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Latinx Group Mijente Backs Bernie Sanders in First-Ever Presidential Endorsement

StoryFebruary 19, 2020
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In its first-ever presidential endorsement, the Latinx and Chicanx organization Mijente endorsed Bernie Sanders on Tuesday ahead of the Nevada caucuses. The group tweeted its decision, saying, “We know that in 2020, Trump’s potential re-election is a life-or-death threat for us, for our people, and for our planet. This moment demands a historic mobilization. That’s why Mijente is uniting with the movement to elect @BernieSanders.” A video accompanied the announcement. After the contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, where the electorate is overwhelmingly white, Nevada is the first election with a diverse population. Nevada’s population is nearly 30% Hispanic or Latinx and 10% black, and according to entrance polls, nearly one-third of voters in the Nevada Democratic caucuses in 2016 were either black or Latinx. We’re joined by Marisa Franco, director of Mijente.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: In its first-ever presidential endorsement, the Latinx and Chicanx organization Mijente endorsed Bernie Sanders on Tuesday ahead of the Nevada caucuses. The group tweeted its decision, saying, quote, “We know that in 2020, Trump’s potential re-election is a life-or-death threat for us, for our people, and for our planet. This moment demands a historic mobilization. That’s why Mijente is uniting with the movement to elect @BernieSanders.” A video accompanied the announcement.

MIJENTE NARRATOR: [translated] This moment demands a historic mobilization. Our members agree that the best path to defeating Donald Trump is uniting with the movement to elect Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders is the best candidate, because…

MIJENTE MEMBER: [translated] He will end the criminalization of our community.

IMMIGRANT RIGHTS ORGANIZER: He has been the candidate that really speaks to working-class communities of all backgrounds.

ATTORNEY: He’s the candidate with the best climate change proposal. He is the candidate who believes all — todita — student loan debt should be canceled. He is the candidate who believes in all of us having the right to vote, even those of us who are incarcerated.

MIJENTE MEMBER: Because we are realistic in the way that the system was set up, in the way the system works. I do believe that shifting the administrations will definitely create a space where we can push for a higher quality of life for our gente.

MIJENTE NARRATOR: Mijente is proud to endorse Bernie Sanders.

AMY GOODMAN: After the contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, where the electorate is overwhelmingly white, Nevada is the first election with a diverse population, Nevada’s population nearly 30% Hispanic or Latino, 10% black. According to entrance polls, nearly one-third of voters in the Nevada Democratic caucuses in 2016 were either black or Latino.

Well, for more, we’re going back to Las Vegas, Nevada, where we’re joined by Marisa Franco, who is the director of Mijente. We’re going to go to her in one minute. But, Juan, you know, in your book Harvest of Empire, you look at the population from Latin America coming north. And can you talk about Nevada’s increasing Latino population and the power of its voting bloc?

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, the Latino population, of course, has been growing across the country, but especially in the Southwest and especially in states like Nevada, Arizona, Texas, California. And I think the key thing to understand about the Latino vote in general is that it has been much more involved in recent years. You know, I’ve been updating my stuff in Harvest of Empire recently. For instance, in the 2018 congressional elections, there were 11.7 million Latinos that voted. That’s almost double the number that voted in the previous midterm elections. So you’re seeing an enormous surge in votes. And here’s an interesting statistic that most people are not aware of: There are now more than 3 million Latino citizens who turned 18 since President Trump was elected. Listen to that carefully: 3 million Latino citizens who turned 18 since President Trump was elected in 2016. That’s an enormous potential group to register and vote that was not even eligible to vote back in 2016. So, I think the important thing to understand is that the explosive growth of the Latino communities is going to continue for years to come, and this election, just as the 2018 election, is going to be a reflection of that.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we are joining right now with Marisa Franco, director of Mijente, which has just given its first presidential endorsement. She is talking to us from Las Vegas, Nevada.

Marisa Franco, welcome to Democracy Now! Can you talk about your choice of Bernie Sanders? And what was your membership offered? What was the vote?

MARISA FRANCO: So, buenos días, good morning. We went through a process with our membership that included an analysis, interviews with the candidates and an internal debate. We felt it was important, as an organization and as a community, not to sit in the sidelines in this 2020 election. And I think what the promise of the Sanders campaign is, the idea that we would be electing someone who — we understand this as we’re picking our target. We know that there’s not one candidate who’s going to come in and fix everything for us. But when it comes to consistency of message, Bernie Sanders is it. You don’t have someone here whose — you know, you look back six months or nine months, or this poll or that poll, and the positions change. He has been fairly consistent. And we want a candidate, and we want a president, who’s going to fight like hell, like we will. And that’s what we intend to do, regardless of who wins in 2020.

AMY GOODMAN: And you had the choice of — they could do Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, do a joint endorsement, as well?

MARISA FRANCO: That’s right. I mean, I think one of the great things about this primary is that I do believe we’ve had real options. And that’s — for progressives, for radicals, that’s often not the case. You know, our membership essentially was choosing between four different political positions: a no endorsement, a stand-alone endorsement for Senator Sanders, a stand-alone endorsement for Senator Warren or a dual endorsement.

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, as you fly out, when the corporate media talks about the lack of people of color endorsing Bernie Sanders, what is your response?

MARISA FRANCO: I think it’s a bald-face lie. I think when you look at the support for Senator Sanders, it cuts across race, it cuts across region, it cuts across class, and it cuts across generation. You see, particular with young people, you know, young people of all races, of all ethnicities, are supporting Senator Sanders. He, I think, does have the ability to really bring together a working-class, multiracial coalition that can take on Donald Trump. I think he gives the clearest alternative. Donald Trump, when he won, was saying, “Something is wrong in this country. Here’s why. It’s this person’s fault. It’s that group’s fault. It’s this group’s fault.” Bernie Sanders, I think, gives the clearest alternative to that and gives an actual narrative and a solution that I think can speak to millions of people. And that’s why we endorsed him.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Marisa Franco, we want to thank you so much for being with us, director of Mijente.

That does it for our show, but first…

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, today we want to celebrate Democracy Now!'s 24th birthday. That's 24 years covering the movements changing America and the world.

AMY GOODMAN: A huge thank you to all the people who have made Democracy Now! possible throughout the years, our staff and volunteers, [past] and present, the more than 1,500 public radio and television stations that carry us, and, most of all, our listeners and viewers across the country and around the world. Don’t forget, you can keep up with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Roku. Thank you, everyone, for supporting news with a heart, for helping us to go to where the silence is. Congratulations, Juan!

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Congratulations, Amy!

AMY GOODMAN: Happy 24!

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: OK.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, that does it. And you can keep on joining Democracy Now! as we continue to grow. Democracy Now! is currently accepting applications for a development manager position, news production fellowship, news producer, as well, all of these positions right here in New York. You can go to democracynow.org.

And tonight, I’ll be at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. And I will be moderating a panel with Ronald Reagan’s son Ron Reagan Jr.; with Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi; with Reverend Naomi Tutu, the daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu; as well as others. I hope people come out at 6:00. That’s at Purdue University. Go to democracynow.org.

I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González. Happy Anniversary, everyone!

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