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tv   Washington Journal Julio Ricardo Varela  CSPAN  October 30, 2021 12:26pm-1:13pm EDT

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the 1990's. as communication shifted from network television to cable, and then the internet. then, david o'connell discusses his presidential legacy and what factors contribute to making a successful presidential term. up next, the truman court, law and the limits of loyalty, in which she argues that harry truman established the precedent for the politicization of the supreme court. find a program guide or watch online any time c-span.org/history. ♪
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>> washington journal continues. host: we are back with julioourt
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intersectionality, has journalists of color talking about the work that they do, and don't feel the pressure they have to represent everywhere in the community. at the same time in 2011, i founded latino rebels, a digital news site that focuses on english dominant, bicultural, -- i was a gen xer and not seeing a lot of my community reflected in my community -- in what i was seeing. i was a bilingual, bicultural kid growing up in puerto rico, new york, and boston, where i am based right now. i decided to create this site. eventually, we actually dove into politics. fast-forward right now, latino rebels as part of futuro media,
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and we have a white house correspondent that covers the n the white house, and we are a latino leaning outlet. a lot of things we are doing right now with the reconciliation bill and the infrastructure bill are focusing on the issues of immigration reform, the parliamentarian. we are in the halls of the capitol each day and on the hill, and in the end, no matter what you say about the latino community, in the census numbers, it represented more than 50% of all the u.s. population growth in the last 10 years. latinos are showing up in places that seem to be a little bit surprising. for example, in new england there is a very strong latino community in the urban areas of new hampshire. if you go out to idaho, oklahoma, wyoming, north dakota, utah, it's no longer
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concentrated to the traditional states of loretta, texas, california and new york. that's a lot of what we do. also on the podcast, i will say one last thing -- we do have an investigative unit. we have won peabody awards, morrow awards, we consistently deliver high premium journalism for the latino community and the poc community, and we also have original podcasts. so if you want to say jesse, we have a fantastic new history of race podcast that we did that won awards, and we did the history of selena and other things, and we did a podcast series about puerto rican stories being told in spanish and english. we are small, we are nimble -- we are not all young at futuro
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media, but we are proud of the work that we do and i am happy to be here to talk about anything. i have a lot of young people that work for me though, so -- host: maria and i have done several programs together, so make sure i tell her hello next time. guest: she is on a plane, but i will let her know. i am very honored as a journalist to have her as my northstar the lanes that she created for journalists like myself and others have just been incredible. i am so thankful for maria for leading the way. guest: tell us exactly what you cover on "in the thick." if i listen to it, what will i be hearing? guest: we have two shows a week. basically, it's a political show
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that during the election, we do talk electoral politics, the horse race, and as we get into the midterms next year we will be focused a lot on that. but this week, right, on our show, maria and i talked about strike tober, the labor movements, things happening at john deere and in other places, talking about where labor is in the post-pandemic world. would we try to do intentionally. it gets into the issues of representation, jesse, and the one thing is, i keep it honest. the reality is, if you look at media, it is the representation of media, which is predominantly white and male. when you start thinking about podcasts like "pod save america" for things like that, the representation is lacking. what we have tried to do is realize there is a strong group of journalists of color covering
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politics, labor, immigration that are writing for some of the best outlet in the united dates. we bring them on. we had this incredible discussion about labor and the strike movement in a post-pandemic world and on friday, maria and i kind of look at some of the topics together, we call it our sound off. just this weekend, our show, we talked about the negotiations with democrats in the budget bill. we talked about the january 6 committee, and we talked about covid-19, impacting communities of color. we spent 15 minutes on the president of brazil last week. so we talk about topics that are important to communities of color. sometimes -- i am also an msnbc columnist and will talk on the
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other shows, you have to talk about puerto ricans, immigration, or the latino community. it's issues we are interested in. maria and i are political junkies. we don't want to talk about immigration, we want to talk about political legislation on capitol hill because we think we bring a perspective that is rare in the political landscape, and we believe this represents the growing trend in america of us becoming more of a multiracial, multiethnic society, and i understand there are tensions to that. but look at the census data, and i will say this. latinos, as we continue to grow and our buying powers continue to grow and as our political power continues to grow, we are part of the american fabric. no matter how you spin it. it's an interesting time, and we just want to be leaders in that conversation, jesse. host: who would you say your
