tv Geraldo Cadava The Hispanic Republican CSPAN October 25, 2020 10:57am-12:01pm EDT
you reading this book which you must purchase tells me about the quality of life that maria hinojosa has led and continues to lead, and how i feel really privileged to be a part of it in the way that i am. so thank you so much for the work and thank you for always laying the ground and thank you for always keeping us honest. >> love you, josé. thank thank you so much. you made me cry again. that's twice. thank you to the chicago humanities festival. it's such an honor to be a part of this conversation. oh, my god, josé antonio vargas, thank you so much for i can't wait to see. i can't wait to hug you. congratulations on the book. >> you are watching booktv on c-span2 with top nonfiction books and authors of the weekend. tv, television for serious readers.
>> hello, everyone and thank you so much for joining us this afternoon. my name is benjamin quinn and on behalf of harvard book store i'm so excited to welcome you to today's event, geraldo cadava, discussing his book, in conversation with java applets. today's event is part of the bookstore friday form sees which takes place on a friday afternoon during -- as we to highlight our books in in a wie range of fields. we remain digital for the time being, we have a full schedule of our virtual events. next friday october 2 half in law school joins us for discussion of his latest book, too much information, understanding and you don't want to know. for today's event we will conclude with some time for your questions but it's like to ask the speaker something locate the q&a button wherever it is on your display.
we will get there many as time allows. eco-to the top section i will shortly be posting a link to our website where you can purchase your copy of the book. it's all we have a copy of the book over like to contribute to this series and a store in a different way i will also be posting a link in the chat to a donation but do we greatly appreciate any and all support your able to send us. lastly, as you may know if you -- technical issues might come up. we apologize in advance. if any technical glitches do occur we'll will do our best to resolve them as quickly as possible. and now i am so pleased to introduce today's speakers. geraldo cadava is associate professor of history and latino studies at northwestern university. his first book spanning a, grant from the making of the borderland, , powerful portraitf the arizona sonora borderland since world war ii, .
he is written about the intercultural experience of latinos in u.s. including things -- the atlantic and elsewhere. jonathan blitzer is a staff writer for the new yorker or his writings have covered the american immigration system, and was awarded a national award for education reporting and edward r. murrow award and finals three times. ..
congratulations on this book. illuminating history given where we are and given what we know about the electorate. there's all kinds of ways we can move through the substance of your booker but i wanted before we launched right into the substantive of the book i wanted to ask a general question to orient viewers, listeners. i know you get this a lot. add nauseam. the add of a hispanic republican is counterintuitive to people and shouldn't be. one of the real achievements of the book it precisely lays out
how common and in some ways logical it would be for -- for certain hispanic voters to be republican. i wonder if you could start by giving us a snapshot of who we are talking about when we talking about hispanic republicans, what states are they in. where are their families from? give us a sense of that. i think that would be helpful for people. >> we, of course, associate voters with cuban exiles and most recently venezuelans that came during chávez era but they are all over the place. one to have biggest surprises to me that, in fact, the hispanic
republican movement began amongst mexican-americans that latched up to dwight eisenhower and berry goldwater and richard nixon and puerto ricans in new york have a long tradition of supporting the republican party in new york to rockefeller and even most recently. it's a diverse group. i'd say representative of all hispanic or latino national groups spread across the country, certainly in different percentages and i wouldn't want to pin it on a particular issue like catholicism or free enterprise or law and order or military order and patriotism. i think all of those things have been discussed at a moment in time as underpinning of latino republican identity but i'd say
it's all of those things at the same time. >> yeah. sort of a follow-up question before we dive in. what would you say misconceptions are about the latino electorate. it's month -- monolithic but are there apprehensions that you see repeated about the nature of the voters or the nature of the issues that compel the voters to go to the polls. >> great, great, the biggest one is latinos are naturally anything, that were naturally liberal or naturally conservative. i think members of both parties have said those thick. i remember in 2010 harry reid doesn't understand why any hispanic could be republican meanwhile, you know, ronald reagan famously told advertising executive from san antonio who
was working on 1980 campaign latinos are republicans and don't know it yet. both parties are guilty that latinos are naturally democrat or naturally republican. i think that's how the development of a partisan identity born. i don't think you're born natural anything and evolve over time in relationship with communities, your own family past. i think the first thing that i would say is mischaracter station latinos -- mischaracter characterization and one thing i've been thinking in the election. all of our attention these days are focused on florida, and
texas, and arizona and campaigns are spending millions and millions of dollars and reaching out to latinos. whether you're latinos, latinos are, we are spread across the country. i just looked at the other day i looked up the 10 closest days, they included florida, they included arizona but they also included maine, minnesota, wisconsin, michigan and in those states the number of eligible latino voters was greater than the margin of victory in 2016. but you never hear of campaigns like campaigning among, you know, campaigning to and with latinos in maine or minnesota.
