The Trump administration’s plan to change the poverty line would hurt communities who need help the most

For decades our country has suffered from systemic inequality and racial segregation that continues to prevent millions of African Americans from gaining access to new opportunities. Now, President TrumpDonald John TrumpConway defends herself against Hatch Act allegations amid threat of subpoena How to defuse Gulf tensions and avoid war with Iran Trump says ‘stubborn child’ Fed ‘blew it’ by not cutting rates MORE is once again attempting to rob African American communities of basic assistance, access to education and quality health care.

The Trump administration is on the verge of making an end run around Congress by attempting to change the federal poverty line. In a recently released proposal, the administration would change how inflation is used to calculate the official federal definition of poverty used by the U.S. Census Bureau to estimate the size of the country’s poor population. This is clearly another attempt to cut people with low- or moderate-income off of government assistance. If successful, the Trump administration would single handedly cause millions of Americans across the nation to lose their eligibility for, or a decrease in, help from health care services, food assistance programs such, as SNAP, and other programs that help working families reach their basic needs.

In health care, the federal poverty level (FPL) income numbers from the previous year are used to calculate an individual’s or family’s eligibility for certain programs and benefits. This includes savings on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace health insurance plans, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage.  By considering lowering the inflation measure to calculate annual adjustments to the FPL, the administration is putting a bullseye on low-income Americans, African Americans who tend to have a low- or moderate-income, seniors, and people with disabilities.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, after ten years, more than 250,000 seniors and people with disabilities would lose eligibility for, or see a large decrease in, help from Medicare’s Part D Low-Income Subsidy program. If you’re wondering what that means, let us explain. If President Trump rolls back this guidance, our seniors and people with disabilities would pay higher premiums for their prescription drugs and could pay premiums of over $1,500 per year for their health care coverage.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. This change would also force more than 300,000 children from their comprehensive coverage through Medicaid and CHIP – as well as some pregnant women. In the African American community, just like in other communities across the country, health care costs are directly tied to a family’s economic capabilities. We know that many Americans are still struggling to make ends meet and live paycheck to paycheck. That is why a change to the poverty line would be a drastic hit to working families everywhere. By implementing a slower-rising poverty line, the administration would kick nearly 200,000 working families off SNAP altogether by the 10th year of indexing the poverty line.

And to add insult to injury, more than 100,000 school-age children would lose their eligibility for free or reduced lunch, while about 40,000 infants and young children would lose access to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC). Needless to say, President Trump’s plan would sabotage the life-saving programs millions of Americans rely upon to pull themselves out of poverty. In the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “[o]f all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” We cannot willingly stand by and let President Trump erode the moral lining of our great country. Evidence indicates that the current poverty level is already below what is needed to help working families succeed! The administration is looking to undermine our nation’s health care law at the expense of our families, friends and loved ones. As members of the Congressional Black Caucus – we fully understand our role as the conscience of the Congress. With the help of the Congressional Black Caucus Poverty Reduction Task Force: “Building Ladders of Opportunity” led by Reps. Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeThe Trump administration’s plan to change the poverty line would hurt communities who need help the most GOP rep: Trump needs to retaliate against Iran to deter other hostile nations Democrats to pass spending bill with Hyde despite 2020 uproar MORE (D-Calif.) and Gwen MooreGwen Sophia MooreThe Trump administration’s plan to change the poverty line would hurt communities who need help the most Ex-White House ethics chief compares Ivanka, Kushner security clearances to college admissions scandal Dem compares college cheating scandal to Ivanka, Jared’s security clearance MORE (D-Wis.), we will continue to fight against all attempts to roll back the clock and take our nation back to the days where insurance companies could charge working families more or worse – change, deny or drop your coverage.

It is our hope that you will join us and the Congressional Black Caucus in making your voice heard and fighting back for the most vulnerable in our community. 

Bass is chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus; Butterfield is co-chair of the Out-of-Poverty Caucus, a member of the CBC and represents the 1st District of North Carolina; and Horsford is a CBC member and represents the 4th District of Nevada.

Trump shows he remains fixated on Obama

MIAMI — Two and a half years into his presidency, Donald Trump still has Barack Obama on his mind.

Trump mentioned Obama, his wife and “Obamacare” 23 times in his interview on “Meet the Press” — when he was asked only four direct questions that involved the former president.

And some of those mentions contained outright falsehoods.

June 23, 201934:44

Here’s a partial list:

  • “You cannot have nuclear weapons [regarding Iran]. And they would have had them with President Obama. He gave them $150 billion.” (In fact, the Iran nuclear deal was forged to keep Iran from nuclear weapons, and the $150 billion wasn’t U.S. money – it was Iran’s money frozen in international financial institutions around the world.)
  • “Obama had a lousy economy. It was a dead economy.” (In fact, the state of the economy has been fairly consistent between Obama’s second term and Trump’s first two years in office – with Obama enjoying slightly higher job-creation numbers and Trump with slightly higher GDP numbers. But in no way was the economy “dead” under Obama.)
  • “[U]nder President Obama you had separation [of migrant families]. I was the one that ended it.” (In fact, it was Trump’s administration that started this zero-tolerance policy, while there was no similar actual policy by the Obama administration.)
  • “I’m about great health care. Obamacare is a disaster. I got rid of the individual mandate.”
  • Mike [DeWine in Ohio] won. Georgia, President Obama was there. Oprah was there. Michelle Obama was there. It was going to be a big celebration. [Stacey Abrams] was the star of the party. I went there for Brian. Brian Kemp. Brian Kemp won. Florida, Ron DeSantis …”

Every new president tends to be his predecessor’s opposite.

But Trump just says it more than past presidents — and often inaccurately.

Three retreats by Trump in three weeks

In less than three weeks, President Trump has made three different retreats:

  1. Reaching a deal with Mexico to avert tariffs – a deal that largely consisted of actions that Mexico had already agreed to.
  2. Backing down on military strikes against Iran for shooting down a U.S. surveillance drone.
  3. Delaying his plan for nationwide raids to deport undocumented immigrants.

Indeed, on foreign policy, the New York Times’ Nick Kristof points out that MAXIMUM Trump pressure – on China, Venezuela, the Palestinians and Iran – hasn’t worked out all that well so far.

