Jorge Ramos gives true voice to Latinos in the Democratic Debate
Univision’s anchor became a focal point by putting Democratic candidates against the ropes and breaking with common political verbiage.
We can have all the differences and discrepancies with the way of doing journalism in the United States, but if we owe something to the Trump era, it’s the resurgence of the right voices at the right time.
That’s what Jorge Ramos became during the Democratic debate last Thursday.
Referring to the “Latinx” community, Ramos opened his participation as a moderator making it clear “we also speak Spanish in this country.”
"This debate is taking place at a very difficult time for Latinos in Texas and throughout the United States, but it’s important that they know, that we know that this is our country."
Without stepping into pleasantries, Ramos opened his questions by speaking directly about Latin America, especially the situation in Venezuela.
Mixing languages, the journalist gave a voice to a community that had not had a chance in previous debates, exemplifying the heterogeneity of Latinos in the United States.
On issues such as the relationship between veganism and climate change, for example, Ramos hit the spot on a key issue for the Hispanic community in the country, after polls determined the importance Latinos give Climate Change during the midterm elections. He also highlighted that their communities have been the most affected by natural disasters.
As The Hill explained earlier this year, "Latinos are 165% more likely to live in counties with unhealthy levels of pollution and 51% more likely to live in counties with unhealthy levels of ozone than non-Hispanic whites."
However, and as Ramos correctly posed to candidate Cory Booker - the only vegan among the candidates - the relationship between food and climate change is a double-edged sword for Latinos, who make up 80% of farmworkers in the United States.
But the most important question the journalist asked during the debate had to do with immigration.
Referring to the massacre in El Paso, Ramos asked Vice President Joe Biden:
“Vice President Biden, as a presidential candidate, in 2008, you supported the border wall, saying, ‘Unlike most Democrats, I voted for 700 miles of fence.’ This is what you said,” the journalist stated.
“Then you served as vice president in an administration that deported 3 million people, the most ever in U.S. history.”
“Did you do anything to prevent those deportations? I mean, you've been asked this question before and refused to answer, so let me try once again. Are you prepared to say tonight that you and President Obama made a mistake about deportations? Why should Latinos trust you?”
Between stutters, Biden compared his administration with Donald Trump and turned to the DACA card to try to convince the journalist.
"Yeah, but you didn’t answer the question," Ramos counterattacked, cornering the Democratic favorite and putting him on a silver platter so that the former secretary of housing and urban development - and only Latino candidate - Julian Castro could attack:
“My problem with Vice President Biden — and Cory pointed this out last time — is every time something good about Barack Obama comes up, he says, oh, I was there, I was there, I was there, that's me, too, and then every time somebody questions part of the administration that we were both part of, he says, well, that was the president,” Castro said.
“I mean, he wants to take credit for Obama's work, but not have to answer to any questions.”
Ramos exemplified the urgency of the Latin American community in the United States to be involved in the debate, to have a seat at the table and break with the stereotypes that Donald Trump’s White House intends to impose on them.
His voice and stoicism are only a sample of the real challenge that candidates have when it comes to convincing an electorate deeply hurt by this Administration.