Nov 20, 2018

Latino Journal Names President Donald Trump As Man of The Year

  • The Increasing California Latino Political Influence
  • Trump on track to make California Republicans Irrelevant
  • Republicans are feeling the pain of future irrelevance in California
  • California voters affirm sanctuary status and reject xenophobia
By José L. Pérez, Latino Journal and Adrian Pérez, SacLatino Magazine

Though some vote counting is still going on in California, it is already too evident the large Latino population is beginning to express its numerical strength by increasing its political power.

Nationally, The Guardian published that the "Latino turnout up 174% in 2018 midterms elections, Democrats say." And continued, "The Hispanic community will have record level of representation in Congress with at least 42 members: 34 Democrats and eight Republicans." And, that was before Gil Cisneros won his congressional race in California.

As a result of the 2018 elections Latinos will hold a first ever 50% of California's Constitutional Offices; 25% of the State Legislature; 28% of the State Assembly and 17.5% of the State Senate; and 32% of the 53 House seats in Congress. Latino voters also helped turn the once super red county of Orange into a blue base.

California's Latinos are the most populous with over 40% of the population followed by Caucasians (38%), Asians (14%), African Americans (5.9%), and American Indians (2%) respectively. Based on the midterm election results, it is evident that Latinos are on their way to gain half of all California's political power within the next decade.

So, why are Latinos now increasing their political power?

A good place to start is with the xenophobic rhetoric against immigrants coming from former Republican California Governor Pete Wilson's Proposition 187 in 1994 and more recently from President Donald Trump who is using the caravan of desperate Central Americans as a tool to gather more support from those who share his philosophy.

Proposition 187 passed and would have barred undocumented immigrant access to health care, housing and education had it not been declared unconstitutional by the courts. However, it allowed Wilson to be re-elected as California's governor for four more years.

Proposition 187 bitterly angered California's Latino community, which has built steam for 24 years and there is no sign that it will break anytime soon. Few Republicans, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, have been elected to statewide office in California since, and none for the last eight years. The California Republican Party has become less relevant after this midterm election and unless things change, it will become extinct.

For example, in 1996, two years after his re-election, Latino groups were declaring Pete Wilson the "Man of the Year" for waking up the sleeping giant Latino community. During that period, millions of Latino immigrants began to switch their status from green card to U.S. citizenship, learning English and exercising their right to vote. Even our late elderly Mother got her citizenship after holding a green card since 1950 telling us "Para votar a contra Pete Wilson" (So I can vote against Pete Wilson.) Yes, this after Wilson had termed out of office.

The number of Latinos running and being elected into office in California began to substantially increase in 1996. The increasing number of Latinos in the Legislature allowed for a monumental change to take place in the halls of power in Sacramento. Former State Senator Richard G. Polanco, who chaired the Latino Legislative Caucus at the time, engineered the greatest increase in Latino political power by creating the dynamic to elect the first Latino Speaker of the State Assembly, Cruz M. Bustamante from Fresno. The number of Latino legislators in California grew to 30. Eventually, Bustamante was elected to Lt. Governor and the circle of power in the highest echelons of State government were penetrated by Latinos. So, yes, thank you Pete Wilson.

Fast forward.

In 2016 Donald Trump referred to Mexicans in front of all America as rapists, drug lords and criminals when he declared his candidacy for president of the United States. In the last two years President Trump's anti-Mexican and immigrant rhetoric again lit a fire under thousands of highly able and influential Latinos in California and across the nation who do not forget the vile actions of Pete Wilson. The anger became a national issue as Trump ignored the cries of Puerto Ricans after hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, creating a firestorm in social media of "hate Trump."

Today, as in 1994, Latinos find themselves shocked, surprised but much better prepared for the incredible disrespect they see and feel coming from the President of the United States.

Now, just as in California, we see the American Latinos reacting to Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric by increasing its voter turnout, especially for Democrats. As a result the influence on the political fortunes defined by significant Latino populations are shifting priorities in law making, enforcement and public resources. Latino public policy priorities include quality education, public safety, economic development (business & jobs) and civic engagement.

Across the country Democratic gains in Congress and Governor Offices were made because of an angry, excited and engaged Latino voting community.

There is little doubt that President Trump's immigration rhetoric reminded Latinos in California of Pete Wilson's hate towards Latinos, especially Mexican Americans. There appears no end in sight that will change that important and powerful American political dynamic of Latino anger towards Republicans. California Republicans are as omnipotent as can be and soon will expire due to their irrelevancy.

It is not surprising to see a surge of Latino civic engagement in California, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Nevada, North Carolina, Illinois, New York, New Mexico and Florida. And, just like in California, the Latino community's political reaction to anti-immigrant rhetoric may last another 24 years as it spreads across America.

The California Republican Party leadership would have to beg for the Latino community's forgiveness in an unprecedented manner for them to even begin accepting Republican participation again to secure their long-term survival.

The ever-growing and substantial political power being gained in 2018 by the Latino community in California is unprecedented. Therefore, Latino Journal declares Donald Trump "Man of the Year" for inspiring this change.

Latinos, like everyone else, just want to be respected and treated as Americans. Nothing wrong with that.
Latino Journal was founded in 1996 in Sacramento, CA by José L. Pérez. Latino Journal provides non-partisan discussion and analysis on public policy, government and business. Future topics include education, economic development, civic engagement, and many other topics. It also convenes policy forums and receptions recognizing Leaders in government, community and business.
SacLatino Magazine was founded in 2008 in Sacramento, CA by Adrian Pérez to establish a voice for the growing Latino community in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys

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