Our place in history ...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Nevada 2012

In the swing state of Nevada, 45.8% of registered voters are Democrats, 37.3% are Republicans. If solidly blue California’s voter rolls parallel these numbers with 44% Democrats, and 35% Republicans, why is Nevada a toss up purple state? Nevadans are more likely to split tickets, and not vote along party lines consistently, up and down their ballots, than voters in other states. In 2010, for instance, 53.4% of Nevada voters chose Republican, Brian Sandoval, as their Governor, and 50.3% chose Democrat, Harry Reid, as their US Senator. This is the kind of cognitive dissonance that fascinates political scientists, and frustrates partisans. Yet in Nevada, where Electoral College votes have gone to the GOP nominee in seven out of the last ten presidential cycles, there is reason to be optimistic the President will win Nevada in 2012 by doubling down on the voter targeting and contact strategies that helped deliver the state in 2008.

72% of the state’s population lives in Clark County, and this means the “ground game” will have a bigger impact on the electoral outcome than the battle to dominate the airwaves. Mitt Romney’s campaign and the several billionaire-backed, anti-Obama Super PACs are outspending the President and his allies, two to one. In Nevada, this means Radio La Kalle 99.3 FM listeners hear endless attacks on President Obama in Spanish, while KNTV ABC 13 viewers watch endless ads in English, painting Romney as the solution to any and all problems voters might fear. But Obama For America, the Democratic Party, and those organizations with field campaigns that support the President’s reelection, have been more successful in getting supporters to the polls during the Early Voting period, and are prepared to hold this lead once all absentee ballots and Election Day returns come in. 25% of Nevadans cast ballots in the first six days of early voting. As Reid Wilson writes in the National Journal:

“Republicans consistently run behind Democrats among early voters in Nevada. But the GOP has two firewalls: absentee voters, who tend to hail from rural, Republican-leaning counties in the state, and voters who turn up at the polls on Election Day. But in what could be a troubling sign for the GOP, early reports… suggest Democrats are even outperforming Republicans among voters casting an absentee ballot. Jon Ralston, the Nevada politics guru, reported that Democratic voters have turned in 52% of absentee ballots returned to Clark County, five points higher than their registration edge over Republicans.”

If early vote participation is up statewide and in Clark County, and it is: 64,370 more voters participated in this year’s first week of early voting than took part in the first week of early voting in 2008, and 68.8% of them were from Clark County, bumping up participation in the most reliably blue piece of electoral turf by nearly one half percent when compared to the last presidential cycle. These increases reflect Obama For America and the state’s Democratic Party ability to conduct voter registration and mobilization efforts that keep pace with population growth. Between 2000 and 2010, Nevada’s overall population grew 35%, (from 2 million to 2.7 million) thanks largely to Latinos, who accounted for fully 46% of new residents. Today, 27% of Nevadans are Latino. In 2008, President Obama earned the support of 67% of Latino voters nationwide, but won the backing of 76% of Latino voters in Nevada. In 2010, Harry Reid earned the support of 9 out of 10 Latino voters. While the state’s Democrats, writ large, may dampen the coattail effect, and showcase an independent or libertarian streak by splitting tickets, Latino Nevadans overwhelmingly support President Obama and his Party. To quote Shane Goldmacher, “To win here, Romney does not need to carry the Latino vote. But he must limit Obama’s margin of victory.” Goldmacher’s analysis aligns with what I wrote in September, “Latinos: Romney Can’t Win Unless Your Vote is Suppressed or You Stay Home.”

On Friday, October 26, the Romney campaign sent an email to supporters announcing that it had, “119,000 devoted volunteers… made nearly 45 million voter contacts and crossed the 9 million doors knocked threshold” nationwide. It has also announced a national campaign called, “Expand The Map” determined to fundraise $7 million in seven days, and launched a social media effort centered around its “Commit To Mitt” Facebook app. But other than Spanish language media buys, there is little evidence Romney is actually working to engage Latinos on the ground in Nevada—despite having brought in around 600 out-of-state volunteers from Arizona and Utah to help them with their Early Vote efforts. And this is reflected in Latino Decisions polling, showing 78% support for President Obama, and only 17% support for the GOP nominee. Considering the GOP and its supporters did not noticeably react to the August NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, showing 0% support for Romney by African American voters, by aggressively reaching out to African Americans in September and October. It is safe to conclude that when Romney-Ryan Nevada, state manager, Chris Carr says, “underestimate [Romney’s ability to win] at your peril,” he means that he expects the GOP nominees advantage among white voters is insurmountable. As Gary Langer writes:

“Romney’s support among white men is its highest of the campaign, a 2-1 margin, 65-32 percent. That compares with 57-41%, McCain-Obama, in the 2008 exit poll. While it’s closer among white women, 53-44 percent, Romney-Obama, that very broad support among white men lifts Romney to a new high among whites overall, 59%… Obama beat John McCain among women in 2008 by 13 points, similar to his margin over Romney today. But McCain only tied Obama among men, a far cry from Romney’s large advantage in this group now.”

But the President’s reelection campaign has long believed that the key to victory in Nevada, and across the purple states that determine Electoral College winners, is a peer-to-peer engagement effort across constituencies, especially people of color and women. Politico’s Mike Allen has been tracking this effort, known as “Operation Vote,” for some time now. He’s labeled it the “campaign within the campaign.” Captained by 2008 campaign all-stars Buffy Wicks, and Michael Blake, Operation Vote began the process of engaging voters of color, women, and other core Democratic base voters one year ago, to counter the effects of diminishing support among centrist and conservative whites in battleground states where final results are almost always decided on the margins.

In Nevada, this means placing Obama For America field offices in African American and Latino enclaves, as well as right next door to the University of Nevada, Reno and UNLV campuses. BarackObama.com site visitors are not the only Nevadans who are familiar with the case the President has made regarding “what’s at stake in this election” for women, young Americans, and Latinos. On Wednesday, October 24, a crowd of over 13,000 gathered in Doolittle Park, in the heart of African American and Latino North Las Vegas, to hear these arguments from the President himself. On Friday, October 26, at least 1,000 more, members of Women For Obama, and Educators For Obama, heard them from the First Lady. One of the speakers who preceded Michelle Obama’s appearance at centrally located, Orr Middle School—walking distance from an official Early Vote location—was Latina, daughter of immigrants, former Hillary Clinton campaign superstar, current Nevada General Election Director, Emmy Ruiz. Another, Shelby Ayson, a 1st grade teacher at Las Vegas’ Bryant Elementary, whose remarks began, “In addition to my day job, I am the mother to four kids—a third grader, twin first graders, and a baby. So I really do spend all of my time with kids, and I am so lucky for it… I teach because I know that an education can serve us for our entire lifetime. For so many of us it’s the difference between whether or not we’ll have a fair shot to achieve our own American Dream.”

