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As goes Houston so goes Texas and the nation or not

November 8, 2016

 

“All Truth passes through three stages. First it is ridiculed. Second it is violently opposed. Third it is accepted as being self-evident” Arthur Schopenhauer

As we wait for the countdown to see who is crowned as the next president, we need to have this frank, unvarnished conversation. Latinos it appears will turn out in record numbers and cast the winning vote for Hillary Clinton or not.

That’s the good news and the bad news for the future of Latinos.

Just as my previous post about Donald Trump was apolitical, this post, likewise puts ideology aside. It is about the future of Hispanics, the majority demographic that will surpass all others in less than three decades.

According to the sociologist professor, Dr. Stephen Klineberg, from The Kinder Institute, a rock star among Latinos and think tanks, “If you shut the borders and no other immigrant gets in, Latinos will be the majority by 2040.” He didn’t just make this up; he’s been saying this for years.

Rather than prognosticating doom and gloom, Dr. Klineberg is bullish on the future of the Greater Houston Area due to the influx of immigrants. Houston has surpassed Los Angeles and New York as the most diverse city in the nation. As goes Houston so goes the nation.

Houston is booming due to the strong economy and the diversity of immigrants. In fact industry is having to import skilled workers to meet the grave shortage.

So while political consultants and politicians were in a mad rush to veer hard right with an anti-immigrant bashing strategy, the Hillary Clinton’s camp saw the same statistical data, and seized the day. Clinton’s team made use of the GOP’s 2012 post-mortem report and the rest is history.

That report clearly outlined a need to be inclusive and bring in more women and minority voters to the base. That fell on deaf ears and instead the GOP circled the wagons and shut out an established Latino voter base of 30% that voted for Governor Abbot. The mantra “Latinos don’t vote” almost became a battle cry.

Latinos were put front and center on the stage, but not for the right reasons. It appeared that it was open season for Hispanics with social media and political rallies hungry for read meat and politicians obliged.

With hindsight, maybe that was a good thing to wake up Latinos to the reality that the only way to make a difference is to engage and vote.

My friends if the sleeping giant finally wakes up hours away, bring out the tequila, it’s fiesta time for a fairer more inclusive policy towards Latinos. It may not happen overnight after all tectonic shifts take time to process and assimilate. But make no mistake about it, change is in the air.

As a political strategist I’m often asked, “Victor why do Latinos vote to the left if they come to America to flee socialist leftist governments in Latin America?” Some argue that it’s the entitlement mentality of government handouts.

While there are some moochers in every demographic including Latinos, we Latinos by far, are hard working loyal people to those loyal to us. To illustrate this, as a kid growing up, I saw images of JFK hand in Latino homes as though he was a saint. Why? He showed good will to the Mexican people and worked with then president Lopez Mateos to improve relations.

It’s hard to vote for a party that has circled the wagons and has no entry path for upward mobile Latinos in the political process.

In this regard, Presidents Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ronald Reagan opened the door and appointed to their cabinets Latinos to high positions.

I have personally met many of the Latino immigrant business owners that came with nothing. They worked hard and started their own business at a flea market, washing dishes, doing construction work, mowing lawns, etc., to become successful entrepreneurs. This would never be possible in their country. That is the American Dream, a capitalist society, best described by James Adams, who wrote, “The dream of the land in which life should be better and fuller for everyone with the opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.”

The numbers don’t lie Hispanics are the highest indexing demographic in starting small businesses. The ones that rise to the top having businesses with annual billings in the millions tend to be conservative and vote less government intrusion and lower taxes.

This silent minority is too busy running their businesses to waste time to play politics or playing ambassadors for the GOP.

Remember the circling of the wagons? Articulate educated Latinos with a voice  disagreeing with the status quo “need not apply” is the unspoken message they hear. Democrats on the other hand started the inclusion of Latinos as far back as the civil rights era. No circled wagons there as Latinos found amigos among Democrats.

Which brings me to the opening bad news in my post, Latinos per capita are the least educated to fill top earning positions in management and industry. Policy makers need to think decades into the future. That’s what Ronald Reagan and JFK did.

A lack of investment in education for Latinos now, will translate into billions of dollars in a shortfall in taxes to pay for social security and municipal budgets. Let me be clear, Latinos will need to do the economic heavy lifting in the future. If we don’t Latinos earning minimum wage will not be able to sustain the enormous shortfall in the tax base.

We Latinos need to do our part and prepare the majority of our youth, for college and certificate degrees in the trades. In this area there is hope, the trends show more Latinos are graduating with college degrees. Though Latinos leaders see the urgency; however, without the economic infrastructure, what good is it to get a certificate degree in a trade if there are no jobs?

If Hillary Clinton wins, Latinos will need to have their wish list in their back pocket and pull it out at every opportunity they can. In one study Latinos want in this order:
1. Jobs
2. Education for their children
3. Affordable health care (not Obamacare)
4. Immigration reform, and
5. Safe communities

I’m not talking the E word here. Latinos do not want handouts or “entitlements” but a hand up to create an upward mobility strategy to contribute and gain in a bigger way. Is this any different than the working class Trump coalesced into a passionate army? Except for immigration reform, no. The majority of undocumented immigrants are close or immediate relatives of the new bloc of Latino voters. Millennials who hate their loved ones marginalized as subhuman criminals.

Latinos have turned out in record numbers out of fear for the rhetoric from the extremist right. We marketers saw it for what it was, a tactical messaging to solidify the base. That unified Latino vote that may save Hillary could evaporate, if no serious policy and inclusion are drafted to make Latinos feel part of the process.

The Clinton administration was responsible in a large way for displacing the jobs of the working class that Donald Trump turned into his base. This displacement was done with an over emphasis on a college education.

We can see how that turned out. Currently, we have many unemployed college degreed millennials who cannot find a job in their field.

Regardless of whom wins the White House, there will be some bloodletting and lots of finger pointing. The problems will still be there to address. It is high time we shake hands and be friends online and in real life to work together and have the uncomfortable discussions that lead to meaningful change, not meanness.

What a wild ride this cycle has been. Unbuckle yourselves and now let’s have a fiesta

Victor Escalante is an author, communications consultant, political strategist, and corporate consultant based out of Houston, Texas.

[Image: Victor Escalante]

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