>> right. >> no, it's a great point. and let me -- without further to a, -- to a, let's march through history here. and this strikes me too. oh, well, immigration is the primary issue that affects hispanic voters which, of course, i mean, when you really tease that out, of course, that's why would that ever be the case. i can't stress enough, it's inviting and full of entry points but also very -- immigration comes up at different times but it's really sort of not this foundational
issue from the very beginning that defines different hispanic identities if the u.s. which come election time, sort of the perennial, scratches their head, if the president has done this or that, why doesn't it have ripple effects, of course, it wouldn't, these are complex communities with different relationships. this is what i wanted to start with. the book really for all intents an purposes start in the 50's, the purity between 1950's and 1960's is particularly interesting and i want to pull together two quotes of years to structure the beginning part of the conversation. early in the book you're talking about nixon as california politician and you say, you are talking about various outreach
efforts to hispanic voters and you write, it is important to note, though, that nixon and warren in 1950 appealed to mexican americans, not hispanics, the concerns of puerto ricans, mexican or mexican-americans were not yet defined as hispanic. it wasn't during the 1950's that members of particular national groups began to consider they were members of national ethnic group that joined all of them. that's one kind of idea to keep in mind and the second, i just want to jump through because it bridges us to 1960's, one to have reasons i'm reading you to you is i want people to hear you writing because, again, it's smoothness in the clarity of the history is so valuable. so by the 1960's there's an element, seems like an equation that does help hispanics kind of sort themselves both in relation to each other and in relation to
nonhispanic americans and that's sort of general sorting principle is the cold war. and so you write the cold war between the united states and latin america from puerto rico to cuba to méxico became the main filter through which republican hispanics views relations but partisan political identity in the united states. and so i wanted to ask you with these sort of historical benchmarks, observation in the 1960's, hispanic identity american to begin with and the 60's introducing the various orthodoxies of cold war thinking. is this around the time that we see an actual kind of national hispanic identity begin here. is it fair to say that it coalesces in these years, late 50's, early 60's, tell us
how that takes root. >> yeah, it begins to though i would say it's a slow process that's never complete. i think one important thing to note about 1950's and 1960's is the electoral map of the united states is shifting during this time so in 1950's, new york will have the largest number of votes, 34 or something like that but texas and california are really growing. there's a whole post world war ii sun belt boom that leads to the rapid growth of the southwest and i say it because the latino population of the united states is still small and the eligible voters represent 2% of all voters but it's not a huge group but they are concentrated in the states with a growing number of electoral votes and this is when politicians begin to kind of wake up and they also, you know,
i think world war ii veterans who were latino also have a kind of growing voice in politics and i do think at the moment that start to where politicians start to perk up and pay attention because of electoral interest, map shift, but also the rising demands of latinos themselves to be paid attention to in short and so, you know, i think it picks up in the 50's with eisenhower in part because many latino servicemen and this is the story of that san antonio advertising executive i was talking about hinojosa and he recognized dwight eisenhower as the general of world war ii and saw it kind kinship there and believed that he was the leader that would lead the united states during this new cold war period. so i think that was an origin point. i think other moments were with nixon and goldwater where they claimed like long-time
familiarity with mexican-american groups. you know, there's a legend of nixon that he worked along mexican-americans in field in whitier california. i don't think he was harvesting crops along side of him but that's part of his myth. i think that's where it pix -- picks up. it picks up small groups which is a small group. i hope i don't try to oversell how big and powerful the groups are. i was trying to portray them like grassroots efforts that over time coalesce to something bigger. i don't know that latino identity or hispanic identity start to coalesce in 1960's, there's still tensions and rivalries. there's still tensions with different groups in political sense. i'm thinking about the formation
of lyndon johnson and richard nixon of intercabinet. >> it's a mouth mull. >> interagency committee by mexican committee of affairs. there are 9 members, they are supposed to like have proportional representation by different nationality groups so it's like 3 mexicans, 3 cuban-americans and 3 puerto ricans, that kind of thing. but there are rivalries of who should be the most powerful group there and so i don't think -- at least my reading of it is that i don't think latinos themselves, members of different national groups really start to think through what are the points of commonality between the different nationality groups until the 1970's. >> got it. and obviously there's a huge sort of inflection point in 1965 with the passage of major national legislation on
