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Joseph Kaminski

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October 18, 2019

The Hispandering of 2016


Hispandering: Youth, Naturalizations Main Sources of Hispanic Eligible Voter Growth since 2012. © Pew Research Center

Basically every candidate in this election cycle has found themselves involved within the Latino community. In some states, such as California and Texas, Latinos make up over 28% of the popular vote.

A record 27.3 million Latinos will be eligible to vote in the 2016 presidential elections, making it a pressing political concern to make positive relations with the Hispanic communities across America. That comes to the topic of the day: hispandering in the 2016 election cycle.

Both political parties have been relatively out of touch with the Hispanic vote for years, making it a pressing concern for conservatives and liberals alike. With race and equality becoming a pressing concern, we have to realize the massive amount of pandering towards Hispanics, or Hispandering, has occurred throughout this election cycle.

Hispanic millennials will account for close to half of the record 27.3 million Hispanics that are eligible to vote in 2016, with over 44% of the Hispanic vote coming from the latest generation of voters.

This is an interesting statistic, as millennials are the youngest generation. The youngest generation is usually the least likely to come out and vote. Yet, in an attempt to grab this very large majority of eventual and possible voters, we’ve accepted pandering towards specific races, cultures, and ethnicity as a political norm. Just as candidates target white angst populism, some candidates have targeted the group of voters that is expected to become the largest group of voters within the next few decades.

What is Hispandering? As stated before, the concept of pandering to the Latino community is increasingly relevant in terms of politicians that have done nothing for the Hispanic vote for years. The term, which recently gained national attention, is used against politicians who attempt to create series of favors with voters of Hispanic descent. It’s not a new term, despite it only recently coming to national media networks.

In states where people of Hispanic origin prefer the word “Hispanic” to describe their heritage (such as Texas, for example), political advertisements will focus on that specific word. In states where people of the exact same origin prefer the word “Latino” to describe their heritage (such as states like New York which has a divided term between Hispanic and Latino with higher levels of no preference), political advertisements will change their focus to have the words “Latino” present.

So, in short, we have a political compromise where the establishment of our society is starting to understand that the minority vote actually matters, and said political elites are understanding that they actually need the minority vote. Except if your name is Donald Trump, then you want to build a wall around the minority vote.

When it comes down to it, minority votes are all or nothing. It’s getting harder to split up the voting blocks of our society. So, in a country where the conservative base is so far right that it doesn’t have a functioning platform and the liberal base is so center that it’s beginning to split and collapse into two separate ideologies, where does the Hispanic vote turn to?

Obvious answer is obvious: the Democratic Party. So, let’s look at how some Republicans (and even the front-running Democrats) have been caught in this Hispandering this election season.

Donald Trump: Sudden Realization

After almost a year of nonstop attacks against the Hispanic population, labeling entire communities as “rapists” and “degenerates” while constantly calling for amped up border control and immigration policies, it seems as if The Don himself is realizing he’s in a sticky situation. Trump’s massive wall idea and terrible relations with Mexico have been pushed to the back burner and replaced with a new “common enemy”: those who identify themselves as Muslim.

However, Hispanic voters view Donald Trump horrendously, and for obvious reasons. The Hispanic voting base within America views him, at last polling, 77% unfavorably! That is the absolute lowest rating of any candidate within the entire race. On the other hand, the highest polling rates for favorable opinion comes from Hillary Clinton, while the lowest percentage of unfavorable opinions come from Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders: who rack up a majority of their points in “no opinion” from the Hispanic base.

Donald Trump has recently become the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, and he’s starting to come to terms with the fact that he’s hated by a rather large proportion of voting bases from all races. His white angst populism can’t win over minority votes; and it’s going to cost him the election unless he can either pull through with a great Vice President or put a band-aid on the gaping wound he put between himself and the Hispanic communities.

I turn your attention to the recent Cinco de Mayo tweet sent out by whoever the Hell runs Donald Trump’s Twitter account and Facebook. Honestly, whoever Trump has running his social media accounts (its obviously not him, it Tweets 24/7 even if Trump is at a debate) has the intelligence of a stick of gum. From re-tweeting white supremacists to accepting praise from fascists, the Trump campaign has seen just about every social media scandal except for dick pictures.

What tweet shows sudden Hispandering?

Donald, you’re so racist that even your Hispanic food has a wall around it. It’s too little too late to try and pander to a community of voters that you’ve specifically isolated from your entire career. The “I love Hispanics!” is the part of the tweet that stings the most, too. It’s about as inconsistent as Trump’s entire campaign.