Before the final week of voter registration, well in excess of 11,000 Nevadans braved the punishing desert heat for an abridged Maná concert organized by the President’s reelection team to make sure as many eligible Latinos as possible would be able to register before the October 6 deadline. Many of those attending didn’t even know the President would be there, but were extremely excited when he arrived. On October 20, the first day of Early Vote in Nevada, hundreds joined Assemblywoman Lucy Flores and Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz in Rafael Rivera Park, in predominantly Latino East Las Vegas, for a taquiza, mariachis, and a march to the polls to cast ballots. Three days later, National Reelection Campaign Co-Chair, Eva Longoria, drew hundreds of UNLV students, many of them Latino, for an on campus rally followed by a trip to vote early. In the last three days before Early Vote concludes, Obama For America will encourage Latinos to cast ballots at the Cardenas Market on Bonanza Road and Lamb Blvd.

Last Tuesday, (October 23) President Obama told the Des Moines Register, “Should I win a second term, a big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community.”

In 2010, 12% of registered voters in Nevada were Latino. Yet Latinos made up 16% of those casting ballots, a 13% increase since the 2006 Midterm Elections. By the time a Pew Hispanic poll became public on October 5, declaring that 50% of Latino registered voters were planning on skipping out on the 2010 Midterms, the voter registration deadline had passed most everywhere, but not in Nevada, where 10,223 Latino Nevadans registered to vote in Clark County alone. In 2010, 50% of Latino Nevadans took advantage of the Early Vote, thus making shorter Election Day lines at polling places possible, and the likelihood of rapid response to the vast majority of election protection issues probable. Latino Nevadans rejected racist, anti-immigrant, political statements and policy proposals. They also rejected campaigns championing abstention from electoral participation, attempts to convince them to stay home out of frustration. Nevada’s Latino voters showed up in record numbers, and outperformed other voters when it counted.

The GOP has forgotten this recent past, and is thus condemned to repeat it. President Obama does not need the stars to align or lightning to strike twice to carry the state. He just needs to keep getting Latino Nevadans to the polls.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

César Chávez, the man who died 20 years ago & the National Monument that bears his name:

I was not surprised when Ruben Navarrette Jr. went after Civil Rights Era labor leader, César Estrada Chávez, and President Obama for honoring him, in yet another outlandish, sensationalist, unsubstantiated op-ed for CNN.

This is, after all, the man who was hissed off of a panel he was speaking on in 2008, after insulting Dolores Huerta, to her face. When she won the Presidential Medal of Freedom, after having been arrested 22 times, and badly beaten, in the course of her extensive career fighting on behalf of farmworker, immigrant, women’s and civil rights, he whined, and calling the accomplishment, “a tarnished award.”

An active opponent of the Drop the I-Word campaign,
Navarrette argued in favor of the deportation of, Daniela Pelaez, the DREAM Act and DACA eligible, valedictorian of her high school class, and slammed Olympian, Leo Manzano, for celebrating winning a silver medal in the men’s 1,500-meter final; running the fastest time ever by a US athlete.

I mean, Navarrette began his career as a writer by describing himself as an arrogant, overbearing, confrontation-hungry figure, who was booed off of his own high school stage, for trying to take César Chávez’s head off in a nose-to-nose shouting match, taking place not long before the labor leader’s death.

Roberto Lovato, Charles Garcia, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Jose Antonio Vargas, and yours truly, have put Navarrette in his place for having a love affair with the slur, “illegal immigrant.”

Latino Rebels, Esther Cepeda, Maria Burns Ortiz, as well as Cal State Fullerton Chicana & Chicano Studies Chair, Alexandro Jose Gradilla, and Washington State University Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies Professor, David J. Leonard, have put Navarrette in his place for questioning Olympian Leo Manzano’s patriotism, and downplaying his accomplishments.

To quote “Sage of the Yankees,” Yogi Berra, “This is like déjà vu all over again.”

Navarrette does his best to paint César Chávez as a violent hatemonger. Latino Rebels cut him down to size. Janet Murgia, the President and CEO of NCLR, schooled him. Luis León, preached the gospel. And UFW President, Arturo Rodriguez, bore prophetic witness to an undeniable truth:

“No labor leader and organization championed immigration reform earlier and with more consistency than César Chávez’s United Farm Workers of America. Under Chávez, the UFW opposed… [federal efforts targeting] undocumented workers long before most labor groups acted… Some people falsely claim the UFW is or has been against undocumented workers. So there is no misunderstanding, everyone should clearly understand the following: There are two separate and distinct issues—immigration reform and strikebreaking. Don’t confuse them!

• Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta worked for years against the infamous 1942-1964 Bracero Program that exploited domestic farmworkers who were denied jobs and replaced by imported farmworkers who were abused by growers.
• In 1973, decades before most labor organizations acted, the UFW became one of the very first unions to oppose the “employer sanction.”
• UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta played a crucial role in creating the amnesty provisions of the 1986 federal immigration law that enabled 1 million farmworkers to become legal residents.
• The UFW spent years negotiating with the nation’s agricultural industry to create the historic bipartisan AgJobs bill allowing undocumented farmworkers in this country to earn the legal right to permanently stay here by continuing to work in agriculture.

Immigration reform is separate and distinct from the issue of strikebreaking. No one has the right to be a strikebreaker. No legitimate union permits its strikes to be broken by anyone, regardless of race, origin or nationality.”

