Latinos know their vote is key
Latinos in Revere engaged in the 2018 election more than any other election before. But what is driving this new wave of immigrants to try and obtain their citizenship as fast as possible in order to become first time voters?
The answer could be as simple as being able to cast a vote against Donald Trump and his anti-immigration policies. More than ever, this midterm election embodied the difference between having some form of representation and not having any representation at all. There is a feeling that goes beyond political beliefs. When you see someone like Ayanna Pressley or Jay Gonzalez, you actually feel that they listen, are empathetic, and that by giving them a voice, you too, can also have a say in local matters.
Does it matter that someone like Pressley does not drive but uses the T on an everyday basis? Yes it does! Many Latinos in the area commute to jobs in Boston using one of the four train stations that Revere has to offer. Things that we have learned about Pressley from the midterm campaign have shown Latinos that if she can ride the T, they can too.
The Latino community got very engaged in this year’s midterm with the hope that their scream will be heard in Washington. More than ever they are anxious about the future of their families. Even the question surrounding around whether their children could or could not be American citizens has arisen among voters. These are major and important factors that have pushed thousands into the polls last Tuesday.
Every day in social media you can perceive that there is a sense in the Latino community of Revere that Trump has increased discrimination, racism, and hate-speech toward immigrants, and that they need to do something about it. At the same time they worry about jobs and the economy.
Revere has been privileged that there have not been victims of mass shootings here and we are, over all, a safe city. But the shootings that are in the news have been a factor, and families feel that gun control is in the hands of their vote.
And on matters like health and Question 1, Latinos had to make a decision. Many are on MassHealth, or Medicaid, and go to small community health centers. This question was key for the wellbeing of their families. Another big factor to take action.
Around Revere and all around the country, Latinos know that their vote is the key on future elections and midterms are only the thermometer for what’s to come.
Originally a journalist from Ecuador, Monse Torres-Hood became an activist for her community after seeing inequalities and a need for change. A Revere resident, she was appointed a district project director for a citywide early learning project for low income children, “Footsteps2Brilliance.”
The Pink Wave Restored My Faith
As a young woman in politics, this past election left me with immense inspiration — the exact opposite from 2016.
Two years ago, I lost my election for state representative in the 9th Essex District (Saugus, Wakefield, and Lynn) by a wide margin. Despite knocking on over thousands of doors and campaigning my heart out — it simply was not enough.
On the campaign trail I faced widespread sexism and was alarmed that women did not seem motivated by my message of electing the first woman to serve the District. I also struggled to activate young voters. Most of them weren’t registered nor were they informed about my race. After my loss, I truly felt defeated.
2018 has restored my faith in politics both nationally and in the Commonwealth. I was left feeling empowered by not the Blue Wave, but the Pink Wave: the incredible women elected across the nation largely by a swath of young voters.
For the first time ever, over 100 women will serve in Congress. Here in Massachusetts, women will hold 57 of 200 legislative seats, a record for the state.1 Not only did women win, but they also flipped historically red districts blue. In Andover, Tram Nguyen, a legal aid attorney, unseated a Republican incumbent, Jim Lyons. Her message of bringing positive change and action ousted a staunch conservative who fought against abortion and LGBTQ rights.
In addition to women, young people showed up too. Thirty-one percent of voters aged 18 to 29 cast ballots in the 2018 midterm elections, up 10 points from 20142. As the manager of The Blue Lab, I work with college interns every day and can see their growing passion for public service. Young people are fired up in a way I have not seen before.
Lastly, this election showed us the importance of engaging with voters on a personal level. While knocking on doors for my candidates from Attleboro to Andover, I realized voters are voting for the person instead of the party. People vote for who they like. Voters across the country were energized because they felt inspired by charismatic candidates who worked hard for their vote.
This means that for 2020, if Democrats want to win, they will need to nominate someone who can personally connect with voters. They cannot rely on using hackneyed liberal rhetoric. Voters are no longer tied down by ideology, instead they want an authentic candidate who cares. Needless to say, it’s going to be an unpredictable ride — and I can’t wait to jump on board.
Jen Migliore is a political consultant for the Liberty Square Group where she manages the firm’s Blue Lab, a political incubator revolutionizing campaigns. She was the Democratic nominee for State Representative in the 9th Essex District in 2016 and served as an aide to U.S. Seth Moulton.
1 — Lannan, Katie. “Women Will Hold 57 of 200 Legislative Seats, and That’s a Record.” State House News Service.
2 — Hansen, Claire. “Young Voters Turned Out in Historic Numbers, Early Estimates Show.” U.S. News & World Report.
Progressive ideas can win
The big takeaway from Tuesday’s election for me was that progressive ideas can win anywhere in the country and that Democrats will succeed when we focus on bread and butter issues. The results also show that diversity is a strength of Democratic Party. While Republicans resorted to using fear and racially divisive tactics, Democrats ran campaigns that were inclusive of every race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation.
In Missouri, Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill ran a centrist campaign highlighting how often she votes with Trump in congress, she also expressed support for the president’s stance on the migrant caravan. Unfortunately for her, those issues did not motivate Democrats to come out and support her. The end result was that Claire McCaskill lost with 45 percent of the vote, while the state’s ballot initiative to increase their minimum wage received overwhelming support with 62 percent of the vote.
Other ballot initiatives such as marijuana legalization, Medicare expansion, and criminal justice reform passed in states like Utah, Montana, and Florida. Young voters motivated by social issues and a frustration with establishment politics voted in a wave of diverse progressive women and LGBTQ+ candidates in places like Minnesota, Michigan, Kansas, New Mexico, and Colorado.
Going forward Democrats need to be clear that we offer a substantive alternative to the Republican Party. The message cannot simply be “Trump is bad for our democracy.” A young single mother raising two children in Lynn who struggles to pay $1,800 a month for a two-bedroom apartment, and the young college graduate with crushing student loan debt, are not focused on Donald Trump’s Twitter account. They are concerned with stagnant wages, the cost of rent, and health care costs that continue to rise.
When Democrats put forth policies that will improve the quality of people’s lives, our message will resonate with voters, and I truly believe we can be compete in any state across the country. We need to support simple, clear and popular initiatives like Medicare for All, minimum wage increases, and affordable housing. These are issues that will unite voters from diverse backgrounds and will alleviate the heavy burden on lower, working and middle class of Americans.
Marven Hyppolite is a resident of downtown Lynn, a community activist, and a member of Neighbor2Neighbor and the New Lynn Coalition. He ran for Ward 5 City Councilor in Lynn in 2015 and 2017.