Big Trouble in Little South Bend

Pete Buttigieg has had charmed run for the presidency.

Until now.

“South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg was peppered with tough questions Sunday as he sat alongside the city’s police chief at a town hall event following a white police officer shooting a black man to death one week prior,” NBC’s Josh Lederman and Allan Smith write.

More: “Buttigieg was repeatedly shouted down and met with profanities and heckles as he spoke during the extremely tense and emotional town hall meeting at a local high school about last weekend’s shooting.”

These are maybe the most damning statistics for Buttigieg when it comes to South Bend’s police force: “The department had 26 African American officers in 2014, according to news reports at the time, meaning a little more than 10% of the 253-officer department was black. There are now 13 black officers in the South Bend Police force, according to numbers released by the department, leaving the force 88% white and just over 5% black,” per CNN.

“That steady decline in African American officers is opposite to the demographic makeup of South Bend. According to the 2010 census, the city is 26% African American.”

It’s hard being a sitting executive — either a mayor or governor — running for president.

2020 Vision: Pre-debate plans

Two days before the first Democratic presidential debate of the 2020 season, the Dem hopefuls are out announcing policy plans.

Bernie Sanders is unveiling a plan to wipe away $1.6 trillion of student debt – paid for by a tax on Wall Street speculations, per NBC’s Gary Grumbach, Shaquille Brewster and Savannah Sellers.

Joe Biden lays out his immigration/Latin America plan in a Miami Herald op-ed: “The next president must institute effective immigration reform while restoring regional policies grounded in respect.”

And Beto O’Rourke introduces his plan to support U.S. veterans.

On the campaign trail today

Bernie Sanders – along with Reps. Jayapal and Omar – unveils a college-affordability plan on Capitol Hill… Beto O’Rourke holds a vets roundtable in Tampa., Fla… Julian Castro holds a media avail in Miami… And Jay Inslee makes a policy announcement in Fort. Lauderdale, Fla.

Data Download: The number of the day is … 16

Sixteen.

That’s the number of women who have come forward with allegations of some form of sexual assault by President Trump.

The latest, writer and columnist E. Jean Carroll, said in a magazine piece released Friday that Trump violently attacked her in a department store dressing room in 1995 or 1996.

Additional women have accused the president of walking in on them while they were undressing at a beauty pageant.

The White House has dismissed all of the women’s statements as fabricated.

Tweet of the day

ICYMI: News clips you shouldn’t miss

Pete Buttigieg is learning the tough parts of campaigning for president as a mayor, Josh Lederman writes.

How did Joe Biden play in South Carolina after a week of stories about his past work with segregationists? Mike Memoli reports that his rivals seemed reluctant to exploit his vulnerabilities directly.

Heidi Przybyla notes that Bernie Sanders has evaded criticism for his vote on the 1994 crime bill.

The New York Times reports] on how the Democratic candidates are preparing for this week’s debate.

Trump agenda: A familiar pattern

U.S. allies see a familiar pattern in Trump’s Iran reversal.

The White House has released the economic piece of its Mideast peace plan. It’s not going over well with many of the stakeholders.

POLITICO reports that the Agriculture Department has been burying studies that outline the dangers of climate change.

2020: Cost is key

A good reminder from the Washington Post… Many voters are worried about health care, but their big focus is simple: Cost.

Biden and Trump are ratcheting up their war of words over trade.

Beto O’Rourke is releasing a new veterans’ issues proposal.

Republicans are launching their own version of ActBlue.

Joe Sestak is running for president.

The black woman who launched the modern fight for reparations


Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, right, and Kwame Ture, the activist formerly known as Stokely Carmichael, attend a tribute to civil rights leader and black nationalist Audley “Queen Mother” Moore, left, in 1996 in New York. (Kathy Willens/AP)
Ashley D. Farmer is an assistant professor of history and African & African diaspora studies at the University of Texas-Austin. She is the author of “Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era” and the forthcoming biography, “Queen Mother Audley Moore: Mother of Black Nationalism.”

June 24 at 6:00 AM

The reparations hearings in the House of Representatives last week turned contentious as experts such as writer Ta-Nehisi Coates traded barbs with politicians, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The bill at the heart of the hearings, H.R. 40, first introduced by Rep. John Conyers Jr. in 1989, would create a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations for descendants of slaves.

While Conyers should be lauded for his original efforts to introduce this legislation, this month’s hearings would not be possible without Audley “Queen Mother” Moore, the founder of the modern reparations movement. Indeed, black women have been at the center of the push for reparations for more than a century. Excluding them from the reparations debate blinds us to the multifaceted modern movement. It also runs the risk of omitting some of the most generative and inventive reparations proposals developed to date.

The debate over reparations is not new. Since the Civil War, black Americans have been imploring the federal government to rectify years of racial terror and prejudice. Some followed Callie House, an ex-slave turned reparations organizer who formed the National Ex-Slave Mutual Relief, Bounty and Pension Association to mobilize freed men and women to lobby Congress for pensions and land in the late 1800s. Others called on the federal government to make good on Special Field Order No. 15, a short-lived Civil War-era law that redistributed confiscated Confederate land to former slaves in 40-acre plots. By the turn of the century, the phrase “40 acres and a mule” became a catchall term for reparations claims.

If House created the reparations movement, Moore modernized and popularized it. Born in 1898, Moore dedicated her nearly century-long life to black liberation. She spent her girlhood in New Iberia, La., and New Orleans, places known for a precarious balance of racial violence and defiant black communities. For Moore, everyday life in turn-of-the-century Jim Crow foregrounded the modern iterations of slavery and Jim Crow.

As Moore came of age in the 1920s and ‘30s, she soon realized that the promises of equality, security and due process, backed by constitutional amendments, were nonetheless out of reach for most black Americans. They were instead replaced by total social and cultural separation, educational and housing segregation and the expulsion of black folks from economic life and advancement. By the 1950s, Moore took action, boldly declaring that “somebody has to pay” for the past and present atrocities black people faced.

