Shockwaves of the election are still being felt

I was wrong and I confess it. I had predicted a strong Clinton victory in the election, largely promoted by the Latino vote. The Latino vote, I wrote, would in effect be Clinton's firewall against the threat of a Trump presidency. This did not obviously work out this way. Of course, many also were wrong in their predictions, and the national polls for the most part deceived us. In the last few days since the election it seems clearer that what proved decisive was that Trump won a large majority among non-college educated whites, both men and women. President Obama had never won a majority among these voters, but he did receive a certain percentage of them. This is the percentage that Clinton lost. It appears not that more whites voted this year than four years ago, but that more of these non-college-educated whites voted for one candidate, namely Trump. This was the margin of victory.

Latinos did in fact vote in large numbers. One source indicated a 17 percent increase in Latino voting, but obviously not enough to compensate for the loss by Democrats of more white voters. The Latino vote still helped Clinton win such battleground states as Virginia, Colorado, and Nevada and made Arizona competitive. If Clinton had held on to some of those white voters that had previously voted for Obama, and with the large Latino vote, she would have won the presidency. Latinos achieved certain successes in electing more Latinos to various state-wide offices in different states including electing the first Latina female to the U.S. Senate from Nevada. In California, voters led by Latinos restored the ability of school districts to employ bilingual education in the schools to assist non-English speaking students, support which had been eliminated in the 1990s.

Having said all this, the election was a shocker, and those shock waves are now being felt. Trump poses a serious threat to American democracy in many ways with his authoritarian personality and his lack of respect for constitutional rights. Specifically, he will threaten climate regulations, Obamacare, regulations of big financial corporations and will give greater tax breaks to the very rich like himself, and, among other things, challenge women's and LGBTQ person's rights, especially by appointing right-wing ideologues to the federal courts including the Supreme Court. For Latinos, he will do away with President Obama's executive order to protect the Dreamers from being deported and increase deportations of the undocumented, and he will built some semblance of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border as a symbol of nativism and anti-Latino immigrant sentiment in the country. Worst of all not just for Latinos but for others, Trump is and will continue to give support for the more open expression of white supremacist attitudes and racist views towards minorities, including Muslims and immigrants, plus promoting misogynist views toward women.

We face a real threat to our democracy, and those who believe this need to recognize that the only way to deal with this form of political bullying is to stand up to it in a nonviolent and organized fashion. Many are already taking to the streets in protest, and perhaps that is the only way to initially begin the resistance. We are in for some very dark days, but we must never lose hope and remember César Chávez's mantra of "¡Si se puede!" — We can do it. We can defeat this threat to our democracy and our rights. It starts now!


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