Confronted with this evidence, Navarrette took to his Facebook page in an effort to solicit support from his followers, and employed a series of ad hominem attacks to undercut anyone who dared to question the validity of his article:

“Chavistas [are] Kool-Aid drinking defenders of the Mexican Minuteman, César Chávez… Most of whom wouldn't know a Chicano from a chimichanga… [like the] propeller heads at Latino Rebels [who] take issue with my CNN piece on the dedication of the National Monument… Quick, a quarter for their tin cup!... I remember watching Andre the Giant wrestle three guys at once just to make it fair. I’m waiting for the Rebels to rustle up two more websites… Some people claim… that during the ceremony this week tiny purple unicorns flew out of Obama's a**… Here’s to shining the light and letting the cockroaches scatter.”

In the 1984, Oscar nominated film, Amadeus, composer Antonio Salieri recognizes the genius of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart but thwarts him out of envy.

Navarrette is Salieri.

To quote another popular 80s movie, Top Gun, his ego writes checks his body can’t cash.

He clearly knows this.

To quote LL Cool J, from the battle track that effectively ended Kool Moe Dee’s career, “Trashy brother from way back… best tracks is wack… Try to dis the Lords, but yo, you’re dead wrong… There simply ain’t no frontin’ allowed.”

The point of all of this is not to shine a spotlight on Navarrette’s desperate attempts to redefine the measure the quality of an editorial essay by purporting that the click-by-click metric that made Tila Tequila a celebrity should be used to determine the quality of a piece of writing.

What gives pause, is the fact that Navarrette’s work is embraced and utilized by xenophobes, racists, and white supremacists. On nationalist hate group site VDARE, author Allan Wall, feels it completely unnecessary to pick and choose segments from Navarrette’s column on Olympian Leo Manzano, choosing instead to run it in its entirety. Single-issue, perpetual right-wing candidate, Tom Tancredo, quotes Navarrette’s column on Chávez in his latest screed on Townhall, the self-proclaimed, “leading source for conservative news and political commentary and analysis.” And ALIPAC, the self-proclaimed, “largest archive of information about illegal immigration, criminal immigrants, illegal aliens… border patrol, how to report, deport… Mexicans… gangs, crimes… Dream Act… amnesty,” has republished it under the headline, “The violent César Chávez legacy towards illegal aliens.”

These uncompromising anti-reform crusaders represent the most disgusting, vile, reprehensible elements of the immigration policy debate. These are the chief drivers of the anti-immigrant talk we heard during the 2012 Republican Primary Race; the proponents of pledges to build an electrified fence along the border, promote Arizona SB 1070 style laws across the country, veto the DREAM Act, overturn President Obama’s order to halt certain deportations, and so forth.

Somos Republicanos demonstrated integrity and decency by standing up to the many GOP leaders who made use of the slur “anchor babies” in their effort to eliminate the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of birthright citizenship.

Would anyone make the case that Navarrette has shown similar qualities by launching a ceaseless series of cheap shots against César Chávez, Dolores Huerta, and President Obama? After Mother Jones made public the hidden camera video in which Mitt Romney states his belief that while 47% of voters are dependent upon government, and won’t take personal responsibility and care for their lives, he’d have an easier time winning the election if he were Latino, Navarrette opened his column by saying, “If he [Romney] were Mexican, there’s a 94.6% chance that he would've already been deported by his opponent.” It’s more accurate to compare Navarrette to the Madd Rapper who introduces Bad Boy records Greatest Hits album, taking potshots at those above him, the objects of his hateration, whenever possible. But I digress.

Chávez is most fairly viewed via the lens of his clashes as an unelected, organizer of impoverished workers of color, excluded from Social Security and other benefits, who took on corporate growers, agri-business investors, and government interests. For instance, one of Chávez’s chief nemeses, Ronald Reagan, called a televised press conference with the explicit purpose of eating grapes in defiance of the UFW-sponsored boycott, and vetoed the extension of unemployment insurance to farmworkers three times.

Chávez’s October 1, 1969 remarks before Congress contextualize the challenge well:

“When farmworkers declare a strike, it is not only a strike that happens, but it is a whole revolution in that community. It becomes a civil liberties issue, it becomes a race issue, and it becomes a desperate struggle just to keep the movement going… We not only had the growers against us, but we had the other public bodies like the city council, the board of supervisors, the high school and elementary school districts, passing resolutions and propaganda against the strike and against the union… In America today, a vast majority of farmworkers are poor, and the vast majority are from minority groups. We are brown and black… Employers have used— and I should say very well—the tactic of setting one racial group against the other. This has been a long-standing trick of theirs to break the unions…

The local authorities come into play immediately to try to destroy the efforts of organizing. At the beginning of the strike, there were mass arrests by the Delano Police Department and by the County Sheriff’s Department… We see the indifference of the local courts. We see how employers can come in and can get injunctions at will, and we see how the injunctions break our strikes… We see that bringing the employers to court when they have broken the law is almost impossible. The indifference of the federal agencies in regard to enforcement of those few regulations that apply to farmworkers is also very bad. We have cases with the Federal Food and Drug Administration going back two years…

Using their money, their offices, their duplicating equipment… [the growers set up] a company union, well staffed, well financed. Information discovered by an investigation by the Department of Labor, plus signed statements from two of the officers of the Agricultural Workers Freedom to Work Association prove
what the growers were doing… These facts were uncovered and the law-breaking phony union has not been brought to court. I might add here that there were four or five different attempts to establish company unions in the past… One of them was called ‘Mothers Against Chávez’…

Since we are not covered by the National Labor Relations Act and there is no machinery for elections, the union and employers have to agree to set up some kind of procedure for the election… The whole question of our representing the workers is not in issue. But the 12 growers who agreed to negotiate with us raised the issue. So we gave the Federal Mediation Service cards signed by ninety per cent of the strike-breakers working for the growers at that time. The card said, ‘we support the union.’ So the question of whether we represent the workers or not is a phony issue… The real question is… Are the farmworkers going to be able to walk out of their poverty and be counted and accepted as true men by their employers?... How is it going to be done?... That it is going to be done is accepted by all of us who are in the struggle.”

Navarrette, and everyone else obsessed with the vilification of César Chávez, the man who died nearly twenty years ago, should focus on the fact that this National Monument, like Mount Rushmore is a symbol, not an instrument for the absolution of sins, or an official seal of approval for historical negationism.

Our first President, George Washington not only owned slaves, he signed the Fugitive Slave Law.