For most of her life, Moore was a rare if not singular voice in the call for reparations. From 1955 until her death in 1997, she consistently produced tangible models for how the federal government might reconcile and redress the atrocities of slavery. These efforts led to a sustained organizing career that included petition drives for bills like H.R. 40, reparations pamphlets and a speaking tour. She also engaged in extensive grass-roots education efforts, introducing a wide range of activists, politicians and lawyers, such as Harvard Law professor Charles Ogletree Jr., to the importance and viability of reparations claims.

In the 1950s, Moore founded or organized multiple grass-roots groups, including the National Emancipation Proclamation Centennial Observance Committee and Reparations Committee Inc. As the leader of these groups, Moore engaged in widespread organizing to collect signatures for a petition to compel the federal government to take up the issue of reparations and formulate a repayment plan. Undergirding each of these efforts was the claim that black people were due recompense for the systematic denial of their 13th, 14th and 15th amendment rights for over a century under Jim Crow.

In each of these mid-century petitions, Moore suggested that the government pay a predetermined amount to the descendants of slaves, with no restrictions on how that money was spent. In Moore’s vision, reparations worked best when each recipient could use the funds to repair and advance their lives as they saw fit. She staunchly opposed trickle-down approaches, such as plans for black churches or for a small committee composed of the black elite to be in charge of lobbying for, collecting and distributing federal funds.

Her ideas sparked reparations activism across the country, especially in Los Angeles and Philadelphia. By 1963, she had collected enough signatures take her petitions to the White House in an effort to meet with President John F. Kennedy.

While the Kennedy administration was resistant to reparations, Moore’s ideas about repayment gained traction with black-power activists in the 1960s. Many of the era’s organizers identify Moore as a key figure in shaping Malcom X’s position on reparations. She was also a mentor to other activists in groups such as the Black Panther Party and Revolutionary Action Movement, both of which embedded a call for reparations in their organizational architecture.

Moore also published widely on the issue of reparations. Her best-known piece was “Why Reparations?” a 1963 pamphlet that offered one of the most extensive enumerations of the horrors black people endured during and after slavery, as well as an extensive survey of other countries’ payments of reparations claims. Readers and organizers were especially drawn to her plan for action. She argued that “the descendants of American Slaves must be given preferential treatment … with immediate hiring on a quota basis in every level of [American] industry,” along with job training and education. Similar to the 40-acres-and-a-mule model, Moore’s plan would offer black Americans an entry into the American economy — a gateway to better housing, education, health care and wealth.

As she aged, she pushed the next generation to take up the mantle of reparations. She was a figurehead of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA), a group founded in 1987 to broaden support for the modern reparations movement that Moore created. A collection of lawyers, historians, activists and politicians, N’COBRA continues to be the primary lobbying group in support of H.R. 40 since Conyers introduced it in 1989.

Moore remained a vital part of N’COBRA until her death. One of her last public appearances was at its national convention in 1994. A “solemn hush,” described the Associated Press, fell over the crowd as her caregivers wheeled 96-year-old Moore onto the stage to speak. Tearfully, and in what AP called a “barely audible, husky voice,” Moore proclaimed: “Reparations, reparations … keep on. Keep on. We’ve got to win!”

Moore’s career shows how reparations have been a malleable concept, one already endorsed by the federal government, conceived of broadly by the black community and supported by everyone from leftist radicals to grass-roots organizers to black lawyers and politicians. Her capacious concept of a reparations movement offered numerous entry points for interested parties and is responsible for fostering the momentum that led to the hearings last week.

As the H.R. 40 debate progresses, we find ourselves in a moment of social division, in which an attempt to force the federal government to reckon with its historical atrocities seems both incredibly urgent and profoundly difficult. Far more than simply a hearing or an exploratory bill, the debate over reparations is a conversation about the American government’s critical reckoning with its racist foundation to move to a more productive and united future.

Black women like Moore have been offering viable paths for years. It’s time we explore their plans and put their work at the center of our debates over reparations.

Working with the enemy? Biden was just doing his job

OPINION — There’s a name for working with someone you can’t stand. It’s called “legislating.”

It used to happen all the time in Washington, and it still does, occasionally. But former Vice President Joe Biden became engulfed by progressive rage this week when he pointed to the late Sens. James Eastland and Herman Talmadge, two avowed segregationists, to describe the civility that Biden said he used to see on Capitol Hill.

Biden stipulated that Talmadge was “one of the meanest guys I ever knew” and that he and Eastland “didn’t agree on much of anything,” but they still passed bills together. “He never called me ‘boy,’ he always called me ‘son,’” Biden added of Eastman.

Sen. Cory Booker, one of just three African Americans in the Senate, took significant and understandable offense at Biden’s har-har retelling of the old yarn with the word “boy,” which was only the least awful term of derision black men were subjected to in that era. But along with calling Biden out on his language, Booker also sent a fundraising pitch hammering Biden for the work itself.

“I know the people that Vice President Biden worked with would not have wanted me in the Senate,” he wrote. “And I know that anyone running to be president of the United States and the leader of our party shouldn’t need this lesson.”

Biden had raised Eastland and Talmadge specifically because they were so far from his moral compass, but the anger flew at Biden from Booker and others for mentioning the segregationists, let alone working with them decades ago.

He defensively stood his ground and refused to apologize to Booker, but he would have helped himself and progressives at the same time if he had explained that Eastman was both the chairman of the Judiciary Committee and the president pro tempore of the Senate, making his a crucial voice on which committees Democrats served on, as well as which legislation would move through Judiciary.

Biden didn’t say it, but he could have explained that shared goals often present themselves in Washington, even without shared values, and that working with people you disagree with can as often be a sign of strength as a marker of moral weakness.

In an interview with The Washington Post,  HouseMajority Whip Jim Clyburn called the anger at Biden for working with Eastland “one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard in my life.”

“Where would I be today if, when I got elected to Congress back in 1992, I had refused to work with J. Strom Thurmond, an avowed segregationist?” he asked. Clyburn pointed to Thurmond’s support for the MLK national holiday and legislation that helped Clyburn’s district as examples of the results he got working with the South Carolina Republican.

When Thurmond died, Clyburn, along with Biden, eulogized him at his family’s request. Maybe they had enlightened him. Maybe Thurmond learned in his old age. Either way, the work they did together made a difference that still matters to Clyburn.

