What are the Democratic Candidates Saying about Latinos?

Foto: Rosario Dawson. starmagazine.com

Written by Carla Saskia Sanchez. Student of Political Science from Florida State University.

Tallahassee, Florida.

As they prepare for the first Presidential Debate of 2015, the Democrat Party candidates are heating up the stage and getting ready to meet with the growing population of American voters – Hispanics.

Self-declared “Democratic Socialist” Bernie Sanders is the Independent Senator from Vermont. This is the revolutionary-type people’s politician who stands against corporate America. Sanders is the voice for more taxing on the rich, raising the minimum wage, and even providing free college education to everyone. He’s definitely one-of-a-kind and is not afraid to address those tough social issues and much needed change.

Sanders offers spectacular proposals for students and workers alike. He is an ardent advocate of raising the minimum wage, with an aim to lift all workers out of poverty. As for students, he’s tackling one of the biggest problems directly. “We must make certain that every person in this country who has the ability and desire can get all the education they need – regardless of the income of their family,” writes Bernie on his official campaign website (go.berniesanders.com). What does this mean for Latinos?

This month, Bernie got close to Hispanic voters at a rally in Tucson, Arizona, where he was welcomed by mariachi bands. Needless to say, he was bold – directly attacking racism and recognizing that Hispanics living in the United States are indeed American. Bernie also stated that in fact, “immigrants are doing the hardest work.” He is also an avid supporter of the DREAMers. His immigration reform focuses on keeping families together, protecting the nation’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants from deportation, and most importantly – making education affordable and available. These promises will undoubtedly benefit the Latino community in the United States.

Sanders is showing lots of appreciation for Hispanic voters, such as attending the Iowa Hispanic Heritage Festival in September, and hosting a Questions and Answers session with Univision – in Spanish. Raul Grijalva, US representative and member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, announced his unconditional endorsement for Bernie just this past week. Let’s hope more Latinos learn more about Bernie and how he can help immigrants and Hispanic families looking for a better life in the United States.

Despite Bernie’s popularity among democratic activists, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton still has the lead, with over 46% voter preference in Florida (Newsweek U.S.). A First Lady, Hillary needs no introduction. Amidst scandals and criticism, Mrs. Clinton keeps her head high in the presidential race. She launched “Latinos for Hillary” not too long ago, aimed at winning the Hispanic vote. However, her support among Latinos is blurred. Juana Aguilar, a Hillary supporter in Las Vegas, admits that she’ll only vote for Hillary “because she’s a woman” (Latin Times). With supporters who know her name and face but are unsure of Hillary’s proposals for Hispanics, what can we expect?

Unfortunately, Hillary says she’d be “less aggressive in deporting illegals” (Washington Times), but is still receiving money and funding from private prisons, which are known to target undocumented immigrants and send them straight to deportation. The Latino youth’s response? “We’re not buying it!”

The less known candidates – Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chaffee, racking up less than 5% each (Huffington Post), have yet to address Hispanic voters directly. With nearly impossible chances at winning nomination, these candidates have a lot of issues to confront.

Who do you hope should be our next President? Let us know!



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