Lati­nos get played again by Democrats

Cecil Whig - - OPINION - Ruben Navarette Jr.

— With Democrats gath­ered in Philadel­phia for their na­tional con­ven­tion, Lati­nos must ac­cept the hard truth: The Demo­cratic Party, for which they’ve done so much, has not done right by them.

In fact, Lati­nos are be­ing hu­mil­i­ated by Democrats, who they as­sume are in their cor­ner — mostly be­cause, when it comes to Lati­nos, Re­pub­li­cans al­ter­nate be­tween the pro­fane and the of­fen­sive.

You might think that a com­mu­nity that has given a ma­jor­ity of their votes to Democrats in the last 14 pres­i­den­tial elec­tions would get some re­spect from party lead­ers. You’d be wrong.

Thanks to hacked emails

SAN DIEGO

re­leased by Wik­iLeaks, we know that a clue­less DNC staffer named Re­becca Christo­pher — in a mes­sage dated May 6 — flip­pantly used a Mex­i­can food ref­er­ence to de­scribe Demo­cratic Latino out­reach ef­forts. Christo­pher wrote to col­leagues:

“At­tached is a script for a new video we’d like to use to mop up some more taco bowl en­gage­ment, and demon­strate [that] Trump ac­tu­ally isn’t try­ing.”

And the Demo­cratic Party is try­ing to get His­panic votes? With what — more “taco bowl en­gage­ment”?

That con­de­scend­ing and of­fen­sive phrase is Christo­pher’s alone. She could have cho­sen any words to get her point across, and she went with those.

This whole food fix­a­tion sounds fa­mil­iar. On Cinco de Mayo, Don­ald Trump mocked His­panic vot­ers by tweet­ing a photo of him eat­ing a taco bowl with the cap- tion: “I love His­pan­ics!”

A Demo­crat run­ning for pres­i­dent would never say some­thing so in­sult­ing, right? Wanna bet?

In 2008, dur­ing her first White House bid, Clin­ton tried to in­spire His­pan­ics in a Mex­i­can restau­rant in Las Ve­gas by in­sist­ing that Americans’ prob­lems are con­nected even though “we treat them as though one is gua­camole and one is chips.”

In the civil rights move­ment of the 1960s, AfricanAmer­i­cans held up plac­ards declar­ing: “I am some­body.”

To­day, Latino vot­ers need to hold up signs that say: “I am not some­body’s fa­vorite food item.”

But as insults go, the taco bowl slight wasn’t the worst thing that Democrats did to Lati­nos re­cently. That prize goes to Clin­ton her­self for skip­ping over ris­ing star Ju­lian Cas­tro and choos­ing as her run­ning mate Tim Kaine, who is gen­er­ously de­scribed as a bor­ing white guy.

Per­son­ally, I’m glad to see a white male get this gig. They never get any­thing.

All Cas­tro did was cam­paign with Clin­ton, try to make her more pop­u­lar with Lati­nos, help re­brand her as “La Hil­lary,” de­fend her email shenani­gans, and dis­miss GOP in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the Beng­hazi at­tacks as a witch hunt.

The hous­ing sec­re­tary also praised Clin­ton dur­ing an in­ter­view in vi­o­la­tion of the Hatch Act, which pro­hibits par­ti­san po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­ity by fed­eral em­ploy­ees — even those be­ing con­sid­ered as vice pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates.

I’m not up­set that my friend was passed over. I never ex­pected him to be cho­sen by Clin­ton. I knew this was a tease.

But I’m fu­ri­ous at the cyn­i­cal, dis­hon­est and ma­nip­u­la­tive way in which this whole VP se­lec­tion process was han­dled by Team Clin­ton. Demo­cratic Party in­sid­ers were telling me as early as six months ago that Cas­tro was out of the run­ning.

The rea­son: Trump, who is es­pe­cially hate­ful to­ward Lati­nos. As it be­came clear that the Man­hat­tan real es­tate de­vel­oper was go­ing to win the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion, it also be­came clear that Clin­ton was go­ing to au­to­mat­i­cally get 70 to 80 per­cent of the Latino vote. She didn’t need Cas­tro any­more.

What she needed was some­one to make her more palat­able to work­ing-class white males. En­ter Kaine, who has been lob­by­ing for this job for the bet­ter part of a year. To make things worse, the Clin­ton cam­paign picked up a line that Kaine’s Se­nate staffers have been ad­vanc­ing for months — em­pha­siz­ing that Kaine speaks Span­ish.

The point was to un­der­cut the com­pe­ti­tion. Like many sec­ond- and third-gen­er­a­tion Mex­i­can-Americans whose par­ents and grand­par­ents were dis­crim­i­nated against for not speak­ing English, Cas­tro doesn’t speak Span­ish. So what? To­day, about 70 per­cent of Lati­nos speak English pro­fi­ciently.

Mes­sage to Re­pub­li­cans: We don’t all eat taco bowls. Mes­sage to Democrats: We don’t all speak Span­ish.

So, if Cas­tro was in­deed out of the run­ning months ago, why did Clin­ton and other Democrats keep dan­gling his name in front of Latino vot­ers like a car­rot put in front of a burro to get it to pull a plow? That’s just cruel.

Why? Be­cause when you’re talk­ing about hu­man be­ings in terms of taco bowls, bur­ros are a step up.

Ruben Navarette Jr. is a syn­di­cated colum­nist from the Wash­ing­ton Post. His email is reuben@ruben­navarette.com.

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