immigration which also start to change the complexion of who is able to come to the u.s. and families come and make lives here. basically in 50's and 60's, we talked about hispanic-american voters. tell us a little bit about the different constituents we are talking about, mexican-americans, there's a striking point and we will get to this in the full sweep of things. you know, when goldwater is making his moves in '64, he's thinking primarily of mexican americans in the southwest, cuban americans in the southeast and you've got nelson rockefeller with puerto ricans in new york. moderate side so not crossover constituency for goldwater. give us a sense who are we talking about, 50's, 60's, even early 70's, which different constituencies? >> we are talking small groups of mexican americans, the
founders of the gi form, spanish speaking organizations, these are small groups. but out of them spins these kinds of groups like latino con eisenhower and latinos con goldwater. really along the eastern seaboard. the most important thing to remember of cubans in florida, for much of the 60's, they start coming in large numbers after 59 and the revolution but much 60's, so much of their kind of political attention is focused on overthrowing castro and planning imminent return to cuba once castro is gone. so they don't really like naturalize and participate in american elections in large numbers until the mid-1970's. so it's small groups of cubans in the southeast and like you said puerto ricans in new york. but there are differences. when goaledwater and rockefeller
were kind of buying for the republican -- to become presidential nominees to have republican party there are risks with latinos. puerto ricans from new york that are largely backing rockefeller and mexicans who are largely backing goldwater, even in the southwest there's con tension of powerful mexican-americans who back rockefeller because he's kind of seen for a long time as the person who is most invested in the latino community but also u.s. latin american relations. so it is a fragmented electorate among latinos in 50's and 60's. it doesn't start together, viva kennedy campaign in 1960's is the first time you see mexican-americans trying to bridge divide with mexicans and puerto ricans.
>> right. and just not to release us from the 60's quite yet, you know, goaledwater is interesting in '64, he does seem alive to the prospect of american-american voters going his way which i have to say i was struck. it makes sense given his background, given his ties to arizona, but one problem he encounters which maybe isn't surprising of all things considered, he can't peel that many hispanic voters from democrats in part because of loyalty to kennedy to some tree but also lbj because of the great society and all of these domestic -- battery of domestic policies put forward which helps mexican americans and middle-class americans. that also strikes me to as an interesting point. you can read the history of the
democrats between the lines in certain sections of your book, you're exme say about it but sounds like there was a kinship to some degree too between mexican americans primarily, certainly puerto ricans and the democrats. >> yeah. and what, you know, what latino republicans are conservative latinos have partisan identity as republicans. what they begin to ask other latinos in 1960's is what has your -- whether this is the kind of caricature what the democrat party has done or not or misrepresentation of what the democratic has done or not. they begin to ask other latinos, what has your blind loyalty to the democratic party gotten you, and they start to make the argument that democrats are only looking for your votes, they only come around during election season, they've otherwise
ignored you but they don't care about you whereas the republican party they create economic opportunity, they are the one who is are kind of waging this cold war battle with latin america, those kinds of things. the kind of party of patriotism as well and free enterprise. the other things that appeal to group of latinos. they start to argue that's the democratic party that has ignored them and not repaid their loyalties since the new deal with actual improvements in their lives. they also in 1960's start to make the argument that all the democratic party cares about when it comes to racial politics is african-americans and they get handouts to african-americans, that's what the democratic does for the african-american community but we as the republican party know that latinos are different. you have the strong work ethic, you don't march through the streets protesting. you are more respectable in your political behavior. those kinds of things. so i think that some of the early argument that is the
republican party and latino republicans in particular try to mobilize to draw latinos in. >> that's so interesting. i want to ask you more concertedly about the civil rights layer of this but even before that, i want to get your honest take on when republicans are making the first prong of that pitch as you described it. republicans are saying to hispanic voters in the 60's, you feel sense of loyalty, look where it's got you, democrats don't really care about you, this is instrumental for them for electoral reasons. i mean, is that -- is there legitimacy to that view? there's a way in which it's a classic to try to peel voters away from one party. how much did that -- did that rightly resinate? what's your view of that? >> you know, i have to say, i don't think there's a huge difference how -- between how it resinated then and now it resinated now.