Author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote against miscegenation, and then had six children by African American, Sally Hemings—all of whom were born into and grew up in slavery.

Great Emancipator, Abraham Lincoln did not believe African Americans could be “assimilated into white society,” rejected the notion of social equality of the races, and believed former slaves should be resettled abroad.

Rough Rider, Teddy Roosevelt was an anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, Sinophobic, xenophobic, Nativist, who called the 19th Century lynching of “hyphenated Americans” and immigrants, “a rather good thing.”

Pulitzer Prize winning historian, James McPherson, writes, “History is a continuing dialogue between the present and the past. Interpretations of the past are subject to change in response to new evidence, new questions asked of the evidence, new perspectives gained by the passage of time. There is no single, eternal, and immutable ‘truth’ about past events and their meaning.”

Chávez critics incapable of squashing personal beefs, (however longstanding) and silencing superficially evidenced conspiracy theories, for one minute, and acknowledging the significance of the National Monument as a symbol—a cultural representation of the experiences and perceptions of millions of Latinos—are nothing more than haters.

The designation of the property at Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz as a National Monument was not an act of canonization. César Chávez was not inducted into sainthood.

Instead, President Obama went to La Paz and remarked:

“To the members of the Chávez family… to the men and women who’ve worked so hard for so long to preserve this place… Thank you… Most of all, I want to thank Helen Chávez… to Helen, this will always be home. It’s where she fought alongside the man that she loved; where she raised eight children and spoiled 31 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. This is where she continues to live… Helen, today we are your guests… César would be the first to say that this is not a monument to one man. The movement he helped to lead was sustained by a generation of organizers who stood up and spoke out, and urged others to do the same—including the great Dolores Huerta, who is here today. It drew strength from Americans of every race and every background who marched and boycotted together on behalf of ‘La Causa.’ And it was always inspired by the farmworkers themselves, some of whom are with us. This place belongs to you, too…

César cared… he made other people care, too. A march that started in Delano with a handful of activists—that march ended 300 miles away in Sacramento with a crowd 10,000 strong. A boycott of table grapes that began in California eventually drew 17 million supporters across the country, forcing growers to agree to some of the first farmworker contracts in history. Where there had once been despair, César gave workers a reason to hope… And even though we have a difficult road ahead, I know we can keep moving forward together. I know it because César himself worked for 20 years as an organizer without a single major victory—think about that—but he refused to give up...
More than anything, that’s what I hope our children and grandchildren will take away from this place. Every time somebody’s son or daughter comes and learns about the history of this movement, I want them to know that our journey is never hopeless, our work is never done.”

Thursday, October 04, 2012

The Day After The Debate

One of my favorite episodes of Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing, is entitled, “The Two Bartletts.” It contains the following dialogue:

Toby Ziegler, (Toby) “Sir, I don’t think I need to tell you that the level of respect with which the staff speaks of you doesn’t change, depending on whether or not you’re in the room.”

President Bartlet, (Bartlet) “But?”

Toby, “Well, there’s always been a concern about the two Bartlets. The absent-minded professor with the ‘Aw, Dad’ sense of humor. Disarming and unthreatening. Good for all time zones. And the Nobel Laureate. Still searching for salvation. Lonely, frustrated. Lethal.”

Bartlet, “You’re gonna sing a country western song?”

Toby, “The one whose father never liked him because he was too smart.”

Bartlet, “This stopped being fun for me a little while ago.”

Toby, “Sir?”

Bartlet, “It was actually never fun for me. I was just being polite.”

Toby, “Your father used to hit you, didn’t he, Mr. President?”

Bartlet, “Excuse me?”

Toby, “Your father used to hit you, sir?”

Bartlet, “Yeah.”

Toby, “Not like a spanking.”

Bartlet, “He hit me. Why?”

Toby, “He punched you.”

Bartlet, “I’m done being polite now.”

Toby, “He did it because you made him mad, but you didn’t know why.”

Bartlet, “Toby, it was a complicated relationship. Can I help you?”

Toby, “It was because you were smarter than he was.”

Bartlet, “It was a complicated relationship.”

Toby, “He didn’t like you, sir. That’s why he hit you. That’s why people hit each other. He didn’t like you. You were smarter than he was.”

Bartlet, “Why are we talking about this?”

Toby, “So maybe if you get enough votes, win one more election, maybe your father will…”

Bartlet, “You have stepped way over the line, and any other President would have your ass on the sidewalk right now!”

Toby, “Yes, sir.”

Bartlet, “They would’ve had you on the sidewalk a long time ago. I don’t know what the hell goes on in a Brooklyn shrink’s office, but get it the hell out of my house!”

Toby, “Thank you, Mr. President.”

In this scene, a fictional Democratic Party President is accused of having a troubled relationship with his biological father, and concurrently existing as a symbol of hope and change, a sitcom dad with near-universal appeal, and an accomplished scholar whose obvious intelligence isolates him from most-everyone.

Who does that sound like to you?

If you said President Obama, you’re spot on.

If you said former-President Clinton, ding, ding, ding, you’re on the big board.

If you thought of the words, “Our problems are manmade—therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable—and we believe they can do it again.”

Or, “No government or social system is so evil that its people must be considered lacking in virtue… Let us not be blind to our differences—but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”

Then you guessed former-President Kennedy, and you win the grand prize.

Democrats love Aristotelian tragic heroes who paradoxically try to inhabit the legacies of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. Motivated reasoning allows the dampening of the cognitive dissonance that arises when one juxtaposes the “Sage of Monticello,” with “Old Hickory.”

But just as fictional TV Commander-In-Chief had to confront his demons to be great, so must President Obama. He has to be willing to risk being hated for the sake of all of us.

American voters found out a lot of things in Wednesday’s (October 3, 2012) debate.

The first is that Mitt Romney said many, many, many untrue things—just ask Michael Arceneaux, Michelle Goldberg, Drew Joseph, David R. Baker, Joe Garofoli, Politifact, etc.

The second is that Rob Portman proved to be a better debate coach than John Kerry. Portman prepared George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, as well as John McCain in 2008. He’s done this before, and he’s learned from his mistakes. Portman began intensive multi-hour sessions with Romney one full month before the first debate. The routine included not only study sessions, and mock debate exchanges. But also debriefing sessions where Romney advisers sat in a circle, reviewing mock debate tapes and transcripts, tweaking scripted answers for maximum sound-bite friendly rhetorical impact, and altering tone, body language, and style to improve likability.

