In Midterms, Latinas Make
Waves And Make History
By Ruben Navarrette
On his short but remarkable journey from political
novice to President of the United States, Donald
Trump got mileage from battering his favorite piñatas:
women and Latinos.
So, it’s only fair that – in the midterm
elections – some of the strongest
resistance to Trump and his agenda
should come from the demographic
that can be found at the intersection of
those groups: Latinas.
Two veteran Democratic Texas
lawmakers made history when they
became the first Latinas ever elected
to represent Texas in the U.S. House
of Representatives. Former El Paso
County Judge Veronica Escobar will
represent Texas’ Congressional District
16, and State Sen. Sylvia Garcia of
Houston will represent Congressional
History was also made in New
Mexico where voters elected the first
Democratic Latina governor in the United
States. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, an
outspoken critic of Trump’s immigration
hardline, trounced Republican Rep.
Steve Pearce, a conservative member of
the anti-immigrant House Freedom Caucus.
Tired of making history yet? More
of it was made in New York where
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – who sent
a seismic jolt through the Democratic
establishment earlier this year when she
defeated 10-term Democratic incumbent
Joe Crowley – became, at 29, the youngest
woman ever elected to Congress.
Clearly, someone is tired of being
pushed around. And they’ve decided to
push back. This changes everything.
In the midterms, Democrats wanted to
talk about health care, while Republicans
droned on about immigration.
For Latina voters, politics is personal.
Many of them are likely quite moved
by the sight of families of migrants and
refugees marching north solemnly
from Central America to the U.S.-Mexico
border. But what they care about most
is how government – and the people
who run it – impact their own families.
That means issues like education figure
prominently into their decision making.
According to media reports, that was a
top issue in the New Mexico governor’s
race, and it helped catapult Lujan
Grisham to victory.
Welcome to the Latina moment!
Latina candidates came to their own in
these midterm elections by working
hard, defying expectations, challenging
conventional thinking, standing up to
the male hierarchy in the Latino
community, and stream-rolling past
the old Democratic establishment.
And this is probably only the beginning.
In 2020, change could once again be on
the menu and more history could be
What these Latinas -- and others --
understood is that power must be
taken. If you wait your turn, it may
never come. If you defer, you will be
passed over. And sometimes the people
who hold you back are the same folks
who you thought had your back – in
this case, your fellow Democrats and
In the Latino community, men have
had it pretty good. We’d run for office
and play bigshots, while women would
stay home and run everything else.
It’ll be good for us to switch roles.
It might teach us all some respect and
humility. And those things have great
value – the sort that transcends politics.
Ruben Navarrette is a syndicated
columnist with the Washington
Post Writers Group, a contributor
to The Daily Beast and USA
Today, a popular speaker, host of
the daily podcast “Navarrette Nation,”
and author of “A Darker Shade of
Crimson: Odyssey of a Harvard
Chicano (Bantam). Learn more at
42 www.latinastyle.com LATINAStyle Vol. 24, No. 5, 2018