i think that my sense is that both parties have plenty of responsibility to accept for ignoring latinos, really. and i think it's in terms of which party -- i don't know that i would say that either party as a party as a national party really takes latinos seriously in the mid-20th century if they take latinos seriously today. i do think that there are individual politicians in both parties who over the years have tried to prioritize latinos and make a sincere effort and i think that many people would be surprised to learn that that has happened among republicans as democrats. texas senators like john, they based a lot of appeal in texas on -- a lot of the appeal was to mexican americans and mexican americans embraced and wrote corridors to howard and nixon in
1960's, he had a guy named stewart spencer who knew that the key to recruiting latinos was a sustained long-term consistent investment in latino communities even when you're not necessarily looking for their votes. so stewart spencer would set up medical clinics or legal advice offices or job fairs in east los angeles to win mexican-american voters during richard nixon's senate campaigns and that to be honest, what stewart spencer, republican was saying in 1960 is not all that different than which -- what chuck rocha says for sanders. they campaigned in nevada trying to build relationships with latinos. in some ways, i think, stewart spencer was right in 1960's, chuck rocha is right in 2020.
this year the latinos for trump has been added for longer and doing a better job than what we all know to be the key to reaching latino voters. yeah, that's such a good point. and we will get to the present moment and some of the echos but seems to be striking and this by way of talking about nixon more specifically that kind of one of the really -- kind of arresting threw lines in the whole history is the importance of california and texas. and you know, now it's sort of funny to read about almost a year really to read about california as the conservatism but real-proving grounded for republicans to show their understanding of latino electorate and commitment to the electorate. you think of california as blue state, but obviously the history is so interesting and, of course, no mistake, it's no
coincidence that a lot of these republican figures who rose to prominence nationally, you know, nixon, reagan had california as sort of their laboratory to begin to understand these dynamics. for me one to have major revelations in the book was, maybe this betrays how little i knew about aspects to have subject, was just what a tipping point nixon was for the -- in terms of the republican relationship with the hispanic electorate. i mean, take us through a little bit. seems like there's a real shift between sort of 1968 and 1972. it seems like there's kind of a sweet spot there in terms of how nixon really starts to kind of pound the pavement as it were to show his commitment to -- to some of the constituencies. what's going on there? >> oh, so much. i wish we had hours and hours.