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podcast is for? would you consider yourself a conservative podcast, a liberal podcast, an independent podcast? guest: those are very good questions. our podcasts are really for political followers, people that love political news. might want to look at it from a different perspective. when you do have journalists of color leading the conversation, you already have that perspective. we like to think that we complicate the mainstream political discussion that might be bigger, that might have a bigger audience. our audience is growing and we have won awards too, but i think there is also a problem that people cs as "ethnic podcasting"
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or "latino podcasting," and that's a problem. we try to focus on authentic voices, the connection that maria and i have with each other as journalists, the careers we bring to the conversation. the amazing relationships we have created with incredible journalists of color, renee graham, opinion columnist at the boston globe, eddie gloud, who you see on msnbc. he joined us all the time and tells us, this is the most fun i have ever had, and i have that on record. but our podcast will lean into the latino community. we are not afraid to criticize democrats, and i think people make a big assumption or a big mistake about our podcast, that we are not here to assume that latinos are in the bag for the
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democratic party. we have our history, our record speaks for itself as journalists. maria was one of the first, maria more than i was, that would criticize the obama administration. we finished our sound off on friday and were criticizing democrats for not getting their act together. at the same time, we also spend a lot of time looking at what we really strongly believe is an anti-mexican, anti-latino lens of the republican party. some of it is a little bit bipartisan as well. we are the only podcast that looks at it the history -- looks at the history of immigration, and remind everyone that in 1995, 1996, bill clinton was saying the same thing that if you saw donald trump saying it in 2015, it was pretty similar.
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this is a topic that has been so misunderstood by this country and so demonized, and does not look at the humanity of people and migration. we make the case that it is a bipartisan problem that has never been resolved. at the same time, the republican party needs to wake up when it comes to latinos. i will say, whatever you say about what happened in 2020, the republican party did an incredible job in latino outreach, for the voters that they needed to get from the latino community. that was a strategy by the trump-pence campaign, to go into miami and the border towns of texas. i have written about this -- democrats are way behind the eight ball when it comes to
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really engaging latino voters in the united states. arizona is a perfect example of what i would say, in 2020 -- it was not because democrats did outreach to latinos in arizona. it's because of what happened in arizona the last 10 to 15 years with sb 1070, the anti-immigrant bill, and the organizing from young people who grew up in that time. they were the ones who delivered arizona to joe biden. i think there is a sense of what is happening now with democrats. the latinos are really -- they are putting democrats and trying to hold them accountable. if you look at all the views on joe biden right now, which i think is interesting, the group with the biggest drop in support for joe biden,
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and this was done by 538, which has all the biden rankings and popularity polls -- the biggest group that has dropped, it has been latinos. that says a lot about how this community is still misunderstood, there are issues with both parties, and democrats can really begin to tap into that. latinos could be there for life for democrats. i do not think they are there, and we spend a lot of time criticizing that. sometimes we get in trouble, but that is what you are supposed to do. make good trouble. a quote from representative lewis. host: i will like to invite our viewers to take part in this conversation. we will open up regional lines. regional lines, so if you are in the central or eastern time zones, your number will be (202) 748-8000. mountain or pacific time zones,
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your number will be (202) 748-8001. we will open up a special line for latino voters, latino voters, we want to hear from you at (202) 748-8002. keep in mind, you can always text us at (202) 748-8003, and we are always reading on social media, on twitter at @cspanwj and facebook at facebook.com/cspan. now, what are you hearing from latino voters as their priority, as we come up on the midterm election? what are the issues you are hearing out there in your community that are rising to the top right now? host: i think the big issue is, where have the campaign promises gone for the biden administration? i know it is one of those truths that does not want to be elevated. i know people in the biden
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administration, as a journalist, we ask tough questions. but what we are finding our reporting, whether it is latino usa, latino rebels, in the thick, talking to latino voters, there is a sense of where -- what have you done? one of the things that is important about all this, jesse, we have to acknowledge the fact that the covid-19 pandemic decimated black and brown communities. decimated. i did a report out of boston last year, for example, in the city of chelsea, which is literally where immigrants and essential workers live in the boston area -- they go into boston to do the essential work. a community like chelsea, massachusetts, a community like el paso in texas, other places in the southwest have been decimated. there is this expectation from the biden administration that you need to step it up.