Kerry’s only experience in preparing for debates was the time he spent preparing himself in 2004.

If you’re on the President Obama debate preparation team and someone comes to you with the suggestion that John Kerry, (or the most influential members of his team) former-Vice-President Gore, (or the most influential members of his team) or former-President Carter (or the most influential members of his team) should work with President Obama before the next debate. Just Say No.

The third is that President Obama (and the most influential members of his team) hold that his biggest advantage over Mitt Romney is the strong tendency of Americans to see him as more friendly, accessible, and personally appealing than his GOP challenger.

Gabriel Debenedetti writes in Reuters, “It’s not just that, as anyone who has followed this race knows, President Obama claims a majority of respondents on the question, ‘Which candidate is more likable?’—52 percent among men and 51 percent among women. What must concern the Romney campaign is how low the favorable response to that question is for their candidate. At 24 percent for men and women, it is lower even than the combined number of ‘neithers’ and ‘don’t knows.’ The same pattern holds for the question, ‘Who would be most fun to meet in person?’ Men chose Obama by 48 percent, women by 47, while Romney’s numbers—21 percent of men and 19 percent of women—evoke the popular phrase, ‘They’re just not that into you’…”

The problem is that President Obama, and his surrogates, have said over and over how affable, well intentioned, and devoted to his family Mitt Romney is. The 2012 Democratic National Convention was a prime example of this. Randy Johnson, whose life was undone when Romney’s Bain Capital took over his place of employment began his remarks by saying, “I don't think Mitt Romney is a bad man. I don't fault him for the fact that some companies win and some companies lose. That's a fact of life.” Former-President Clinton added to the narrative by saying, “[Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan] love their families and their children… They convinced me they were honorable people who believe what they’ve said and they're going to keep every commitment they’ve made.”

As recently as the Monday before their first debate, the Associated Press quoted President Obama as saying, “I think Governor Romney obviously has achieved extraordinary success with his businesses, and he’s obviously very focused on achieving the presidency. He cares deeply about his family, and I think he cares deeply about his faith.”

What’s wrong with this picture? If your chief advantage is that you’re likable and the other guy isn’t, why the hell would you go out of your way to try to help him out in that department? The very reason why likability matters to voters is that it makes you seem more likely to do the right thing, even if you don’t always say something in the right way.

Lou Cannon writes in Real Clear Politics, “The public gave Reagan the benefit of a doubt for a dubious remark. The same could be said of Obama. He’s aloof—his critics say ‘arrogant’—but, like Reagan, Obama is skillful at spoofing the opposition. Obama recently quipped that Republicans are so enamored of tax cutting they believe it can improve one’s sex life. Reagan said he wasn’t worried about the deficit because it was big enough to take care of itself… Reagan was a transformational as well as likable president… Obama hasn’t reached such lofty heights and he [has] realized that Americans are disappointed that he hasn’t done better at alleviating unemployment or reviving the housing market… [Still] the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, derided by Republicans as ‘Obamacare’ and advocated and signed into law by Obama, is a significant achievement, like it or not. When it comes to health care, Obama succeeded where other presidents from Harry Truman to Bill Clinton tried and failed… [Unfortunately, even] 24 hours is a long time in the life of a politician…[and] there are 800,000 fewer Democratic voters in the eight closest swing states [than there were in 2008].”

President Obama (and the most influential members of his team) hold that likability is the key to reelection because in every election since 1984, the candidate viewed as more likable won. The problem is that the President isn’t running on, “Who would you rather have a beer with?” He isn’t doubling down on being determined and resolute. He’s not telling voters, “I’m the decider.” He doesn’t have an ad in which a phone rings at 3 AM, casting doubt on Mitt Romney’s judgment—an image that could be easily reinforced by an empty chair on a stage. Instead, the President has put all of his eggs in one basket under the banner, “Forward.” This is the standard the President has defined for himself, and therefore this is the standard his reelection campaign must meet. He needs voters to believe the country is on the right track.

But when asked if the country is headed in the right direction under President Obama’s leadership, less than one third of Gallup poll respondents answer in the affirmative. Asked the same question when George W. Bush ran for reelection in 2004, and Bill Clinton ran for reelection in 1996, 41% said yes. Asked the same question when Ronald Reagan ran for reelection in 1984, 61% said yes.

This is the statistic that should most trouble President Obama and his reelection team. Regardless of whatever anyone else says, the President needs to use the last month of the campaign, and the final two debates, to explain why and how he put us on the right track. He’s got to do this, even if it means his likability takes a hit. Otherwise, Romney wins.

Ruth Marcus writes in the Washington Post, “Romney’s challenge (changing voters’ image of himself) is less daunting than Obama’s (changing voters’ perceptions of the economy)… Romney’s challenge with voters may be similar to that of Ronald Reagan in 1980, except that Romney needs to cross a threshold of minimum likability rather than that of competence… Set the bar at Romney proving himself ‘acceptable’ to voters… rather than persuading voters to ‘swoon’ for him, as they did for Obama in 2008. In other words, Romney doesn’t have to make himself likable. Just likable enough.”

Nevertheless, there is hope.

