News Release

Latino Vote in California: Trump’s Divisiveness and Clinton’s Policies



GABRIEL SAN ROMAN, donpalabraz[at],@gsanroman2

Gabriel San Roman is a journalist with OC Weekly and a former producer with KPFK radio in Los Angeles. He’s also the author of Venceremos: Victor Jara and the New Chilean Song Movement.

He was recently interviewed by The Real News in the segment “Could The Anti-Trump Latino Vote Tip the Scales in the California Primary?

He said: “In Latino politics, I think that there is definitely a reactive tone and that has to be accounted for, because when there is a demagogue like Donald Trump that gets people mobilized, that gets people motivated with his rhetoric being very divisive. His sloganeering is targeted towards our community and I saw that first hand reporting in Anaheim, Calif., from a Trump rally where a parking lot about three levels high was filled with Trump supporters chanting ‘build the wall,’ to a handful of protesters below. We know what that’s about.

San Roman notes that there have been protests by Latinos at Clinton events as well (see video in the above segment): “The protest at a Clinton event in East Los Angeles on May 5 represented an elevated political consciousness where we’re not reacting to divisive rhetoric but seeing policy for what it is, and if Hillary Clinton wants to continue in the ‘Deporter-in-Chief’s’ [President Obama’s] footsteps, that’s something that’s caused a definite form of activism from certain segments of Latino communities where we did see youth, undocumented youth, protesting in the offices of not Republicans, but Democrats, and pushing the agenda forward until there were these concessions for DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] and DAPA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] from the president.

“But definitely, I think there are segments of the Latino community that are politically active and engaged, that can see through the rhetoric or the differentiation that Clinton tries to present on issues of immigration. When we can look to Obama and what his record has been since he was elected in office — and in her [Clinton’s] own case in terms of being Secretary of State, Honduras and the coup – I think that the protest in East L.A. showed that in Los Angeles, there is a segment of the activist community and a segment of the Latino community that can articulate things like Latin American foreign policy with the coup in Honduras and also the legacy of immigrant detention and deportations.

“A lot of the fencing that is up along the Southwest is a result of initiatives brought by Democrats — whether it was Hillary Clinton’s husband, Bill Clinton and Operation Gatekeeper which seemed too coincidentally timed with NAFTA, anticipating that there would be an uptake in immigration — that definitely had an impact along the California border and parts of Arizona. And then we look at El Paso, where my family is from, and we look at a former Border Patrol chief and Democratic congressman at that time, Silvestre Reyes, whose legacy includes support for militarization and virtual fencing along the border along El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico. So when we do see fencing that’s already up, it is a product of Democrats, and of course, Republicans are more than happy to support.

“The Latino establishment in the Democratic Party, the elected officials especially here in California — in 2008 they all favored Hillary Clinton before the turn and the nomination went to Barack Obama. They were firmly in her camp, and that same dynamic is playing out now. But we do have some high profile Latinos and Latinas who are championing Bernie Sanders, like actress Rosario Dawson — and I mean even that’s a little bit of a generational divide versus someone from the 60s organizing farmworkers, like Dolores Huerta, to being firmly entrenched in the Clinton political machine. Whatever the fate of Sanders, I think we will see higher turnout of voters now that Trump is firmly going to be the Republican nominee.”