Here’s some video, and a few comments by yours truly, on today’s Latinos con Hillary rally in Arlington, featuring Sen. Tim Kaine. Also speaking were former Arlington County Board member Walter Tejada (the master of ceremonies), Del. Alfonso Lopez and Del. Eileen Filler-Corn. I’d say there were at least 100 people in attendance at the Salsa Room on Columbia Pike in support of Hillary Clinton, with just over 72 hours until polls close in Virginia on Super Tuesday (March 1).
First, here’s video of Walter Tejada kicking off the event, leading the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to “Ready for Hillary” co-founder Allida Black, and introducing others in the crowd, like Virginia Deputy Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Jaime Areizaga-Soto and Arlington County Board candidate Erik Gutshall.
Next, here’s Del. Eileen Filler-Corn emphasizing that we shouldn’t take Tuesday for granted, that a lot of people don’t even know that this coming Tuesday is Virginia’s Democratic primary. Filler-Corn argued that Hillary Clinton has the experience needed to be president, that she’s tough but compassionate, that she’s been fighting for kids and health care for years
Next is Del. Alfonso Lopez, talking about how he’s the first Latino Democrat elected to Virginia’s General Assembly and how great that, but also how far we have to go, with Latinos making up 8.7% of the Virginia population. Lopez said: “We don’t want the ugly, divisive rhetoric from the Republican Party about building a wall, and people who are Latino being thieves and criminals…that’s ugly and it’s not who we are as a country. Hillary Clinton believes in the promise of what American can be…Are we about hope, are we about the future, or are we about divisive politics? We’re about hope and the future!”
Introducing Tim Kaine as the next speaker, Walter Tejada emphasized that the margin of victory in Virginia elections is often small, thus the importance of the Latino community coming out and voting Democratic. Tejada said that Tim Kaine is a “personal inspiration to me…a great friend” and “an honorary Latino.”
Finally, here’s Tim Kaine’s speech – in both English and fluent Spanish. Among other things, Kaine had an interesting riff on how in Honduras, the word “listo” meant not just “ready,” but also “prepared,” “passionate,” “reliable,” “you could count on them” and “they wouldn’t let you down.” So, he asked, “how many people are LISTO para Hillary?” On this same theme, Kaine also argued that Hillary Clinton is “listo” — prepared, compassionate, a fighter, also has the backbone to stand up to opposition in the campaign and beyond. “Her values are our values.”
Kaine talked about Hillary’s lifelong fight for young people, families, women, pre-k education and opportunity for everyone. On health care, Kaine noted that Hillary didn’t give up after losing in the early 1990s, but pushed to expand health care for every American child (SCHIP).
Kaine talked about how he likes and respects Bernie Sanders, but that Sanders voted against comprehensive immigration reform – and that’s a big contrast with Hillary Clinton. Also, Kaine argued that Hillary has been “rock solid” on gun safety and Sanders “not so much.” Kaine noted that Hillary was on the Armed Services Committee, and that her understanding of the military and also diplomacy will serve her well as Commander in Chief. According to Kaine, President Obama named Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State, the “face of American diplomacy, because she could walk into any room in the world and immediately have the respect of any leader in any country.”
Kaine ripped Donald Trump for disparaging the U.S. military as a “disaster.” “So wait a minute, you are running to be Commander in Chief of the American military – and that is composed of 1.6 million young men and women who are volunteering to serve in a time of war – but you talk about them with contempt and disrespect in your voice? I want a Commander in Chief who when they talk about the military and military families will talk about them with respect and gratitude in their voice.”
Kaine also stressed that Clinton knows how to get results. He pointed out that 40 Democratic U.S. Senators have endorsed Hillary Clinton, not because they’re the “establishment,” but because some great people — Tammy Baldwin (an “internationally recognized LGBT activist”), Sherrod Brown (“every bit as tough on Wall Street and big banks as Bernie is”) – but because they know Hillary Clinton is someone who can get results – immigration, income inequality, equal pay for equal work, student loan debt, etc. – as president.
With regard to the Latino community, Kaine said it doesn’t realize how much power it has politically — 290,000 Latino adults are eligible to vote in Virginia, and all the last major races in Virginia have been decided by fewer votes than that. According to Kaine, after Tuesday, the primaries won’t be over, but we’ll know that “Hillary will be our candidate.”
As for the general election, Kaine predicted that it will be close, in part because it’s very hard in the U.S. for women to get elected — “we are 75th in the world,” behind Iraq, Afghanistan, Rwanda, and other countries in the percent of women in our federal legislature, for instance. So, we have to “work like underdogs” between now and November. Kaine also predicted that the Republican nominee will rely on superPACs to make this election super negative, to discourage people from voting, and “the only chance that we will lose this race is if they lower the participation and lower the energy and lower the enthusiasm and lower the turnout” through negativity and voting restrictions. “You are standing between a campaign of negativity and falsehood and low participation and a true small-d democratic campaign that will sweep Hillary to victory.”
P.S. As Kaine spoke, I kept thinking that he’s effectively auditioning to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate, and that his ability to connect with Latinos – in fluent Spanish – certainly can’t hurt him in a potentialy competition with Julian Castro (not to mention the fact that Kaine has enormous experience (as a Mayor, Lt. Governor, Governor, U.S. Senator, domestic and foreign policy…), is ready to be Vice President – or President, if it ever came to that – right now.