President Obama could begin by reviewing what President Kennedy, said about the role of Executive, “There are greater limitations upon our ability to bring about a favorable result than I had imagined… And I think that is probably true of anyone who becomes President, because there is such a difference between those who advise or speak or legislate, and between the man who must select from the various alternatives proposed and say that this shall be the policy of the United States. It is much easier to make the speeches than it is to finally make the judgments…The President bears the burden of the responsibility quite rightly… When I talked to members of the Congress… when we confronted them… with the evidence… in looking at the various alternatives, the advantages and disadvantages of action… I think that we took the right one…

We are going to have twice as many people trying to go to college… That means we have to build as many buildings in 10 years as we built the whole of our country's history. Then you have got these millions… who are dropping out of school, who are unskilled, at a time when unskilled—when skilled labor is needed, and not unskilled. So we need money for vocational training to train them in skills, to retrain workers, to provide assistance funds for colleges, and then to provide assistance to those who are going to get doctorates, higher advanced in engineering, science, and mathematics. We have a severe shortage there… So all this requires funds, but it is all in controversy. Some people feel the Federal Government should play no role, and yet the Federal Government, since the land grant act and back to the Northwest Ordinance, has played a major role. I think the Federal Government has a great responsibility in the field of education. We can’t maintain our strength industrially, militarily, scientifically, socially, without very well educated citizenry. And I think the Federal Government has a role to play… Unfortunately, we have come close to getting assistance to education passed, but we have not been successful…

It is very easy to defeat a bill in the Congress. It is much more difficult to pass one… We are all concerned as citizens and as parents and all the rest, with all the problems we have been talking about tonight. They are all the problems which if I was not the President, I would be concerned about as a father or as a citizen… But I must say after being here… and having the experience of the Presidency, and there is no experience you can get that can possibly prepare you adequately for the Presidency… I have a good deal of hope for the United States… This country… the great means of defending first the world against the Nazi threat, and since then against the Communist threat… We are in a strong position… That is a pretty good record for a country with 6 percent of the world’s population… I think we ought to be rather pleased with ourselves this Christmas.”

And President Obama’s debate preparation team would be wise to review another of my favorite episodes of Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing. Entitled, “Game On,” it contains the following exchanges:

Toby Ziegler, (Toby) “What do you think?”

Josh Lyman, “Well if we lose because of a ten-word answer, then I'm quitting show business.”

Toby, “What do you think?”

C.J. Cregg, “I think it depends who shows up. If it’s Uncle Fluffy, we’ve got problems. If it’s the President, in his last campaign, his last debate, for the last job he’ll ever have… if the President shows up, I think it’ll be a sight to see, I mean a sight to see. What do you think?”

Toby, “I think you’re going to enjoy yourself…”


Robert Ritchie, (Ritchie) “Let the states decide. Let the communities decide on health care, on education, on lower taxes, not higher taxes. Now, he’s going to throw a big word at you—‘unfunded mandate.’ If Washington lets the states do it, it’s an unfunded mandate. But what he doesn't like is the federal government losing power. But I call it the ingenuity of the American people.”

Moderator, “President Bartlet, you have 60 seconds for a question and an answer.”

Josiah Bartlet, (Bartlet) “Well, first of all, let’s clear up a couple of things. ‘Unfunded mandate’ is two words, not one ‘big word’… There are times when we’re fifty states and there are times when we’re one country, and have national needs. And the way I know this is that Florida didn’t fight Germany in World War II or establish civil rights. You think states should do the governing wall-to-wall. That’s a perfectly valid opinion. But your state of Florida got $12.6 billion in federal money last year-- from Nebraskans, and Virginians, and New Yorkers, and Alaskans… 12.6 out of a state budget of $50 billion, and I’m supposed to be using this time for a question, so here it is: Can we have it back, please?”

Ritchie, “And the partisan bickering. Now, I want people to work together in this great country. And that’s what I did… I brought people together—and that’s what I’ll do as your President. End the logjam, end the gridlock, and bring Republicans together with Democrats, ‘cause Americans are tired of partisan politics.”

Moderator, “Mr. President?”

Bartlet, “Actually, what you’ve done… is bring the right together with the far right. And I don’t think Americans are tired of partisan politics; I think they're tired of hearing career politicians dis partisan politics to get a gig. I’ve tried it before, they ain’t buying it. That's okay, though… But if you’re troubled by it, Governor, you should know, in this campaign, you’ve used the word ‘liberal’ seventy-four times, in one day. It was yesterday.”

Bartlet, “No, the question is: Should we focus on 90% of the kids, who go to public school, or give parents money from the public-school budget to send their kids to private school at a time when private schools are even turning kids away who can afford it? Public schools are going to be the best schools in the country. They’re gonna be cathedrals. The answer is a change in the way we finance schools!”

Moderator, “Governor Ritchie, many economists have stated that the tax cut, which is centerpiece of your economic agenda, could actually harm the economy. Is now really the time to cut taxes?”

Ritchie, “You bet it is. We need to cut taxes for one reason—the American people know how to spend their money better than the federal government does.”

Moderator, “Mr. President, your rebuttal.”

Bartlet, “There it is… That’s the ten-word answer my staff’s been looking for two weeks. There it is. Ten-word answers can kill you in political campaigns. They’re the tip of the sword. Here’s my question: What are the next ten words of your answer? Your taxes are too high? So are mine. Give me the next ten words. How are we going to do it? Give me ten after that, I’ll drop out of the race right now. Every once in a while... every once in a while, there's a day with an absolute right and an absolute wrong, but those days almost always include body counts. Other than that, there aren't very many un-nuanced moments in leading a country that’s way too big for ten words. I’m the President of the United States, not the President of the people who agree with me. And by the way, if the left has a problem with that, they should vote for somebody else.”

Will Bailey, “I thought he was going to have to fall all over himself trying to be genial.”

Sam Seaborn, “So did we. But then, we were convinced by polling that said he was going to be seen as arrogant no matter what performance he gave in the debate. And then, that morning at 3:10, my phone rings, and it’s Toby Ziegler. He says, ‘Don't you get it? It’s a gift that they’re irreversibly convinced that he's arrogant 'cause now he can be.’ If your guy's seen that way, you might as well knock some bodies down with it.”

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Drop the i-word:

In the 19th Century, the growing demand for newspapers led to the creation of wire services, cooperatives between large city-based newspapers, the most famous of these, the Associated Press (AP) adopted the use of the wireless telegraph in 1899, initiated a wire service for photographs in 1935, joined YouTube in 2006, and launched AP Mobile in 2008. The AP forms part of one of our most revered public, social, and cultural institutions. Freedom of the press is written into the First Amendment. It is often referred to as the “fourth branch of government.” But its history is one of change and adaptation, both in response to advances in widely available technology, as in the example of the evolving AP illustrates. And the need to confront the cognitive dissonance built into its institutional ontology:

To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

During the Gilded Age, newspaper circulation battles between Joseph Pulitzer’s “New York World,” and William Randolph Hearst’s “New York Journal,” led to an environment in which sensationalized stories eclipsed investigative reporting with such severity and frequency, that the American press corps came to be defined as the homestead of yellow journalism. But the same media that embraced scandal, one decade, became obsessed with uncovering and examining hidden and inconvenient truths, the next. The profiteering publishers of newspaper propaganda during the Spanish-American War were confronted by businessmen who believed the media could offer as much reliability, not just sparkle, and still turn a profit. Before World War I, writers fulfilling auditing or watchdog functions were labeled “muckrakers.” Most supported the reforms ushered in by the Progressive Era, but their legacy was not establishing a means for responding tit-for-tat to the politicized rhetoric of right-wing populism that permeated sensationalist publications like Pulitzer’s, and Hearst’s, but rather a devotion to the pursuit of impartiality in reporting—the identification of fact as fact, and the labeling of opinion as opinion. The format adopted by the “New York Times” under Adolph Ochs, became the format of any newspaper seeking to establish itself as one of objective record.

