Dems: Hidden substance
Martin O’Malley, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders participated in a televised Town Hall conducted by CNN this past Monday night. Chances are, you missed it. Unlike its Republican counterpart, the Democratic National Committee has badly undermined its own candidates by scheduling events on slow viewership days, at odd hours, or without much promotion.
There has been discussion that this is the Democratic Party machine ploy to ensure that Hillary Clinton is the only viable Democratic presidential candidate. A kinder view might be that the Democratic National Committee is being frugal since it has been revealed it is struggling financially. Or maybe, with a much more limited field than the Republicans, the Democrats think they need less airtime to distinguish themselves one from another.
But whatever the reason for the bad scheduling and worse promotional effort, the Democratic National Committee has done itself, its candidates, and the electorate a disservice. Latino voters in particular could benefit from hearing what the candidates choose to say.
We pointed out, after the last debate that the lack of discussion of issues of significance to Latinos was notable. Martin O’Malley was the only candidate at that time to bring up the financial crisis in Puerto Rico and the deportation raids that have terrorized immigrant communities since early January.
Little changed at Monday’s Town Hall in Iowa.
While the candidates were constrained by answering the questions asked by audience members, it was quickly evident that O’Malley was the only candidate who would address immigration — even when not asked about it directly.
For example, here’s O’Malley on the economy.
O’MALLEY: “Here’s another one to make wages go up instead of being a drag on wages, let’s get 11 million of our neighbors out of the underground shadow economy by passing comprehensive immigration reform ... with a pathway to citizenship for all.”
Later, in his closing, O’Malley referenced detentions and mass incarcerations: “The enduring symbol of our country is not the barbed wire fence. It is the Statue of Liberty.”
Contrast that with Sanders, who at no moment in his Town Hall appearance mentioned immigration nor, indeed, Latinos.
Clinton mentioned Mexicans once, in her response to the question from a young Muslim-American veteran and mother.
CLINTON: “One of the most distressing aspects of this campaign has been the language of Republican candidates, particularly their frontrunner, that insults, demeans, denigrates different people. He has cast a wide net. He started with Mexicans. He’s currently on Muslims. But I found it particularly harmful the way he has talked about Muslims, American Muslims and Muslims around the world. And I have called him out continuously about that.”
At various times during the Town Hall the CNN moderator, Chris Cuomo, made the mistake of referring to the Democratic primary race as a two-person race, and referring to Sanders and Clinton as “both the Democratic candidates.”
Cuomo also mentioned the Des Moines Register’s endorsement of Clinton in advance of the caucuses. But Cuomo did not mention that El Latino — one of Iowa’s six Spanish-language, Latino-centered newspapers — has endorsed O’Malley.
Can you imagine how interesting it would have been to ask Clinton and Sanders why El Latino didn’t endorse them?
When we posted our last debate analysis, Latinos in our readership commented on our Facebook page about how glad they were to see O’Malley get some media ink.
On the editorial itself, one of our longtime readers commented: “[O’Malley] has been the only Democrat candidate to sit with a DACA-DAPA family and listen to the difficult challenges they face, he protested with activists outside immigration detention jails, he denounced Donald Trump publicly for his racist ideas and rants towards Mexicans and immigrants, he has spoken out on the Puerto Rico financial problem, time and time again he has had the back of the Latino community.”
But thanks to the ridiculous scheduling of the Democratic debates/town halls, thanks to the narrow way media has focused coverage, thanks to moderators who know nothing about Latino media nor the communities they cover .... none of this will be part of the national discussion.
Do better next time DNC. Do better next time CNN. Do better next time Clinton & Sanders. Because Latinos are watching.