they need to replace lost african-american votes with new voters and one of the more likely targets they conclude are latinos for reasons we can talk about, we value the work ethic, the drive to succeed in the united states. these kinds of things. so that's the first thing to note, the second thing to note is that, i don't know, you can think about nixon's personal connections, best friend is bebe roboso, cuban guy whose name came over in 1930's from cuba. you could think about that but he also makes the commitment to kind of patronage and he sends
hispanic surrogates across the united states to communities like chicago, miami, dallas, los angeles, new york with the kind of grantee of more federal jobs, really, and interviewing a woman named linda chávez who is a key actor in the story later on. she cited nixon patronage and she at no time like nixon because she called him the father of the quota system. part of it was providing goodies, i guess, jobs, federal jobs to latino communities, but he also start making some of the first fairly high-level appointments, both within his administration and other federal posts. he appoints the first hispanic treasurer of the united states and he appoints --
>> consuelos. >> mexican-american woman who is a fascinating character and also ben fernandez to be the chairman of the national economic development agency, so all of these posts and the benefit to him of appointing these people is that they can then become his latino surrogates out on the campaign trail and that's how he begins to recruit them. it's a really kind of -- just a redoubled effort, spending time with making appointments, these kinds of things. the critics, nixon's critics call that all tokenism and performance rather sincere interest to appeal middle-class latinos. it did the job that he needed him to do, first republican to win about 30, 35% of the latino vote that has become more or less normal. >> yeah, sort of the high water for what the republican party can hope to begin. i want to give people a little
bit of a flavor of some of this so people can follow how, the precisely nixon was about this writing about bunuelos, treasury secretary under nixon. nixon has found himself a mixcan american who opposed chicano activism. he had also found a woman who believed in women but not liberation of women. >> totally she's amazing. >> it does seem to be the case of having figure heads and, of course, the criticism solid and possibly bad criticism and it
did pay off. and this gets to a point that you make that i think it's so interesting too. there's a cleared-eyed analysis among his administration and campaign that, okay, we are losing black voters through the 60's and one of the ways that we sort of stem that general electoral loss we need to make gains elsewhere, it's been underutilized or undertapped so having the prominent figure heads and crisscross the country, i don't have it exactly to hand but you cite just how many miles of the country in the campaign and it's just astonishing and that clearly, that clearly impacts voters. just seeing someone like them in position of power. >> right, there are ways, however, craft, there are ways for administrations to say that
we are an inclusive administration and we value, basically, you have a seat at the table, that's the kind of key point, i think, for many republicans when they appoint high-level latinos. latinos to high-level positions. >> another in nixon years that i'm actually going to get your take on is the creation of the hispanic category in the u.s. census. i'm going to give people a sense of the history because you write it more eloquently than i could summarize. you say the white house also directed the census bureau to count hispanics as unique category of americans in census, instead of criteria they relied earlier, they responded with spanish -- quote, unquote hispanic origin which would have more accurate measure of the population, they hired numb --
numerators on radio and television, being counted was a crucial stop was stopping economic woes because it would help where the government redirected resources. >> yeah. >> this is one to have things like nixon's support for the epa that just always, liberals in these days are always surprise today learn this. what, i mean, what do you see as some of the practical political consequences to have move with the census? did it have immediate observable consequences and also relatedly, i just don't want to just make this about politics. to what degree did it make the lives of hispanic americans better? was the government meaningfully using the information to craft policy towards the eyes of needs of community or was this naked kind of partisan, you you know
-- >> it did have practical consequences. i could have linked, you know, nixon's desire to create federal jobs for latinos to this conversation about the census because the idea when he went to -- the federal government manages agency regionally, southern region, north eastern region and the idea was that, you know, you have to have the same percentage of federal jobs going to latinos as latinos are of the broader population at the time and the only way to know how much of a percentage they represented in a particular region was to count them, conduct a census. many of the latino republicans, the chairman of the cabinet community on opportunities for spanish-speaking people for audience members, i'm so sorry that i have to go through the whole name, ccosp, but, you know, from -- he's a guy named
henry ramírez, educator from los angeles. and his whole thing is that in order to know who latinos are, where they are in order to get them kind of proper representation and know where they are in order to distribute resources to them, we have to know how many there are. that's not all that different from things that you hear, you know, nonpartisan groups today, like the national association of latino and elected officials saying in order to benefit latinos we have to know who they are, so, you know, i actually -- i don't see the creation of the hispanic category on the census as the kind of cynical ploy. it was something that he was able to count as outreach to latinos and included them on the census. from what i know about the latinos in the richard nixon administration, the efforts to have latinos counted was sincere.