On September 21, 2012, journalist, Jose Antonio Vargas, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for “exceptional multi-faceted coverage of the deadly shooting rampage at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University” in 2008, gave a speech to the Online News Association. He called on media outlets to stop using the term “illegal” to describe immigrants, be they children or adults. Vargas specifically asked the New York Times and the AP to lead the way.

The term is not a socio-politically neutral descriptive. And it does not correctly depict the complex tapestry of immigrants who are broadly categorized as undocumented, but are more precisely identified as Deferred Action, day laborers without current work permits, farmworkers without visas, sweatshop, service sector, meat packing industry, factory farm, employees without Social Security or Tax ID numbers, etc.

Vargas is neither the first nor the sole voice to shine a spotlight on the term, and explain why it fails the standard of comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.

In 2006, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, launched a campaign to challenge the media’s use of the terms “illegal immigrant,” and “illegal alien.” Proposing the term “undocumented immigrant.” This campaign has been widely supported by journalists of color, and universally embraced by associations of journalists of color.

In 2010, the Applied Research Center, and Colorlines launched the “Drop the I-Word” campaign aimed at getting the media and elected officials to stop using “illegal” to describe undocumented residents, regardless of race/ethnicity, age, gender identity, religion, sexual identity, etc. This campaign features an online pledge, videos, and blogs that have garnered millions of impressions, and earned the support of thousands of organizations.

And yet, in 2011, the “updated” AP Stylebook advised journalists to continue using the term despite the fact that more and more journalists and news consumers agreed that the term was dehumanizing and legally inaccurate. AP Deputy Standards Editor David Minthorn says he and the other two Stylebook editors have taken people’s criticism into consideration but are still advising journalists to use it. The Stylebook says “illegal immigrant” should be used “to describe someone who has entered the country illegally,” and should also be used to describe anyone who “resides in a country in criminal or civil violation of immigration law.”

#droptheiword Campaign Director, Monica Novoa stated, “The Associated Press has to decide if they want to be known as an organization that is dictating the use of legally inaccurate, racially charged, dehumanizing language. They are not with the times right now and it damages their credibility.”

This past Tuesday, (October 2, 2012) Margaret Sullivan, Public Editor for the New York Times, published her response to the repeated request that the New York Times drop the term. She articulated it thusly:

“I see no advantage for Times readers in a move away from the paper’s use of the phrase ‘illegal immigrant.’ It is clear and accurate; it gets its job done in two words that are easily understood… Just as ‘illegal tenant’ in a real estate story (another phrase you could have seen in Times articles or headlines) is brief and descriptive, so is ‘illegal immigrant’… This is not a judgment on immigration policy or on the various positions surrounding immigration reform, or those who hold those positions… It’s simply a judgment about clarity and accuracy, which readers hold so dear.”

John Hudson of the Atlantic Wire wrote, “Jose Antonio Vargas hit a brick wall… Sullivan… [is] the last resort for readers frustrated with the newspaper’s policies. Which means Vargas’ campaign to get the AP and The Times to jettison the term has hit a roadblock—both news agencies are sticking with the status quo.”

Undaunted, Vargas told Hudson that he would continue to push for change at the AP and New York Times, “because they’re national brands that set the news agenda.” Adding, “Openness and willingness to have a conversation about this term… should happen in newsrooms across America, especially in towns, cities and states that are deeply impacted by this issue. You cannot divorce illegal immigration from changing demographics… I am disappointed at her assessment. The headline… is most revealing: ‘Readers Won’t Benefit if Times Bans the Term’… Which readers? Readers who want and need to understand the complex and evolving nature of immigration in America, how an immigrant can be out-of-status one week and have status the next? Readers from immigrant families (Latinos and Asians, particularly) who are likely to personally know someone who is undocumented and is offended that their friends and relatives are continually marginalized and dehumanized?”

It is easy for those with racial/ethnic, socioeconomic and other privileges to characterize all of this as a debate over semantics. There’s an entire applied linguistics discussion group on LinkedIn devoted to the “illegal vs. undocumented debate.” Unfortunately, even media outlets that exist specifically to broaden the narrow discussions that result when the vast majority of those opining are white men, have adopted this frame. “Semantics Important to Immigrants’ Struggle” reads New America Media’s write up on Sergio Garcia, the aspiring attorney, fighting for a license to practice law in California despite his undocumented status, after having passed the bar exam and the character study conducted by the Committee of Bar Examiners. Latino media figures like Define American co-founder, Alicia Menendez and Roque Planas at the Huffington Post largely conform their coverage to fit this mold.

Paul Kivel writes, “Language is important not because it should or can be ‘correct,’ but because it should convey… dignity… Everyone should have the choice to name themselves… Rejecting demeaning names, or renaming oneself… challenges the presumed subordination when others have dictated your name.” As an example, the identifier “redskin” is contemptible to a vast majority of Native Americans. In fact, a poll by Indian Country Today, found that 81% of the members of the indigenous community, believe the use of Native American symbols, mascots, and identifiers by sports teams is “predominantly offensive and deeply disparaging.”

This fact didn’t prevent Scott Brown from facilitating the labeling of Elizabeth Warren as Lieawatha and Fauxcauhontas during a campaign rally in which his own staffers lead a crowd of white Massachusetts residents in a series of war whoops and tomahawk chops. Something Bill John Baker, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, called an “uneducated, unenlightened and racist portrayal of Native peoples.” But I digress.

