When confronted with the realities of the Trump economy during an interview on the Spanish-language network Univision, Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez had few answers.
Anchor Patricia Janiot asked how Democrats can “compete” with President Donald Trump given the economy’s impact on Hispanic communities.
“President Trump has achieved something important, especially for Latinos, which is to reduce the unemployment rate to historic lows,” Janoit began. “How, then, can the Democrats compete with a president that has been beneficial to Latinos on economic matters?
Perez replied by rattling off Democratic talking points that ignore the historically low unemployment figures.
“The economic situation in the United States is excellent for the wealthy like Trump, but the economic situation is still bad for our community and that’s why we have to elect Democrats,” he replied.
The benefits to Latinos go beyond low unemployment figures.
According to the US Census Bureau, median household income for U.S. Hispanics hit a record high of $50,486 in 2017. The agency noted in a February 2019 report that the poverty rate among Hispanics is the lowest it has ever been.
Despite an overall drop in the poverty rate in 2017, “the rate among Hispanics had one of the largest year-to-year drops across demographic groups and was the lowest since poverty estimates for Hispanics were first published in 1972,” the Census Bureau report said.
Jorge Bonilla, the director of MRC Latino, a Hispanic media watchdog group, hit Perez hard for his answer.
“Perez’s answer, taken at face value, is not only false given the clear economic criteria under upon the question is premised,” Bonilla said. “But is also a tacit admission that perhaps Hispanics didn’t have it so great under the Obama administration. To suggest that the economy is somehow “still bad” for Hispanics, as Perez did here, is to affirm that it was bad for Hispanics before Trump took over. You can’t have one without the other, and that statement nullifies Perez’s proposed solution which is, of course, to vote for Democrats.”
He also cited Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, who said during an appearance on Axios that non-whites should base their vote on personal beliefs and economic self-interest.
“I just don’t take it as a given that because you’re non-white that we should worry about you voting Democrat,” Crenshaw said. “And I think Democrats do take that for granted. You know, that — that’s where that conversation comes from, this — this idea that your immutable characteristic should drive how you think, which is, I think there is a word for that. I think it’s called “racism,” and that’s not a good thing to think.”
Responding to a tweet from Bonilla, Armando Ibarra, president of the Miami Young Republicans, called Perez a “loser” for trying to “instill a victim complex in Hispanics.”
“Hey [Perez], maybe you should send a thank you note to [President Trump] for the great job he’s doing with the economy, instead of trying to instill a victim complex in Hispanics, you loser,” Ibarra tweeted.
Hey @TomPerez, maybe you should send a thank you note to @realDonaldTrump for the great job he’s doing with the economy, instead of trying to instill a victim complex in Hispanics, you loser. https://t.co/mPv4zaqH8a
— Armando Ibarra (@aibarra) November 4, 2019
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