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even with the build better act and the infrastructure bill, what we are seeing is this question of, do democrats have their act together? at the same time, you also see a republican party that, even though they might have pockets in certain parts of the country, still seems to be out of touch with the latino community as well. i think one of the biggest under told stories of this new cycle during the pandemic has been how much this pandemic has decimated latino communities and how much, when we talk about essential workers, are we talking about the people that are picking our food? are we talking about the people that are delivering our food and cooking our food? i would argue that essential workers in that capacity in the last two years are just as essential as people who were working on the front lines of the medical fronts, cops and
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firemen. there were a lot of people that made sure people like us, who have the privilege of working out of their home during the pandemic, could survive. i think one of the biggest messages that both parties are failing right now is not understanding that those essential workers saved america. i sit here and i try to get past the fact that very little is being done for our communities. i do think you are starting to see a community that is starting to understand its political power more and more. it is not a monolith. i always say that. the way people need to treat latinos, you have to treat us like swing states. you have to look in places like the northeast and the midwest and down in florida and on the border in texas and in the west, but that's what i'm saying -- i'm seeing a disappointment.
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and the voting confirms it. it's almost like a gut check for democrats right now, in terms of them understanding whether they have to outreach to the latino community, go beyond campaign promises and showing up at taco stands during the campaign were cuban coffee places during the campaign dashboard cuban coffee places -- or cuban coffee places during the campaign. host: this is a topic we always hear from republican and conservative voters, it's about immigration. this is a top topic for a conservative voter, so i want to ask you that. but then, i want to play to you what president biden has said recently about immigration. guest: sure. host: when i asked warily -- where immigration
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sits among latino voters, is that a top issue? guest: it depends. you might look at the polling and see that latinos care about the economy, health care, and education, just like almost every other american, right? but i think immigration is an issue of the heart. you have a community that has been sort of deceived by both parties. this has been a bipartisan effort to deceive the community. there is a growing sense with 9/11, you get the formation of dhs and ice, there is a criminalization of laborers who are -- you know what? people say oh, we can't let these people in -- who is going to do the work? where are the americans that want to go pick tomatoes in california or florida? are you doing the work? we have created a system that has allowed and exploited migrant labor, and that is on us
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as americans. that is not on them. we have created policy -- people tend to forget that there have been wars in central v america close to vietnam. -- central america close to vietnam. why are people coming from central america? because we created those problems. the problem with us in america is we do not have a good sense of history anymore. it is very easy to blame a mexican migrant worker for your ills. that is part of american society right now, and the republican party has exploited on that based on the tradition, let's not forget, that when the irish came in the 19th century, that was happening. when the italians and the jewish people came, that was happening. when the asians came, that was happening.