Cheech Marin explains the journey of self-identification comically, “In the early days, the connotation of calling someone a Chicano was that they were poor, illiterate, destitute people living in tin shacks along the border… Hispanic is a census term that some dildo in a government office made up to include all Spanish-speaking brown people… ‘Latino’ refers to all Spanish-speaking people in the ‘New World’—South Americans, Central Americans, Mexicans, and Brazilians (even though they speak Portuguese). All those groups and their descendents living in the United States want to be called Latinos to recognize their Indian roots… Mexican-American is the politically correct middle ground between Hispanic and Chicano… All those names made it confusing for me growing up. I lived in an all-black neighborhood, followed by an all-white one, and other kids in the always called me Mexican in both neighborhoods. When I got chased down an alley… self-identification saved the day... When I got home… my Uncle Rudy was in the middle of a story: ‘So, I took the car into the dealer and he said, ‘Yeah, the repairs gonna run you about $250’… Hell, just give me a pair of pliers and some tin foil. I’ll fix it—I’m a Chicano mechanic’… And that was the defining epiphany. A Chicano was someone who could do anything. A Chicano was someone who wasn't going to get ripped off. He was Uncle Rudy. He was industrious, inventive, and he wants another beer. So I got my Uncle Rudy another beer because, on that day, he showed me that I was a Chicano... I’ve been a Chicano ever since.”

Humor aside, the New York Times published the following in 1988, “Blacks now want to be called African-Americans… The archeology is dramatically plain to older adults who, in one lifetime, have already heard preferred usage shift from colored to Negro to black… If the new name catches on, it will challenge headline writers and disconcert citizens only recently accustomed to black. But people ought to be able to call themselves whatever they wish. The desire to choose one’s label is as American as apple pie, and as political… Consider the evolution from ladies to women or the gradual acceptance of Ms. … The term… is no mere verbal convenience; its very use connotes coalition, and thus power… For those who declared in the mid-1960’s that ‘Black is beautiful,’ embracing the term black was an act of political self-assertion. They insisted on accurately describing the character of society then.”

There are 11 million undocumented noncitizen residents, in this nation of 315 million people. That’s 3.5%. This includes persons from every part of the globe. But since the most common depiction of an undocumented immigrant is that of a late night US-Mexico border crosser in pursuit of a government check, let’s deal with that offensive stereotype head on. There are more than 50 million Latinos in the US. One in three Americans believe the majority of Latinos are undocumented. If that were true, at least 8% of the entire US population would be comprised of undocumented residents from Latin America. You can’t square this circle. The numbers don’t add up. As former President Clinton said, “It’s arithmetic.”

Half of likely Latino voters surveyed by Fox News find the term offensive. 81% of those surveyed by Univision believe all Latinos in the US, not just undocumented immigrants, presently face significant discrimination. This belief is corroborated and substantiated by National Institute of Justice, Southern Poverty Law Center, and FBI data, demonstrating disproportionate growth in anti-Latino hate crimes and hate groups.

Because of the Supreme Court’s decision not to overturn the entirety of Arizona SB 1070, “papers please” policies will remain Constitutional until their implementation unduly harms and burdens enough American citizens from communities of color to justify their modification. Every single time a law enforcement officer encounters someone he or she deems worthy of questioning, that officer will be entrusted to make a determination on that individual’s American identity. Between April 2010, the time SB 1070 was signed into law, and the June 2012 Arizona v. US decision, the American Civil Liberties Union said their Arizona hotline had already taken over 3,500 calls alleging violations of the rights guaranteed to citizens and US residents by the Constitution. This, in spite of the fact that the ninth circuit, federal court of appeals, upheld an injunction preventing the full implementation of the law until the Supreme Court had reached its verdict.

Welcome to the one Nation, under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All, where 96 year-old, former Arizona Governor, Mexican American, Raul Hector Castro, has already been detained three times.

NYU Professor of Journalism, Jay Rosen writes, “Getting simultaneously bashed from the left and the right is oddly comforting for journalists; it seems to suggest that they’re steering right down the middle, which is a territory they associate with balance and truth… Journalists don’t see themselves as tools of the corporation or defenders of the liberal faith. But they do regard their craft as a public service, and the way they understand this service matters. The daily rituals and peer culture of journalism advance a host of assumptions about politics, power, people, public opinion, and democracy…

As outsiders, journalists fell victim to some dangerous illusions: that they had no investment in the health of the political system, that they could continue to watch the craziness—and feed it—without substantial cost, that their intention to be in no one’s pocket meant that they were free of politics, when the reality was they were implicated in everything politics had become… Political culture, preoccupied with media ‘bias,’ made it perilous to even ask about agendas and outcomes… The journalist’s favorite self image—the professional bystander, watching politics and public life roll by… placed the press outside the action, which was a safe position, but also a weak one, in that it couldn’t account for all the ways in which journalism had been incorporated into the system… as players, people who help shape the scene they also survey. Which left hanging a question: If the press shapes the politics we have, then how can it shape the politics we need?”

Jose Antonio Vargas, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Applied Research Center, Colorlines, and millions of Americans have answered this question:

No American resident should be defined as “illegal” by the media as a result of his or her current immigration status. Every human being has an equal right to dignity regardless of immigration status. And the press is guilty of violating this right by refusing to eradicate this dehumanizing slur from public discourse.

Those who embrace the term open the door to racial profiling and violence, and prevent a truthful, informative debate on immigration policy that acknowledges push-and-pull factors on a macro level, or the diversity of undocumented individuals on a micro level.

It is not known who the undocumented are, how many lack status, or what the impacts of immigration policy have been on American families where some are citizens and some are potentially subject to deportation. The AP and New York Times have embraced the term, “illegal immigrant,” under the banner of accuracy, when the American public is misinformed about immigrants and immigration policy in every measurable way.

By abandoning responsibility to combat public misinformation, and denying culpability in engendering a climate in which the public is as socio-politically polarized, as it is ignorant of the facts, they are complicit in the lack of legislative progress on the issue of comprehensive immigration reform, and fettered to the openly racist treatment those perceived to be undocumented receive.

The AP and New York Times must follow the Miami Herald, San Antonio Express-News and Huffington Post and drop the i-word.