>> yeah, yeah. it's extremely interesting. obviously, of course, so hard to scare with the republican party today which we will get to. in terms of how we move through the 70's and early 80's, to slide through decades of history like it's nothing. so let's talk about race and, you know, tell me if you think this is too -- reagan is such a figure and how issues resinate among hispanic voters in the u.s. there's the quote from a famous cuban, mayor of south florida, the way of havanas begins in managua, start to appeal to specific hispanic constituencies in south florida and beyond.
but one thing that particularly strikes me and where i wanted to address our attention for purposes to have conversation, after reagan wins in 1988, around '84, how he walks this very fine line between on the one hand doing right by hispanic americans sort of broadly speaking. not just in terms of playing the cold war politics but also, we can talk about, immigration reform in 1986 is a huge deal. 2 million people are essentially legalized through the process. massive accomplishment. and he also has the republican base and start to rear its head in late 70 and 80's, racist,
xenophobic, antiimmigrant base and reagan, it seems to me and correct me if i'm wrong, one of the first republicans to walk the line and to do it relatively successful. take us through a little bit how he's managing to do that? >> well, you know, i think he is kind of appealing to many different audiences but one thing to note that immigration reform and control act, that's a precedent for this frankenstein approach to immigration reform that we've had ever since. so in some ways like his efforts to satisfy the many different republican constituencies even if they are contradictory or opposed to one another in some ways is reflected in immigration reform in particular, so, you know, the immigration reform and control act has the 3 kind of, you know, legs if you want to consider them that what are amnesty, employer sanctions and
tougher border control and so each of those things appeals to different constituents and the republican party has never really been able to imagine anything beyond those 3 things as a way of achieving immigration reform because of the opposition between different members and their constituencies. so i think that's -- >> can i just add, just hearing you frame it, it's striking too because in many ways that define it is legacy of those 3 prongs and also shapes how democrats play the politics on this, the kind of what we now accept, what we now take for granted as the kind of tough on the border in exchange for some version of amnesty. that's sort of -- i would just say that democrats and republicans just empathized different aspects of that immigration reform but they haven't really gotten beyond, that's why -- i know it sounds
silly, but that's why i look toward border artists to think creative through border art about what more humanitarian or policies would be. i bring up immigration because it's reflected in the ways the republican party is being pulled in different directions at this time. you know, reagan, first of all, the most important thing that reagan tries to do, he decides he's not going to do patronage politics and craft hispanic identity that's ideology base, mexican-americans from california who tried to articulate the collection of issues like family values, the hard-work ethic, antimust be -- -- anticommunism and religious freedom as it unites.
and one of your first points, the republican party, latino communities themselves were never able to fully square this, you know, appeal to a hispanic latino national category into individual national groups. i think it's something that over the decades both parties have struggled with much like latinos themselves have. what i've been interested in is trying to look at. i'm not interesting in resolving the debate about what a hispanic or latino is, what i'm interested is pointing to the moment when latino groups or latino individuals working for one of the campaigns tried to do that. >> and, you know, this is a general question. i was going to save it for the end but seems worth mentioning now. precisely for all the reasons that you enumerate in the book, there's not a single hispanic identity that coheres to party
and there are different issues, sometimes some of the issues that matter say to cuban-american voters shape to what matters to mexican-american voters and so son and this is to keep it in clear-cut categories of cuban-american and mexican-american and we are not talking about colombian-american and nicaraguan american. one of the things that i'm asking about late reagan but certainly applies today, is whether you -- a risk a politician risks alienateing constituents by appealing to others. my twitter feed blew up the other day with all sorts of people going crazy over joe biden tweeting something about venezuela. and -- and it was striking to me because, you know, my first thought was like, yeah, i want biden to tweet about venezuela.