Why The Hispanic Vote Didn’t Fall For Cruz or Rubio

Because the Hispanic vote isn’t stupid. When it comes to political campaigns, politicians tend to flaunt out race more than any other part of their political persona. Rubio and Cruz are far from the first politicians to use heritage to their advantage, and it’s basically proven that the voters…don’t seem to care anymore. We have entered a new age of politics, people. That’s why people like Jeb Bush dropped out. So, when Cruz and Rubio flaunted advertisements covered with Hispanic pandering and released statements about how “proud” they were to be Latino, the vote practically bounced off of them.

It’s kind of a sticky situation. You, as a Republican, targeted a group of American citizens that your party has virtually nonstop attacked for the past thirty years. It’s hard to listen to a demagogue when your entire party’s history has screwed over the platform at hand. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz ran on an evangelical, establishment vote. To try and raise interest with conservative-leaning Hispanics, they went a little too far when it came to targeting a group that is literally sick and tired of their shit.

Ted Cruz, however, didn’t take his lies that far. He basically copied Trump’s plan for a wall and took on your typical Republican standpoint on Hispanics as a general. The happy faces and Spanish ads didn’t go far for the televangelist, did it? Speaking of which, how many times did Jeb Bush bring up the fact that his wife is Hispanic? Damn near every chance he got. It was a way to call out towards a growing Hispanic audience in a childish attempt to believe he was there for them. In reality: Jeb Bush had his own Cinco de Saster moment last year. Hey look at it this way: his Spanish is much better than Ted Cruz’s.

Hispandering Hillary: Not Your Abuela

Hillary Clinton tries a little too hard to get specific subgroups of votes, if you ask me. It was incredibly childish — a terrible social platform mistake and marketing tragedy — to ask college students to “describe how they felt about their debt in three emojis or less”. It’s kind of like an aunt trying to friend request you on Facebook, even though this is 2016 and you’ve repeatedly ignored her phone calls for the past eight years. Now, as I said before, there’s a big chance I’ll be supporting Clinton in a general election setting. Simply, because she’s outrageously better than Trump in any way, shape, and form. But, Jesus Christ, wake the fuck up when it comes to connecting with people!

Hillary is the main reason a Univision debate for the Democratic candidates brought up the term “Hispandering”. In response to claims that she was unaffiliated to the American people, the Clinton campaign made a direct push to Latino voters during Hispanic Heritage Month. She basically recruited high-profile Latino politicians and celebrities to join her side, including her likely VP nominee Julian Castro.

“I’m not just La Hillary. I’m tu Hillary.” That just screams political pandering — to appropriate a culture into a campaign in an attempt to make yourself feel more “a part of” a community. Now I get it, that’s the political game. But the problem is, it doesn’t seem like Clinton is good at this part of the political game.

Another part of the Latinos for Clinton strategy was to create a post in Spanish on the campaign’s official site to let Spanish-speaking voters about the “six things you didn’t know about Hillary Clinton.” Written by Paola Luisi, it is perhaps one of the most blatantly condescending Hispandering pieces we have ever seen. – Latino Rebels

A record amount of around 33.2 million Hispanics in the United States currently speak English proficiently. Not to mention the millions of people that can’t speak Spanish at all within the nation.

Why would you limit yourself to a post just in Spanish? Even Ted Cruz made English versions of his advertisements! Jeb Bush at least captioned his! This direct obstacle brings me to another point: why not make a post for those who speak French? Creole? Chinese? Any of the 311 languages spoken within the United States? Bernie Sanders did. For a while he repeatedly posted his message in multiple different languages on his Twitter account: from Japanese to Arabic and obscure varieties in between. That message was clear: the campaign is for all people. For some reason, the Spanish only advertisement sounded like a good idea to the Clinton campaign.

I’m not against Clinton for this, either. It’s just strange to see the movement in her campaign turn towards something like this when its obvious she already has “the minority” vote locked in the bag this election if she’s up against Donald Trump.

But, before I wrap up this post. Do you remember Not Your Abuela?

Hillary Clinton’s campaign published an article that was titled “7 Ways Hillary Clinton Is Just Like Your Abuela,” specifically using the Spanish word for “grandmother.” This was open hispandering — mere click-bait gone completely wrong. Twitter exploded, criticizing Clinton and tearing her to shreds. For three days, the hashtag #NotMyAbuela frequently dawned the front page of the popular social media platform. The phrase trended on social media for many hours, bringing up Clinton’s former support for mass deportation policies, NAFTA, neoliberalism, militarization, immigration policies, and warfare.

Even if you’re a diehard Hillary fan, you have to realize that most of Clinton’s hispandering has been basically social media disasters. Mostly her staff trying to be “hip” and connecting with voters in ways they don’t completely understand. But, nevertheless, the hispandering continues. It’s on both sides: Republican and Democrat. It won’t be going away any time soon.

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