Fast-forward to more recent times, and there are still examples of people who could never agree on some of the most fundamental principles they held, but still worked together to pass meaningful legislation.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, was one of the earliest and most progressive environmentalists ever to serve in the Senate. Sen. Jim Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, famously called climate change “the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people” and once pulled a snowball out of a baggie to prove it. (See? No global warming!) 

But together Boxer and Inhofe were among the most prolific leaders the Environment and Public Works Committee ever saw. “We really like each other,” Boxer once said of Inhofe. “What’s important is we know how strongly we feel when we oppose each other, but we never surprise each other by going around someone’s back and sneaking something into a bill. We would never do that.”

In response, Inhofe said, “I’ve told her many times she has every right to be wrong, but you know, on the things that are really important, we did manage to get things together.”

Another pairing that surprised people was Bernie Sanders and John McCain, who worked extensively together to reform the veterans’ administration as leaders of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Sanders is no less a democratic socialist for having brokered a deal with McCain, who not only supported the Iraq War but led the call for a troop surge to double down on U.S. involvement there.

“I will tell you this: John McCain’s political views are very different than mine,” Sanders told The Arizona Republic last year. “But John McCain, I consider to be a friend.”

More recently, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shocked her supporters this month when she agreed to work with Sen. Ted Cruz on a bill to ban former members from lobbying.

“We have an ongoing working relationship, and I’m extraordinarily excited in seeing what we can accomplish,” Ocasio-Cortez told ABC News. “I never thought I’d say it.”

But by the 2020 Democratic primary standard, AOC is working with a man who tried to take guaranteed health care away from people with pre-existing conditions, even though she wants to pass “Medicare for All.”

When Biden was waxing on about the old Senate days, he lamented that things are different now. “Today you look at the other side and you’re the enemy. Not the opposition, the enemy. We don’t talk to each other anymore.”

Biden was talking about the breakdown between Republicans and Democrats, but he may as well have been talking about the Democratic Party itself, which is headed in a dangerous and discouraging direction when a history of cooperating is so quickly attacked as a commitment to complicity.

Legislating can be an extremely unpleasant business. There’s a reason it’s compared to making sausage and worse. But occasionally working across divisions to achieve a goal can make the country and the world a better place. It’s something we need more of, not less.

Patricia Murphy covers national politics for The Daily Beast. Previously, she was the Capitol Hill bureau chief for Politics Daily and founder and editor of Citizen Jane Politics. Follow her on Twitter @1PatriciaMurphy.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone.

Watch Burna Boy’s mom deliver his message to BETAwards

<!– Bose Ogulu delivers Burna Boy’s message to BETAwards in Los Angeles –>

Bose Ogulu delivers Burna Boy’s message to BETAwards in Los Angeles

Nigeria’s singing sensation Burna Boy on Sunday was a no-show at the BETAwards 2019 night at Microsoft Theatre, Los Angeles, where he won the Best International Act Award.

However, the Nigerian sent his mom Bose Ogulu, who doubles as his manager to receive the award on his behalf with a powerful message to BETAward organisers and the galaxy of African American artists at the event.

“Please remember that you were Africans, BEFORE YOU WERE ANYTHING”, Bose said.

Bose delivered the message with the right cadence and earned a rapturous applause. Thanks to Raro Lae for the video clip, watch Bose on stage:

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Juneteenth Celebration embraces richness of African American history

Former WTOY Radio Personality, Jerry Carter
Vonda Wright of Jerusalem Church
SCLC treasurer Brenda Keeling

As with all national holidays, there is more to Juneteenth than what appears on the surface. Observed in many regions of the country, Juneteenth commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery on June 19, 1865. Today, Juneteenth is recognized as a special day or state holiday in 45 states.

“There is a popular saying that goes, ‘if you don’t know your history, you are doomed to repeat it.’ Juneteenth isn’t just about the history of African Americans; it’s also the history of the United States of America,” said community leader Brenda Keeling.

Dr. Martin Luther King founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), an African American civil rights organization, in 1957. From day one, its mission has been to “advance the cause of civil rights in America, but in a non-violent manner.”

The Roanoke Chapter of the SCLC held its annual Juneteenth event on June 15 at Washington Park. More than 400 people showed up to learn, pray, eat and dance.

During each hour of the celebration, someone – be it a Gospel rapper, a longtime Roanoke Valley resident or event coordinator – graced the stage.

Said Keeling, the SCLC treasurer, “As a planner, it was important for me to make sure this year’s event was both entertaining and informative. It took about six months, but all of the hard work paid off. I was thrilled to see so many community leaders present, from Mayor Lea to local councilmembers.”

Businesses such as Pepsi and Wal-Mart provided items, food and volunteers. Thy Jordan, store manager of the Salem Wal-Mart, said she was immediately on board once the SCLC reached out and explained what they were trying to accomplish.

“I am responsible for all of the associates, among other things. Many store employees offered to help as soon as it was brought to their attention,” Jordan said. “We offered many food items that customers can purchase from our deli – hamburgers, potato salad, chicken and coleslaw. We also reached out to other vendors to get them involved too.”

It was in 2011 that Roderick Jackson experienced his first Juneteenth Celebration at Washington Park. The father of four was aware of its significance but wanted his children to have a better understanding of Juneteenth.

“Just using words to make a point only goes so far,” he said. “I wanted my kids to experience Juneteenth up close and personal. Seeing them interact with people of all ethnicities and ages just made my heart melt.”

Few things excite Perneller Chubb-Wilson, 85, like explaining history to those seeking to learn. When asked to describe Juneteenth to someone who isn’t familiar, Chubb-Wilson, President of the SCLC Roanoke Chapter, said, “In a nutshell, it’s an opportunity to learn about African Americans and our history.”

Washington Park has hosted an annual Juneteenth event since 2004. Why that location? Because as Chubb-Wilson put it, “there was a time when this was one of the few places where blacks were allowed. If we don’t use it, it can be taken away.”

Booker adds dash of anti-Trump anger to message of love

Cory Booker
BOB ANDRES/ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION/TNS
Senator and 2020 presidential candidate Cory Booker speaks at the African American Leadership Council (AALC) Summit on June 6 in Atlanta.

BY SAHIL KAPUR BLOOMBERG
NEWS/TNS

WASHINGTON – Cory Booker spent the first five months of his presidential bid dispensing a message of love and unity.