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america has a very good tradition of demonizing immigrants, and in fact does not realize the benefit that they have given to this country. i challenge people to go to cities. i am up in the northeast, and there are a lot of old mill towns in new england that are dying. people who are saving them? latin american immigrants are saving those cities. we have to take a pause. we have to understand that it is too easy. we are simplifying this debate and we have not explored it as a country in a way that looks at the deep, historical issues that have impacted what we have created. until we come to terms with that, we are never going to solve this. it is going to be an ongoing debate, and it is too easy, too simplistic. i felt both republicans and democrats. host: before president biden's
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comments on immigration, i want to get in a few callers who have been patiently waiting. let's go to anna, from new york, new york. good morning. caller: good morning. hi, julio. i've noticed that the media tends to look at the latino-hispanic community as this monolithic community that has a single voice regarding, you know, all issues. and we are not. we come from so many different places, backgrounds, cultures, different economic systems, different political systems. so when someone like he was asked, you know, what is the latino perspective -- like you are asked, you know, what is the latino perspective on, y and z, there is no one latino perspective on anything.
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guest: absolutely. when you look at what is happened politically, there is an argument to be made. we are not a monolith. we come from countless countries, countless regions. rhetoric and sin new york do not have the same experience as mexican-american -- puerto ricans in new york do not have the same experience as mexican americans in california. but it is easy to paint in a broad stroke. what we do at futuro media is go into the communities and talk to these people. but i always say, as much as we have differences, there is a lot that unites our communities. for example, when then-candidate trump came down that escalator in 2015 and -- i said it and i called it and i do not care what anyone thinks -- that was hate speech, when he talked about mexicans as rapists and they are
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not bringing our best. all that. i would argue that was hate speech. that was part of the american tradition of hate speech. myself as a puerto rican man felt that, those comments. i felt that and share that experience with my chicano, my mexican-american brothers and sisters all over the country. i do think there are things that unite us, but we also have to constantly be questioning the fact that we are more diverse, whether it's political, ideologically, racially. colonialism and imperialism is not just a north american thing. plenty of south and central americans have examples of that. at the same time, i do believe that there are certain tenants, there is a commonality. i come from my perspective, i think american media has done a
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terrible job at humanizing migrants. they are dehumanized. we treat it like we are covering an espn sporting events. here comes another migrant caravan, they are coming around the corner and getting to the border -- that is just shameful for journalists to do that. it is not just conservative media outlets. i wrote a piece for "the washington post" earlier this year talking about the use of words like "wave of migrants," "the invasion." these words that dehumanize people who are fleeing desperate situations. that did not happen on fox news or breitbart, that also happened in "the new york times," "the wall street journal," "the washington post," so there is a larger lack of
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understanding of the migrant community. there are not a lot of us in these editorial positions, and a lot of editors in this country do not know our community. they do not understand it. it is too easy to simplify. so i keep jabbing away, like muhammad ali, and my dad says, keep jabbing away and stay true to your mission, but yes. latinos are complex and we are also trying to figure out our own activity, as we are growing in this country. but we are part of the american fabric and we are not going away. host: let's talk to betty, calling from with keegan, illinois -- waukeegan, illinois. caller: good morning. i disagree with this gentleman. i am an african-american, i am 82 years old, and the town i live in, the hispanics have taken over. they got all the jobs, whether
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or not they speak my language. what about the people who came here -- we cannot even keep our culture. we had to learn english. you keep your culture, you still speak spanish, and it is not fair for us. we helped build this country too.i disagree with this gentleman. i have daughters in their 20's and 30's -- they cannot get a job because they don't speak english. that's not fair. i am speaking for my people like he is speaking for his people. i am sorry, they have taken over my little town where i live in. host: go ahead and response to her. guest: yeah, one of the things that is interesting, the history of black and brown communities in this country. part of this has to do with the divide and conquer mentality that has been part of the u.s. government that political parties. one of the things we don't do as
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a community, both latino and african-american communities, we don't talk about our shared experiences. we don't -- aren't allowed to. we have to fight each other. it is better to divide each other. on the issue of language, whatever we want to say, i am going to be straight up and brutally honest -- if you are bilingual in this country, you make more money. you do. this notion that latinos are not learning english is just not true. i have dated to prove it, the pew research center, for example, if you look in the last 12 years, what you have seen is as latinos are part of this american society, english dominance is growing. it's a typical immigrant experience. your first generation might not know spanish, but your second, third and fourth generation knows english and spanish. this is the problem with
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politics. it is so easy. it is so easy to blame somebody else. right? we are not talking about shared experiences. in waukegan, near chicago, maria is from chicago -- there are cities that needed to get saved. i understand that there are issues with jobs. but if we start pitting each other against each other, that's a problem. i think we have forgotten our history. we have forgotten our shared experiences with lack and brown communities. we have forgotten cesar chavez and martin luther king, they marched together and wrote letters to each other, but people don't want us to know that. it is so much easier to pitch black and brown -- pit black and brown, and that's what they want. i refuse to accept that. host: let's talk to todd, calling from watsonville, california. caller: good morning.