there's a very specific constituency that he's playing to there in florida. but, of course, that wrangled with so many other people, you know, other progressive values and priorities, it really made me wonder, like, how does a politician, national politician speak to one constituency without being overheard by other constituencies and, you know, alienating them and seems particularly acute with respect to hispanic americans, hispanic voters. >> yeah. yeah. that's a great question. i don't know that i have a great answer. i would just say that i think there might be a difference between a tweet that upsets someone and alienating them. alienating in the sense, that's it, i'm done with joe biden -- >> fair point. >> i think that there are issues and moments over time when
members of certain national groups don't like the policy of a particular candidate or president and they grumble about it. i don't know that it actually turns them away from the party. the thing that i always like to point to is nafta where the north american free trade agreement which mexican american republicans were initially excited about because they thought it would create more kind of trade opportunities for them, but cuban americans weren't excited about it because méxico at the end of the cold war had started doing more business with cuba and any country did business with cuba wasn't good for cuban americans. >> right, right. >> in puerto rico, for puerto rican american companies doing business in puerto rico, there are all kinds of tax incentives for them. so they thought their profits would be eaten into by the north american free trade agreement. that's an example of an issue that not all latino republicans were on board with, but i don't
think it turns them away from the republican party because they have these broader issues like statehood in the case of puerto ricans or which party is going the take a tougher stand toward castro as the things that were motivating them finally. >> yeah, no. that's such a good point. we could almost have a separate conversation. i was very keen to ask you about the bracero program going back now. it doesn't make sense for us now because we are short on time. just the idea of how -- i mean, there's a policy that has kind of labor implications that are legalized and the undocumented and even within an individual constituency like mexican americans in the u.s., obviously cut so many different ways. and so kind of threading that needle is so difficult. >> yeah. yeah. >> one thought i have because -- i want to open this up to
questions. but before -- but before we do, before this becomes thoroughly democratic, i -- i thought one way of getting through sort of the -- the most recent years, certainly the -- the late 80's and 90's to early 2000's is problematic and seems especially relevant now. this is with regard to republicans, is there ever to you a tipping point where antiimmigrant rhetoric and policy ends up dooming a republican appeal to hispanic voters because i was interested by your treatment of the 90's, nixon were kind of high point in 72 for how republicans could do
with hispanic voters, bob dole in '96, and one of the explanations among many others and bob dole is not the world's most charismatic campaigner and raft of policies that votersed not with clinton that signed them into but republican congress that birthed them, ira, notorious immigrant enforcement and welfare reform. that's on the heels of prop 187 in california and immigration as part of culture wars and english ordinances in different states.
we are still waiting for it. you have to explain support. floating the idea of a border wall construction which really freaks out a lot of mexican-american republicans in particular. but, you know, i think what happens is that, you know, even if from the 90's forward, hispanic republicans are at greater pain to explain their continued support for the republican party, that's when they start pointing to other issues as being more important to immigration like jobs, health
care, education, it had always been the case, of course, that latinos, single-issue voters. stresses the importance of other issues like jobs, education and health care as a way of justice and the creation of a long period of time of partisan loyalty, i mean, it's just the fact that by the 1990's, many hispanic republicans had been voting for republican candidates for decades and they don't switch, they also developed a pattern. for example, even just to bring it up for today, even though the coronavirus was devastating for latino small business owners and they had 85% of latino small
businesses had to apply for federal government support during the coronavirus, they still believe that the republican party, even trump's republican party will represent their economic interest better than joe biden. they still identify as republicans and i don't see not just at least. the two things you know as historians is that you can -- i can make statements about what i expect this on what happened over the past 50 years and that's why to me it's not a surprise that trump has some significant level of latino support today but the other thing you learn as a historian is that just because things were a certain way for the past 50 years don't mean that they are destined to be that way for the next 50 years. there could be a tipping point moment where things change and it has always seem to me while over the past few months, this seems like a moment that's right for it's tumultuous for everyone
including latino americans and amazing to see durability of identity even in turbulent times. >> no, it's such a good point. in many ways that to me is one to have most striking things about reading your book now, is you're essentially -- you've documented all the work put in over the course of a decade and it explains the persistence of this -- this -- some of these forms of loyalty even in the face of just wildly jarring examples that the current administration and the current iteration of the republican party is sort of directly hostile to the needs and interests of these very constituencies and as you said, leaving aside immigration stuff which, you know, obviously plays out in complex ways in different