But it hasn’t caught on with a Democratic electorate that is seething with anger toward President Donald Trump and desperate to throw him out of office.

The New Jersey senator long seen as a potential star of Democratic politics is struggling to break out of the second tier of candidates.

Now, he is refining his core pitch, melding his vow to unite all Americans in a “common purpose” of healing the country’s divisions with a validation of the rage of his party’s voters.

“Anger and love are not mutually exclusive. You can still be angry and lead with love,” Booker said in an interview in Charleston, S.C., last weekend.

He pointed to the example of unifying figures such as civil rights activists, who “didn’t let the moral vandalism of others contort them so much as to pull them so low as to hate them. If anything I think it inspired them to bring the strength and the truth and the power of love to bear.”

Lower than expected

These nuances are out of touch with the mood among many Democrats, for whom President Barack Obama’s “hope and change” has given way to an anxious fury about the state of the country.

His high-wire act stands in sharp contrast to the leading candidates for the Democratic nomination, who mostly bluntly eschew his love-thy-enemy theme and vow instead a scorched earth campaign to take down Trump.

Booker’s early underperformance is a surprise for a candidate who was regarded by many Democrats as a top-tier prospect, and who in recent years has been viewed by Republican operatives as a formidable general-election candidate.

Instead, polls show that many Democratic voters are embracing the far-reaching and structural changes pitched by Sens. Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. Others lean toward the front-runner, former Vice President Joe Biden, who they believe is their safest bet to win the White House.

Just 2% in polls

Nationally, Booker places seventh in a field of two dozen with the support of 2% of Democrats, according to an Economist/YouGov survey released last week.

In South Carolina, where a majority of the Democratic electorate is Black, Booker is fifth with 5%, according to a Post and Courier poll released on June 16.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is how much Booker, who is African American, has struggled to woo Black voters. Biden is dominating this demographic nationally, with 50% support in the YouGov poll — in second place was Sanders with 10%.

Booker was backed by just 2%, while Sen. Kamala Harris, the other Black candidate in the Democratic race, had 7%.

His platform

Booker is positioned at an ideological crossroads between the moderate and left wings of the party. He has signed on to progressive ideas such as single-payer health insurance, but those stances aren’t central to his pitch to voters.

Instead, he emphasizes the need to be an increment list when necessary — and he has also backed more modest health care bills such as a Medicare option.

He has called for repealing the Hyde amendment that prohibits federal programs such as Medicaid from paying for abortions. But when asked if, as president, he’d refuse to sign legislation that maintains the longstanding Hyde restrictions, Booker said he’s “not going to make that blanket comment” but promised to fight to rip out the Hyde amendment.

“I’m a pragmatic progressive, and I learned as mayor that you can’t hold hostage progress by holding out for purity,” Booker said.

Mixed views

His call for assuring a living wage drew heavy applause at a June 15 forum organized by the Black Economic Alliance in Charleston.

He said in the interview that Americans “should be outraged” that millions of children don’t have access to clean water, and angry at Trump for saying he’s open to accepting help from a foreign government to win reelection.

Booker’s brand of politics hasn’t endeared him to segments of the left.

“Martin Luther King said ‘love without power is sentimental and anemic,’ ” said Waleed Shahid, a spokesman for the leftwing group Justice Democrats.

“Of course, we need more love in our country, but we need candidates who aren’t afraid of naming enemies and rejecting Trump’s friends on Wall Street and in the billionaire class who want to divide and conquer the working people of America.

Activists wary

Shahid and other activists became wary of Booker when he said in May 2012 that he was “very uncomfortable” with the Obama campaign’s attacks portraying Republican nominee Mitt Romney as a corporate predator for his work at the private equity firm Bain Capital.

Though Booker later walked back the remark, it remains a signal to some that the New Jersey senator, who had been mayor of the town of Newark just across the Hudson River from Wall Street, is too cozy with the investment industry.

“Booker criticized Obama for being too much of a populist in 2012 by taking on Bain Capital,” said Shahid, whose group is best known for recruiting 29-year-old House star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to run for Congress. “I think that style of progressive populism is exactly what we need.”

‘A fresh face’

For all that, political prognosticators shouldn’t write off Booker, said Jim Manley, a lobbyist and former spokesman for Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid.

“He’s a fresh face, new to Washington, he has a demonstrated ability to work with his Republican colleagues, he’s a strong progressive yet he doesn’t use some of the more divisive rhetoric some of his other colleagues are using,” Manley said.

“Anyone who claims to know how this process is going to play out is fooling themselves,” Manley said, adding that with the first debate next week, all it takes is one viral moment to catch fire.

