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HARD LESSONS FROM 2016

It seems a a lifetime ago when we were winding down from the Obama era. The angst and excitement for change was in the air. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had sealed up the nomination after a bruising primary against Senator Bernie Sanders. As others fell back or were eliminated through the process, Bernie catapulted to the front. Young people and the progressive wing of the party had finally found a champion who would take their issues to the forefront. Once unthinkable rhetoric was now a part of the national discourse. Much like in 2020 the “Democratic establishment” wing of the party coalesced behind Clinton and eventually came out on top. But even with a victory, Clinton entered into the general with a heavily split party. Some in the Bernie camp vowed to never support Clinton, others turned to the Green Party, and some would respect the process and throw their support behind her. Bernie would endorse Clinton but would get criticized from all sides for either selling out or not doing enough (deja vu).

All eyes were on Clinton and who she would pick for VP. Her short list at the time included Senator Cory Booker, Secretary Julian Castro, Senator Elizabeth Warren (all of whom would eventually run for President in 2020) Tom Perez who is now the DNC Chair and a few other highly qualified names. Democrats had a big appetite to make history again by going with a possible first woman President. Barack Obama had broken the ceiling in proving that a Black man could in fact be elected as President of the United States. “The New American Majority” a term coined by Steve Phillips had finally manifested. This new “majority” made up of African Americas, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, Arab Americans and Progressive Whites were the group that would take Obama over the mountain top not once but twice. The landscape had changed and for a moment in time it seemed that Democrats had finally shifted away from chasing the ever illusive “Reagan Democrat”.

Democrats had traditionally always shifted their attention and resources to winning over the “White swing voter” often at the expense of historically marginalized groups and despite the fact that White voters as a plurality had not voted for Democrats since JFK. With the Obama blueprint in place, many had hoped Clinton would replicate this proven approach with the selection of a person of color as her VP. But to the contrary she would end up selecting Virginia Senator Tim Kaine. In addition to coming from a swing state he was also viewed as the best suited to win over enough White men who had long since shifted over to the Republican Party. After 8 years of progress the Democrats went right back to the same old broken play book. To make matters worse Latino voters were insulted and patronized with the story line that Tim Kaine spoke better Spanish than Castro and the glorified story of his time in Honduras as a missionary. None of this was a substitute to selecting a Latino for the ticket and just like that the enthusiasm went out the window. President Obama would campaign hard for Clinton but that wasn’t enough to keep up the record numbers of Black turnout in key swing states. Representation matters and identity politics plays a major factor when voters pick their candidates. Donald Trump understood this when he selected Mike Pence as his running mate.

Four years later it seems we are back in the same predicament. Joe Biden who is the presumptive nominee has the important choice of who to select for his VP. He has already stated he wants it to be a woman but refuses to commit to a Black woman or woman of color. In fact the conversation has now shifted to a possible White woman VP pick.

I would argue that this is a slap in the face to the most loyal constituency in the Democratic Party. We cannot forget that Black voters saved Biden’s campaign from near death with a big win in South Carolina and other Southern states during the primary. Also, Latino voters strongly supported Bernie over Biden during the Democratic primary. Not choosing a woman of color would certainly mean repeating the same catastrophic mistake of 2016. All the Trump bashing in the world will not translate to voter enthusiasm if people feel they are being taken for granted or are not valued. We must respect the fact that Black voters and voters of color play a vital role in the key swing states that were lost in 2016. This is a wake up call before its too late.

jonetta rose barras: The rise of Latino political aspirants in DC

olitical floodgates in DC opened after at-large Council member David Grosso announced he would retire at the end of his term this year, rather than seek reelection. A virtual sea of individuals — at least a dozen at last counting — have jumped into the November general election race. As required by law, the seat Grosso held is reserved for a minority party member or independent. 

None of the candidates has self-identified as a Democratic Socialist. More than a few have labeled themselves “independent Democrats.” That’s a fake moniker, but I won’t rant; I’ve done that already.

New Public Charge Ruling Targeting Low-Income Immigrants Takes Effect

ayudaWashington, D.C. (February 26, 2020) – On Monday, the Trump Administration’s inhumane public charge rule took effect, creating new barriers to immigration relief for the low-income immigrant community Ayuda serves.
 
The Trump Administration’s amendments to the public charge rule, of which the lower courts previously blocked implementation, were permitted by the U.S. Supreme Court to take effect this week, pending the final outcome of ongoing litigation.

It's Franklin

I first collaborated with Franklin Garcia in the early 2000's during a community exercise envisioned to create a game plan, a road map for where the Latino community could progress and become more empowered and powerful in the District. A group of us led by veteran community leaders such as Angel Irene, Alberto Gomez, Jose and Sonia Gutierrez and the scholarly Enrique Rivera, created a document entitled; "DC Latino Agenda", out of the process.