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i was wondering if your guest would answer a question. if the immigrants coming to the united states come from countries that have systemic corruption in their government, if that leaks into our government here, because they have had multiple generations of living under corrupt governments. how that affects the united states government? thank you. guest: we are the biggest exporter of corruption in latin america. so i would turn that question around. look at the monro doctrine, look at the united fruit company, which was an actual company created in the united states to go and exploit bananas in places like guatemala and honduras. they literally ran the country.
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they literally picked their leaders. there was no democracy in central america back in the day. the united states, particularly in central america, has been deeply involved and influenced those countries so much. so i laugh a little bit when i hear the vice president say we have to stop corruption in central america. we exported it. and let's not forget, everyone talks a lot about american history. everyone seems to forget that the united states, especially texas poachers, invaded mexico to lead to a major u.s.-mexico war that took over the remaining territory of what we know as the united states to be. we tend to overlook that war, because at the time, our country wanted western expansion and we had to get that. we had to get to california. california did not happen magically in the united states.
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it was part of mexico and we won it in a war. so we need to start looking at ourselves in american history and what we have done to latin americans, central americans, and places like mexico. puerto rico, where i am from, we have not even talked about colonialism in puerto rico. we have not even talked about that. we need to pause, because that is the part that is missing in this entire debate, our severe lack of understanding of american history. for all this emphasis about, the mistakes of the past, if we learn history we will understand the mistakes of the past -- let's face up. the war on drugs? when people talk about the cartels, trafficking and everything -- if america didn't love drugs so much, there would not be a drug market. its supply and demand. america needs to look into the problems they caused, and a lot
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of this is on us. it's too easy to blame migrants who are fleeing desperation and conditions we created in this country. host: let's talk to susan, calling from michigan. good morning, susan. caller: good morning. i just wanted to say that i think julio is lumping migrants together himself, and everything he is saying is totally ridiculous. we have no problem in america with immigrants, but you don't get to come marching into our country without being invited because you don't like what's going on in your country. you've got all the people that are waiting, who are doing it right, filing the paperwork and everything and getting visas to come in here. that's the way it's supposed to be. these migrants are not being taken good care of. they are being taken over by
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gangs and being hired for slave labor, so it's not as if they are improving their lives by coming here. host: go ahead and respond there, julio. guest: one of the things people tend to forget when we look at what is legal in this country, seeking asylum is legal in this country. migrants can come up to any border patrol officer and say, i am seeking asylum from persecution in my country. that is part of the u.s. legal code. people tend to forget that in the conversation. but let's talk about legal immigration for a second. what happened right now, there has been an anti-legal immigration movement coming out of the republican party, mostly from the anti-immigrant lobbying network that came from the last 30 years that have influenced people like jeff sessions, who used to be a senator, and stephen king. there is an anti-immigrant lobby in washington, d.c. that literally ran the trump
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administration. i will not argue if you do it legally, you are fine, because the reality is the policies for people who are trying to do it right are not conducive as well. what's happened at -- with the biden administration in the last year and a half, it has been undoing a lot of the problems created by the trump administration. in the end, this is not about -- those are just all excuses. in the end, people are afraid of the browning of this country. simple as that. what we are seeing is a cultural division, and you're are going to have politicians who exploit that and play off the cultural fear and create situations that are not realistic, and you have another side that is not doing a good job in communicating what is really going on. so i would also argue, if you love your social security and if you love the benefits that are coming, who is going to come in and do the work? who is doing the work? who is doing the work on the farms? who is doing the work, the