CloseUp: Bullock slams DNC over debate cut

CloseUp: Bullock slams DNC over debate cut

Hide Transcript Show Transcript

FREEZE COLLEGE TUITION. I ONLY GOT IN ABOUT FIVE WEEKS AGO. THERE OUGHT TO BE A PREMIUM FOR THAT. IF I HAD TO CHOOSE BETWEEN CHASING $100,000 OR PROVIDING 100,000 PEOPLE HEALTH CARE, IT IS THE EASIEST CHOICE I WOULD EVER MAKE. ADAM: ON THE FLIPSIDE, YOU FELT THERE WAS A PATH TO THE WHITE HOUSE. WHY RUN FOR PRESIDENT VERSUS RUNNING FOR SENATE? YOU COULD TURN YOUR POPULARITY IN THAT STATE INTO A SEAT IN THE SENATE TRADE >> I CHOSE TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT BECAUSE WE NOT ONLY HAVE TO BEAT DONALD TRUMP BUT WE HAVE TO GET THIS DEMOCRACY WORKING FOR US AGAIN. I AM THE ONLY ONE IN THE FIELD FROM A STATE TAKEN BY DONALD TRUMP. IF WE CANNOT TAKE BACK SOME STATES WE LOST IN 2016 IN ADDITION TO BRINGING OUT OUR BASE, WE WILL NOT WIN. I HAVE SHOWN EVENING GREATLY DIVIDED TIMES THE GOVERNMENT CAN WORK. OUR LEGISLATURE IS 60% REPUBLICAN, YET WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO DO THINGS LIKE EXPAND HEALTH CARE AND GET DARK MONEY OUT OF OUR ELECTIONS. I AM OUTSIDE OF WASHINGTON, D.C. WASHINGTON, D.C., HAS BECOME A PLACE WHERE TALKING ABOUT ISSUES HAS BECOME A REPLACEMENT FOR DOING. I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO GET THINGS DONE. I THINK I CAN BRIDGE THE DIVIDE AND GET GOVERNMENT WORKING. I HAVE GREAT RESPECT FOR THE SENATE. I KNOW WE WILL HAVE A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR MONTANA SENATE, FOR THE U.S. SENATE IN 2020. I WILL DO EVERYTHING I CAN TO MAKE SURE THEY GET ELECTED. ADAM: YOU MENTIONED THIS PHENOMENON. YOU WON IN A RED STATE. WHO ARE THESE TRUMP-BULLLOCK VOTERS? >> OVER 40% OF AMERICANS RIGHT NOW, IF THEY NEEDED $400 FOR AN EMERGENCY, THEY WOULD NOT HAVE IT. WHEN I WAS GROWING UP IN THE EARLY 70’S, 90% OF 30 EUROS WERE DOING BETTER THAN THEIR PARENTS. TODAY IT IS ONLY HALF. FOR A LOT OF FOLKS, THE ECONOMY IS NOT WORKING FOR THEM. I SHOW UP. I DON’T HAVE THE LUXURY OF MONTANA TO JUST GOING TO POCKETS. I GO ALL ACROSS THE STATE. I TRIED TO LISTEN AS MUCH AS I TALK. I DO NOT COMPROMISE MY VALUES, BUT THEY KNOW I WILL BE FIGHTING FOR THEIR BEST INTEREST EVEN IF THEY DISAGREE WITH ME ON SOME OF MY POLICY DECISIONS. ADAM: LET’S TALK ABOUT FOREIGN POLICY. WHAT WOULD YOU DO IN THE OVAL OFFICE TO BRING IRAN BACK FROM THE BRINK? >> LET’S RECOGNIZE WE HELPED TO BRING IRAN TO THAT BRINK. WHEN THIS ADMINISTRATION PULLED OUT OF THE JOA WHERE IRAN SAID WE WILL ALLOW NUCLEAR INSPECTORS IN, WE ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE STEPS TOWARD NUCLEAR WEAPONS. THIS IS IN PART CHAOS OF HIS OWN CREATION. THE PRESIDENT HAS TAKEN THE IDEA OF AMERICA FIRST TO AMERICA ALONE. WE CANNOT GIVE IRAN ANY LICENSE TO CAUSE TROUBLE, BUT WE ALSO HAVE TO SAY WE CANNOT DO THIS ALONE. WE HAVE TO WORK WITH OUR ALLIES AND AT TIMES, OUR ADVERSARIES THROUGH DIPLOMATIC WAYS. THAT IS WHAT WE HAD UNTIL FAIRLY RECENTLY. ADAM: EVEN UNDER THE AGREEMENT, THEY WERE MONTHS AWAY FROM A NUCLEAR WEAPON. >> BUT THEY STOPPED AND ALSO AGREED TO ALLOW INTERNATIONAL INSPECTORS AND. THEY HAVE BEEN SAYING FOR A WHILE THAT IF WE CANNOT FIGURE OUT A WAY TO KEEP OUR ECONOMY GOING, WE WILL RESTART OUR EFFORTS. THEY HAD STOPPED AND WERE ALLOWING INSPECTORS IN. I DON’T THINK THE APPROACH OF JUST SAYING WE WILL THROW OUT EVERYTHING FROM THE PAST HAS HELPED US MUCH. IT ALSO SHOWS THIS ADMINISTRATION’S MISSTATEMENTS AND SOME OF THE LIES, IT IS HARD FOR PEOPLE TO TRUST AND UNDERSTAND WHAT IS REAL AND WHAT IS NOT ABOUT THE CURRENT CRISIS. LITERALLY A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO, WE ARE GOING TO START SENDING IN FOLKS. NO, WE ARE NOT. PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO BELIEVE COMING OUT OF WASHINGTON RIGHT NOW. I THINK PEOPLE DESERVE A LOT BETTER. ADAM: ONE OF YOUR COMPETITORS IS CALLING FOR THE FEDERAL LICENSING OF FIREARMS. ARE YOU ON BOARD? >> I AM NOT. I THINK WE NEED TO MAKE GUN SAFETY A PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE, NOT NECESSARILY A POLITICAL ISSUE. THE N.R.A. WHEN I WAS GROWING UP WAS A GUN SAFETY ORGANIZATION. I’M TIRED OF LOWERING FLAGS FOR MASS SHOOTINGS. I’M TIRED OF THE FACT MY SON WHEN HE WENT TO MIDDLE SCHOOL THIS YEAR, AT THE END OF THE WEEK, I ASKED WHAT DID YOU LEARN? HE SAID I KNOW WHERE TO GO IF THERE IS AN ACTIVE SHOOTER. BUT THERE ARE STEPS YOU CAN TAKE WITHOUT TAKING AWAY PEOPLE’S GUNS OR LICENSING OF GUNS. THINGS LIKE UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS. THE MAJORITY OF REPUBLICAN GUN OWNERS WOULD AGREE THIS WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA. RED FLAG LAWS, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, OPPORTUNITIES. IF WE CAN LOOK AT IT AS A HEALTH ISSUE INSTEAD OF A POLITICAL ISSUE, WE CAN TAKE THOSE STEPS. ADAM: THE FIRST BIG FIGHT OF THE PRIMARY BROKE OUT BETWEEN BIDEN AND CORY BOOKER ABOUT WORKING WITH SEGREGATIONIST SENATORS IN THE 1970’S. SOME CALL IT INSENSITIVE. CORY BOOKER IS ASKING FOR AN APOLOGY AND BIDEN IS SAYING BOOKER SHOULD APOLOGIZE TO HIM. WHO’S IN THE WRONG HERE? >> FOOD FIGHTS OF THE DAY DO NOT HELP US MUCH ALONG THE WAY. WE DO HAVE TO RECOGNIZE EVERYBODY’S VOICE NEEDS TO BE HEARD. WE OUGHT TO BE ABLE TO FIND WAYS TO GET WASHINGTON TO WORK. I’M NOT SURE HOLDING UP THE INDIVIDUALS THE VICE PRESIDENT HELD UP IS THE BEST WAY TO SHOW WASHINGTON CAN WORK. ADAM: THESE DIXIECRAT SENATORS ARE LONG GONE. PART OF THE CONVERSATION IS ABOUT REPARATIONS. WHAT ABOUT THE IDEA OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY PAYING REPARATIONS BASED ON MEMBERSHIP INVOLVED IN REPRESSING BLACK PEOPLE’S RIGHTS? >> WE HAVE TO RECOGNIZE THOSE WRONGS AND TAKE REMEDIES. THERE ARE HISTORICAL AND CONTEMPORARY ISSUES HOLDING INDIVIDUALS BACK. I THINK THE BEST WAY TO APPROACH THIS IS WITH HEALTH CARE DISPARITIES BETWEEN AFRICAN AMERICANS AND WHITES. LET’S ADDRESS THOSE HEALTH CARE DISPARITIES AND SAY, HOW DID WE GET THERE? IF YOU ARE A BLACK FAMILY IN AMERICA, YOU ARE MAKING ABOUT $.58 ON THE $1 FOR A WHITE FAMILY. ECONOMIC ISSUES, HOUSING ISSUES. ADDRESS IT IN THAT WAY, FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF SAYING, WHAT ARE THE HISTORICAL INJUSTICES THAT BLEED INTO TODAY AND HOW CAN GOVERNMENT BE A CONSTRUCTIVE PARTNER? ADAM: CLIMATE CHANGE. WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MONTANA TO ADDRESS THE ISSUE OF CLIMATE CHANGE? >> IN MY SIX YEARS, WE HAVE DOUBLED THE WIND AND QUADRUPLED THE SELLER. I AM THE CHAIR NATIONALLY OF THE GOVERNORS COMMITTEE ON WIND AND SOLAR. WE LOOK AT WHERE WE CAN GO IN THE REGION WITH RENEWABLE ENERGY. WE HAVE TO TAKE ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE. 1.4 MILLION ACRES BURNED TWO YEARS AGO. WE NEED TO TAKE IMMEDIATE AND DURABLE STEPS. IPCC SAYS WE HAVE TO BE CARBON NEUTRAL BY 2050. I THINK WE CAN GET IT DONE SOONER. REJOINING PARIS. THE AUTO INDUSTRY IS LOOKING FOR FUEL EFFICIENCY STANDARDS TO BE ROLLED BACK. INVEST IN BRINGING DOWN GREENHOUSE GAS IMMEDIATELY AND MAKE A LONG-TERM PLAN. I THINK WE CAN DO MORE. ADAM: YOU TALK ABOUT A FOSSIL FREE FUTURE. HOW DO YOU PROTECT THE WORKERS IN THAT INDUSTRY? >> THEY ARE MAKING COAL-FIRED GENERATION MUCH LESS PROFITABLE. ANOTHER PLANT ANNOUNCED IT WOULD BE CLOSED IN MONTANA AT THE END OF THIS YEAR. EVEN THE SCIENTISTS LIKE THE IPCC SAYS YOU CANNOT SHUT THESE OFF IMMEDIATELY, SO WE HAVE TO FIGURE OUT BOTH WAYS TO COUNTERBALANCE SOME OF THE GREENHOUSE EFFECTS OF THAT THROUGH THINGS LIKE RENEWABLES, ADDING WIND AND SOLAR. AN IMPORTANT LESSON FOR ALL AMERICANS IS YOU CANNOT LEAVE THOSE COMMUNITIES BEHIND. I HAVE FOLKS THAT HAVE SPENT THEIR WHOLE LIFE POWER IN AMERICA — POWERING AMERICA. AS TRANSITIONS OCCUR, WE HAVE TO FIGURE OUT HOW THEY CAN HAVE AS GOOD OF A JOB AS THEY HAVE HAD IN THE PAST. ADAM: IS NEW HAMPSHIRE PART OF YOUR PATHWAY TO VICTORY AND THE WHITE HOUSE? >> I AM HAPPY TO BE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE. THE EARLY STATES SHIFT THE BIG BUILD TO A SMALLER FIELD. WE ARE LARGER GEOGRAPHICALLY THAN NEW HAMPSHIRE. I THINK YOU COULD BIT 15 NEW HAMPSHIRES IN THE STATE OF MONTANA. FOLKS SOMETIMES HAVE SKEPTICISM WITH GOVERNMENT. THEY WANT TO HOLD GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABLE. THE VALUES