communities and there isn't one to one correspond and how would respond to asylum at the border, those don't map out clearly. i always wondered, for instance, i was in south florida last year and trying to observe the impact of how state republican officials were playing up the venezuela issue to get different constituencies in line. in the summer of 2019 there was a concern that trump overplayed hand with venezuela and he gave up the game. he showed that it was only his commitment, rhetorical, promised anything and didn't deliver on any of it and year later the most -- kind of the most over the top form of that political posturing seems to be stuck. if you look at polling, that
looks like one of the controlling issues like why biden isn't catching in south florida, for example. >> reminded me what happened to reagan administration and by the end, you talked this big game but you haven't actually removed fidel castro. he's still there. all i can think of as an explanation like you have two options and you have a biden option and a trump option and even if latino republicans aren't fully satisfied with the biden option or with the trump option, they can never imagine themselves at this point voting for a democrat. voting for trump or not voting. i spoke with very few that will actually flip sides and vote for
democrats because i think by this point there's like this 50-year ingrained tradition on particular issues like socialism or the left or free enterprises or school choice, any number of things that at gut level hispanic republicans are going to identify with and always think that the republican party is going to handle those issues that are democrats. >> i started to wonder the smartest strategy in south florida say to be liken trump to the -- becoming -- describe him what he is. particularly with refusal to acknowledge the peaceful transfer of power if he should lose, the way he marshaled the military to support him on the streets, the -- you know, all of these things is denial of the coronavirus, quite honestly, if you takeaway the name, you know, it would be hard to figure out
which is daniel ortega quote and which is a donald trump quote. and yet like as you say, i wonder if there are even maybe diminishing returns at a certain point in pushing the line because the narrative has been set. we talk about polarization and you combine with entrenchment of certain voter preferences in the constituencies in a place like south florida and it's hard to chip away at it. >> it is. >> you know, do i feel like in some ways when they have ads that play joe biden next to che guevara. >> right. >> at some point it doesn't make sense. trump had brigade 2506, i feel
like they -- every -- they are really still going for it, but at some point, the connection between radical left and figures like joe biden isn't going to resinate anymore. >> yeah, yeah. >> i could talk to you for hours >> one question. >> i'm sorry to everyone else for hogging the mic. here is rachel's question, missteps both republicans and democrats in their efforts to reach out to latinos? can you give us -- rachel asked, can we get the blooper real.
give it to us. >> i think it looks the same whether a republican or a democrat. it's not all that different than joe biden playing luis fonsi through his cell phone on a microphone. it's like a cultural unawareness, cultural insensitivity that demonstrates lack of knowledge about a particular community and the idea that politicians regardless of which party they represent that you only come looking for a vote right after the convention during hispanic heritage month and many take offense to that and the same is true whether you're a democrat or a republican, so i do believe the idea that you have to all politicians, all americans, this
is why i wanted to bring up the point about maine and iowa, i would love to hear joe biden and donald trump talking in wisconsin not about dairy farmers. you watched the rnc, you think the whole state is dairy farmers. up to latinos in states where they don't think you should be talking to latinos. so i think, you know, doing it, engaging latinos even when you're not necessarily or explicitly looking for their votes and just get to know who we are, what our history is, i think that's the key to doing it and the misstep in bloopers come when you demonstrate like cultural insensitivity or lack of awareness. >> no, that's such a smart point. a good one to end on. i'm sorry to people who were asking questions that we have stepped on. pleasure to talk to you and i'm holding up the book with total admiration and i learned so much from this and i hope everyone goes out to read it i specially, especially now.
>> i appreciate it, john, thank you, thank you to harvard bookstore. >> okay, so for anyone who has lingering questions, feel free to visit the book, i put up the chat a couple of links to buy it from the website. i just want to take a moment to thank wonderful speakers and all of us joining us this. make sure to check out the hispanic republicans at the link in the chat or visit website, thanks again for your time and support and for spending part of your afternoon with us, have a great day, everyone, and stay well >> and we are going to leave fulfillment. the u.s. senate gaveling in on a sunday to vote on limiting debate on president trump's supreme court nominee amy coney
barrett the vote is scheduled for 1:00 o'clock eastern time. it would take a simple majority to give senators just 30 hours more to debate the nomination, setting up the confirmation vote to take place before monday night at 8:00 eastern or so. senators expected to work into the night or possibly overnight as the 30 hours ticks away, we will take you live in the senate floor in just a minute. likely to be the last senate before they recess on electionr day use them for your glory providing them with wisdom to live with the integrity that brings stability to nations. through their work,
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