ongoing throughout the country, including in Texas. Those efforts should help improve the number of Latinos who make it to the polls.

To win those votes, however, candidates will have to make a more concerted effort to reach Hispanic voters.

In 2013, 25 percent of Texas Hispanic voters said they were contacted by campaigns or organizations encouraging them to vote, according to a 2014 report from the polling company Latino Decisions. The national average was 31 percent that same year.

Then there is the issue of language. Candidates who refuse to connect with voters in Spanish are making a big mistake. The Pew Research Center reported that 25 percent of Hispanics speak “only English,” and 30 percent of Latinos speak both English and Spanish, while 38 percent speak primarily in Spanish.

With plenty of time to garner Latino support, Marco Rubio, whose parents immigrated from Cuba, and Jeb Bush, whose wife was born in Mexico, have an edge over other candidates with their Spanish fluency. Though he is Latino, Ted Cruz — whose father also immigrated from Cuba — may have a harder time, not for his lack of Spanish fluency (he speaks none at all), but for what some consider anti-Latino policies. The opposite effect may occur if Hillary Clinton were to win the Democratic candidacy and, as rumors suggest, select Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro as her running mate. Castro does not speak Spanish but can effectively connect voters through his personal Mexican American experience.

Hispanic millennials will account for nearly half or 44 percent of the record 27.3 million Hispanic eligible voters projected for 2016, according to the Pew Research Center’s analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. For that set of voters, that number is greater than any other comparable group of voters of any racial or ethnic group, according to the report. Parental influence undoubtedly will play a role in how some of these young adults, many of whom come from Spanish-speaking households, will vote. After all, the majority of young Americans share their parents’ social and political ideology, or so says a Gallup study.

Make no mistake, Latinos are taking notice of who is listening to them.