Advertisement

CloseUp: Bullock slams DNC over debate cut

The Democratic presidential candidate and Montana governor visits the Granite State.

The Democratic presidential candidate and Montana governor visits the Granite State.

Advertisement

‘The wrong formula’: Latino leaders blast Biden outreach efforts

Joe Biden

Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s decision to skip a forum of Latino leaders in Miami has unleashed new criticism he is taking a pivotal constituency for granted. | Win McNamee/Getty Images

2020 elections

Latinos in key states are questioning whether the former veep’s campaign understands that talking about immigration isn’t enough.

A slew of Democratic presidential contenders are scheduled to talk Friday to the nation’s largest association of Latino officials, but there’s one notable absence: Joe Biden.

Biden’s decision to skip the Miami forum has unleashed new criticism that the former vice president and front-runner is taking a pivotal constituency for granted in a primary where the Latino vote could swing the outcome in several key early contests.

Story Continued Below

“This is one of the first real national platforms for candidates to speak to Latino voters and its leadership, and to be a no-show is a significant risk,” said Arturo Vargas, CEO of the group, known as NALEO.

Biden’s absence at NALEO isn’t an isolated incident, according to operatives and organizers focused on mobilizing Latinos on the ground in key states. His campaign has offered almost no direct outreach or verbal acknowledgment of the rapidly growing Latino electorate, they say, and has made little if any inroads with the Latino community in critical swing states like Nevada or Florida.

The former vice president has not used the terms “Latinos,” or “Hispanics,” in any of his remarks in 20 fundraisers and speeches since the campaign’s launch, according to pool reports and speech transcripts from the events. In the few instances where he made inexplicit references to the Latino community, his remarks were exclusively about immigration or border security.