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essential work to get your food delivered? are those americans, americans who are like, i am going to do this for my country? the reality is, we have created a system that has exploited migrant labor for centuries and we have a good system of that. like -- migrant labor and the exploitation of migrant labor is an offset of slavery. the system is what it is, and i think people who easily blame migrants for everything are not looking at the whole context of this. i find that to be quite disappointing. host: let's talk to rudy, calling from sun city, california. good morning. caller: good morning. julio, i agree with you totally. i am an og black male, there are latinos in my family that i
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enjoy, and just like with the caller a couple back, i really get disappointed with the fact that she wants to blame the hispanic community, because they get jobs. i think everybody should get out and attempt to get jobs. so, we just need to come together. black, brown, and there is a whole bunch of good white folks out there also. so it's going to get better. we just have to work on it a lot more. thank you, julio. bye-bye. guest: thank you, rudy. i think he is right. there are a lot of things here that we tend to overlook in our own history. i think we are at a point, a crisis point in this country where you are going to see people looking at the browning of america as a positive. when you look at the centrists, and there are people who are going to be incredibly terrified. that's where our policy is going
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to be coming from. the problem is, there are not a lot of voices on my side that look at that change, because there are a lot more voices on the others to fear -- other side of fear. i am a little tugboat, going against the daily wires and bench of -- ben schapiros of the world. i have to say, this is a bipartisan problem. democrats are also to blame for this issue. it is so much more complicated that i wish we would begin to have a deeper discussion as opposed to just easy talking points. i know that might sell media and advertising and win campaigns, but it is wrong and negates american history. host: before we run out of time, i want to go back to something
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you talked about earlier. pugh says in the last presidential election, president biden got 59% in the latino vote. president trump got 38% of the latino vote. one of our social media followers wants to know, how do you explain latino support of trump, despite the fact that he came down the steps and said that mexicans were rapists, criminals, and carriers of disease? guest: yeah, it's no question, first of all, the trump campaign did an amazing job getting the voters that they wanted. the voters they wanted in the latino community and people who look at the statistics are more affluent, they are whiter, they might -- you know, we have our own problems as a community bringing ourselves down. puerto ricans and dominicans do not get along. mexicans and central americans do not get along. if you are latino in the united states and you are latin
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american, you are not latino enough. one of the things that is really important that the trump campaign did a very effective strategy of, turning this into a left-right issue. when you look at latin american politics. , there is not a lot of moderation in the latin american politics. you are either on the right or the left. it is easy to scream out "socialism" in an american campaign as you have a growing latin american community. they understand that, because when they come from countries like venezuela or places like cuba, they understand -- conservative leaning latinos understand that when you hear a word like socialism, it is effective. i do not discount the efforts done by the republican party and the trump campaign. one of the biggest mistakes democrats are doing, they are not investing in communities for latino political outreach. it is about representation and they need to do a better job.
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host: let me see if we can squeeze in one more caller here. guest: [laughter] ok. host: darrell, calling from the virgin islands. do you have a quick question? caller: yes, i just want to agree with mr. varela. people claim that they are immigrants, but they are not really immigrants. they need to read into latin america, gagliano . they need to read that book so the u.s. can understand what they did to central america. guest: thank you so much, jesse. host: we would like to thank julio ricardo varela, for being with us this morning, talking about politics, race and
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culture. thank you so much. guest: thank you so much. host: we would like to thank all of our guests, social media followers, and everyone for another edition of "washington journal." continue to wash her hands and stay safe♪ [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government, funded by
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