Franklin Garcia at his recent holiday celebration with DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelsohn and Silvia Martinez of the DNC. During that time Franklin was the glue that held us together. We met Saturdays at what was then EOFULA (Vida Center today). Franklin called us to order, organized the documents and later would request government officials visit to discuss our research. I remember Dan Tangerlini showed up one Saturday morning when he became City Administrator, as did the head of the Housing Authority, Councilman Graham and various agency heads. At the time Franklin also created the DC Latino Caucus. He was quite active even then.
Subsequently, he went on to work with the DC Democratic State Committee. He became their Communications Director at one point and worked closely with Chairperson Anita Bonds, David Meadows, Phil Pannell and other Democratic Party activists. He ran successfully for the DC DSC on various occasions and was responsible for numerous initiatives including a modern newsletter and wide distribution of videotaped hearings and meetings.
Franklin made himself central and indispensable to the local party leadership and became a political figure himself. He first ran District wide for public office approximately 5 years ago. He won the election for Shadow U.S. Representative with over 110,00 votes. In fact, he has won the position in 2 subsequent elections ever since. Even running unopposed or with limited opposition, this is no easy feat. It means that over the last 3 elections more than 350 thousand voters have pulled a lever or punched a card with Mr. Garcia's name on it. If he can translate that into votes in a Council run he's golden. Franklin would have to win somewhere above 60,000 votes to win the At-Large Council seat. He's running for the seat now held by David Grosso who is retiring. This is the one seat on the Council reserved for non-Democrats. Garcia will have to resign from the Democratic party to run. Franklin Garcia poses with Bibi Otero long time Latino community leader at the December 14th reception celebrating the life of Pepe Lujan. Franklin is a master about town. Rarely a night goes by when he is not at some civic meeting or attending a public activity related to statehood politics or District affairs. His life is dedicated to public service. He carries a miniature DC flag in his pocket wherever he goes. When he takes a picture or appears in a video, he pulls it out of his pocket and waves it at the camera. He is not only active, but knowledgeable. He can gauge his audience instinctively and deliver excellent remarks no matter what the scenario, who is in the audience or where he is in town. He's a master at the public arts. He also has integrity wrapped in a cautious, measured attitude. He's an honorable man of his word.
Franklin straddles both the Latinx as well as the African American community. He is likeable, knowledgeable and helpful. For this article we took a photograph at Franklin's recent holiday celebration at his home. In attendance were Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Phil Mendelsohn, Shadow Sen. Brown, Silvia Martinez from the DNC, diplomats, professors and videographers, residents young and old from the African American, Latino and white communities, a broad cross section of this town.
No one in our memory has been this engaged, this prepared and this ready to accede to a position of authority and power on the DC Council and in the life of the District as Franklin Garcia. We wish him well and promise to support him throughout. As they say in the movies; 'May the force be with you!!"

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#Biden

Three story lines pundits in the media repeat that I do not believe are true;
1. There are too many Democratic candidates for President. In my view, on the contrary. I'm dazzled by the amount of talented, smart, charismatic candidates on the Democratic side. They would make a fabulous governing team if the Democrats return to power. Let them have their season of glory and may the best woman/man win.

Notes on the #Resistance

It's frustrating to read to this day from otherwise credible pundits and commentators about how this person in the White House 'won' the election of 2016. He is an illegitimate President. The election of 2016 was stolen. I don't mean with propaganda or Russian media manipulation, but by changing votes, real votes. There is a reputable professor at a University in Michigan who explained with precision and detail how this was done -proved it was done. Derided as an outlier and conspiracy theorist at first, his research is now well accepted. In counties across Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin (and perhaps Ohio) votes, real votes, were changed and non-existent votes added to the counts. Michigan and Wisconsin at the time were led by Republican governors, men who surely know how it was done and helped make these changes happen. Someday we may learn how they did it.

The Bukele Rallies

            Nayib Bukele, the Mayor of San Salvador and candidate for President of El Salvador, was in town last week to organize his 'Nuevas Ideas' (New Ideas) movement of Salvadoran émigrés in the U.S. He attended a series of fundraising activities and addressed crowds in Maryland, Virginia and New York. Even though the Salvadoran election is over 15 months from now, Mr. Bukele has already made numerous campaign visits to our region.

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Mr. Macri Comes to Washington

Argentina's President Mauricio Macri came to Washington DC for his first visit under the Trump regime on Wednesday, April 26th, 2017. The whirlwind visit lasted barely 36 hours and began with a meeting on Thursday, April 27th with the American President. Later that same day he appeared at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) to address an overflowing crowd eager to hear about his government's vaunted reforms and plans for growth and prosperity (see Link that follows for a transcript of the event).

Open house at The Ronald Reagan National Airport Terminal

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:  Secure National Hall
Construction of  two new Security Screening Check Points (SSCP’s) to facilitate the removal of the existing Security Screening Check Points located at each Concourse within the existing Airport.  The new Security Screening Check Points are additions to the existing Airport that will be constructed over the existing arrivals roadway.  The two check points are located immediately adjacent to the existing cross over bridges from the metro on the north and south sides of the terminal.  Each new SSCP (North and South) consists of new steel structure  on auger cast and micro pile foundations with roughly 50,000 square feet of finished space for passenger queuing lines and the new TSA screening stations.  The work entails full architectural fit out and finishes, MEP and Special Systems required for a complete and operational screening check point.  The Project also consist of extensive renovations and building modifications to the existing Terminal building to align with the new adjoining SSCP’s 

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