The approach is indicative of a campaign that’s employing general election messaging to win the Democratic nomination — and refraining from overt appeals to the racial and ethnic groups that make up the diverse Democratic coalition and who could be difference makers in the general. Latinos are on pace to be the largest nonwhite eligible voting bloc — 32 million — in 2020.

Leo Murrieta, Nevada director of Make the Road Action, said it’s “disheartening” that eight months away from the Nevada caucuses — in which Latinos will make up nearly 1 in 5 voters — Biden’s campaign has not sat down with grassroots organizations or spent more time on the ground.

“The fact that he leaves us out of speeches is a really sorely missed opportunity,” Murrieta said. “And it’s unacceptable.”

“That’s the wrong formula,” Murrieta added. “But I’ll tell you what formula that is — that’s the Democratic establishment, political white elites’ playbook to how to win elections.”

Biden’s campaign defended its Latino outreach efforts by pointing to its Spanish-language website, bilingual ads and Biden’s talk of immigration reform in tweets and speeches — including at the recent Poor People’s Forum in Washington, D.C., earlier this week.

They also cited Biden’s stop in Nevada with the Dreamer Astrid Silva — a connection that has become a preliminary signal for candidates to say they are making inroads with the community. His campaign posted a video clip of the meeting on Twitter and on Wednesday he tweeted his opposition to President Trump’s announcement that he wanted mass deportations of undocumented immigrants.

One of the Biden campaign’s top Latino surrogates, Florida state Rep. Amy Mercado, said the candidate “has engaged the Latino community early like myself. He has made Latinos some of his earliest hires,” including Cristóbal Alex, former president of the influential Latino Victory Fund and Vanessa Cárdenas, former national outreach director of EMILY’s List.

The campaign, like most of its rivals, also has a Hispanic media press secretary, Isabel Aldunate.

Mercado said that she understands the concerns about Latino outreach considering low Hispanic turnout in Florida cost Hillary Clinton in 2016, as well as gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum and Sen. Bill Nelson in 2018.

“But I don’t think we should be running around with our hair on fire,” Mercado said.

The campaign plans to ramp up its operations in Florida and its Latino outreach in Nevada and other states as well, according to a source involved with the campaign’s Latino strategy. Biden is also expected to release a policy platform on immigration and roll out the endorsement of one of the Florida Democratic Party’s rising stars, state Sen. José Javier Rodriguez, on Thursday, when the campaign plans to hold an event with Latino officials tied to the NALEO conference in Miami.

Biden has four staffers on the ground in Nevada as of earlier this month and, his campaign notes, nine of its 14 senior officials are nonwhite.

Still, Latinos from Florida to Nevada to Arizona are questioning whether Biden’s campaign understands that talking about immigration isn’t enough. Not all Latinos are immigrants — and most care more about seeing themselves reflected in health care, education and economic policies, according to strategists.

“Biden’s not courting Latinos. He doesn’t see us,” said Natalia Salgado, national political director for the Center for Popular Democracy Action, a progressive activist group. “We’re more complicated than just immigration, we’re not a one-trick pony. Our community is having issues around police brutality and access to health care.”

Biden’s inability to talk about the Latino electorate in his speeches, Salgado said, “is a denial of the unique experience of being Latino in this country and the complexities and struggles that go with that identity.”

Biden isn’t the only Democratic hopeful who is bypassing NALEO — California Sen. Kamala Harris and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker aren’t attending either. Instead, all three are heading to South Carolina, the first-in-the-South primary state, for House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn’s “World Famous Fish Fry.”

Harris and Booker, however, are getting more of a pass by Latino officials and activists, who point out that the two senators are running “inclusive” campaigns and have consistently been outspoken about hardships incurred by minorities and immigration reform. And because both are African American, they are perceived as better-equipped to speak to the needs of nonwhite communities than Biden is.

“The nomination will be decided far more by people of color than white liberals,” said Paul Begala, a former adviser to Bill Clinton. “I wasn’t in that scheduling meeting, but if you’re running in Democratic primary in 2020 and anything is focused on people of color, you’re going to want to make it a priority.”

For Biden, the criticism comes at an especially inopportune time — one day after he drew fire from Booker, Harris and other candidates for what they said were insensitively worded remarks concerning his long-ago working relationship with Dixiecrat segregationists when he served in the U.S. Senate.

And the frustration over Biden’s absence from NALEO is surfacing as President Donald Trump prepares to launch his own Latino outreach campaign Tuesday in Miami led, in part, by Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez.

Though Trump’s approval rating with Hispanic voters is abysmal, a survey of Florida Hispanics showed he’s getting about the same amount of support, 35 percent, that he received in 2016 when he carried the state.

The Trump campaign believes the president has room to grow with Hispanic voters in the state, by increasing the margins with Republican-leaning Cuban-Americans and reaching out to voters with family roots in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Colombia who opposed leftist governments in those countries.

By contrast, when Biden came to Miami in May for two fundraising trips, he said nothing beyond his standard stump speech.

“When he was in Miami, he seemed out of touch with South Florida Latino communities, not mentioning Cuba or Venezuela,” said Andrea Mercado, executive director of New Florida Majority, a progressive grassroots group that is registering black and brown voters earlier than ever.

“On the heels of former Vice President Biden making insensitive remarks about segregationists around Juneteenth, him not attending NALEO when almost all the other presidential hopefuls are making a point to stop by and show their support of the Latino community is disappointing and concerning, while not shocking,” she said.

Biden’s campaign notes he did tweet about Venezuela on April 30 when he condemned the Maduro regime and discussed the country’s dire situation when reporters asked about it at the time.

But tweets, web ads and a smattering of talk about immigration isn’t going to pass as effective outreach in the Latino community, according to community leaders. Vargas, the chief executive of NALEO, said it’s about talking about issues in depth that affect the community — and showing up early and often.

“The fact he’s not coming suggests he’s taking the Latino vote for granted or the Latino electorate for granted,” Vargas said. “We have more than 1,000 people in the room. But we represent millions and millions of Latinos across the nation.”

Viewpoints: Rural Health Care Doesn’t Need To Keep Getting Worse; Lessons On How Red-Baiting Set The U.S. Behind On Health Care