Pilar Marrero on the complex politics of the Latino vote (2 of 2)
PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR: Much of the Latino elite, Hispanic elite in Los Angeles has already endorsed Clinton, including the mayor of Los Angeles.
PILAR MARRERO, SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER, LA OPINIÓN: Not necessarily.
JAY: Not necessarily?
MARRERO: No. It’s been split. I mean, yes, the mayor of Los Angeles did endorse [Clinton]. However, there’s a number of Latino politicians who have endorsed Obama. It’s pretty split at this point. I think one of the most interesting cases is the Sanchez sisters. They are congresspeople from California. One is from Orange County, one from LA. And they’re split. One of the sisters is supporting Obama, and the other sister’s supporting Hillary. And you see, for example, the mayor of LA supporting Hillary, and you see Congressman Xavier Becera, who is the right-hand man for Nancy Pelosi, he’s endorsing Obama. So, you know, the same thing with activists. You see a lot of the street-level activists that worked a couple of years ago in mobilizing people in the streets for the marches, the pro-immigrant marches, a lot of those people are working for Obama. They feel that he has positions that are more progressive and more pro-immigrant than Hillary. Hillary has been talking about her opposition to driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants and all that. But also she has a lot of support among Latinos. And, you know, it’s going to be depending on the gender, depending on the age. I would think that younger Latinos are going to trend towards Obama, and women are going to trend towards Hillary.
JAY: Why hasn’t the driver’s license issue had more impact? One would think that Obama’s endorsement of a driver’s license for undocumented people would be very effective and important, but still Clinton seems to have the majority of the vote here.
MARRERO: It’s just a matter of who’s paying attention. A lot of people don’t know this. A lot of people don’t even watch the news. They just make the decisions at the last minute, and they just look at who(m) they know and what they know about them. And obviously they know more about Hillary than they know about Obama. And, you know, there’s a lot of dirty tricks being played. You know, there’s e-mails going around saying he’s a Muslim. A lot of people I’ve talked to ask me this question. “Is he a Muslim?” It’s like, “Uh, no. He’s not a Muslim,” but he has answered this question several times, saying, “Not only am I not a Muslim, but I reject this kind of race-bait or religious-bait,” whereas, you know, being a Muslim becomes a case for hating somebody. You know. There’s some Latinos that I’ve encountered that told me that.
JAY: To what extent of this issue of which can really win must be very linked to the immigration issue too for Latinos. There’s a lot at stake. If the Republicans win, one would assume there’s going to be a much tougher immigration policy than a Democrat.
MARRERO: Depending who the Republican nominee is. John McCain is known for being the senator who proposed immigration reform. If he is a nominee, there will be a sector of Latinos who will say, “Well, you know, he will do it again,” even though he has been moving to the right on that issue in the last few days. But he might go back to the center in the general election, because, obviously, he will want to get some of that Latino support. So, you know, if it’s McCain, it’s going to be tougher. And it’s going to be better for Latinos, because what they’re going to have to do is fight for the Latino vote, and both candidates are going to have to offer something.
JAY: You were saying earlier when we talked that in some of the polling places today there are some problems with the ballots. What have you heard about that?
MARRERO: It’s in LA county. There’s been some problems with the non-partisan voters going to the polls and requesting a Democratic ballot, which is allowed by the Democratic Party, not by the Republican. And some of them are encountering problems in finding themselves on the list, registering the right way. Maybe they changed their registration and the lists are old. But the most significant problem is once you have the Democratic ballot in your hand, you have to fill out this little bubble that says you are choosing the Democratic Party, on top of requesting a Democratic ballot. And then you choose the candidate. A lot of people don’t know they have to fill out this extra bubble and are calling in to radio programs, saying, “I was just voting, and I just realized I didn’t fill out this bubble, and my vote is not going to count.” The Obama people are really angry about this, because, obviously, they will benefit from the decline to state or the non-partisan voters, because they’re trying to vote—.
JAY: This particularly affects independent voters, not registered Democrats. Is that the point? And Obama thinks they’re going to get more independents.
MARRERO: Yes. And those are one of every five Californians who vote are independents or non-partisan. So it can have a deep effect in a state where the race is really, really close.
Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.