One hundred and fifty revolutionaries met in Los Angeles to honor political victories in California.
Hillary Clinton buried President-elect Donald Trump in California by 4,187,903 votes with over a third of those votes (1,273,484) cast in the city where the revolutionaries met. The revolutionaries celebrated 50 election victories in the “heart of darkness” with gusto.
Meeting in the city’s most venerable hotel and meeting place of the non-Hispanic White Establishment of Los Angeles (the Biltmore), one hundred and fifty political mavericks AKA political revolutionaries gathered to celebrate. They have elected over 150 candidates to political offices throughout California at the local levels of city, towns and school districts and for the first time elected a state officeholder.
The group is called Grow Elect; it is run by former Deputy Assistant to President G.W. Bush Ruben Barrales who was a statewide Republican candidate in 1998 and served as President of the Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce after his White House years. He is assisted by a young Moishe Moreno and veteran Republican consultants Luis Alvarado and Hector Barajas.
Grow Elect was formed by three Hispanic Republicans and two non-Hispanics five years ago. It has helped over 150 Hispanic Republicans run for and win California elective offices. Many were at the luncheon. It is already working to help candidates for Spring-2017 elections.
Successful men and women are entering the fray for political office and – with Grow Elect help – make their way through the maze of regulations and paperwork of filing for office, then walking door-to-door to talk with voters pinpointed in registration data provided by Grow Elect.
Men and women Hispanic Republican candidates. They are revolutionaries.
Without much official GOP help, support and funding they are stepping up in their communities and running for school boards, city halls, water districts, etc. They are motivated; they are Good Government Republicans. They are Hispanics, specifically almost all are of Mexican-origin.
When I was a little boy, there were no elected Hispanics in California. The newspaper of record, the Los Angeles Times smeared, defamed and insulted anyone or anything Mexican on a racist mission to keep Mexicans segregated and subjugated.
In 1942 it published flagrant lies about Mexicans that led to the arrest and convictions of young Mexican American men for murder in the infamous “Sleepy Lagoon” case. Without real evidence, no bail, no witness testimony and no “due process” the Times cheered the conviction of nine Mexican Americans for second degree murder.
Los Angeles was so hysterical, the police rounded up over 600 Mexican men in an effort to stop the Mexican “crime wave.” 150 were charged with assorted crimes and violations.
The murder convictions were overturned in 1944 a year after the “Sleepy Lagoon murder.” Times’ lies made convictions inexorable. The Times’ hysteria led to American soldiers, sailors and Marines rioting in Los Angeles against Mexicans. Over 150 men and women were injured.
Republican Governor Earl Warren ordered an investigation that found “an aggravating practice (of the media) to link the phrase zoot suit with the report of a crime.” His investigation concluded the riots were “racist,” egged on by the media – the Los Angeles Times. Warren went on the United States Supreme Court.
California and Warren’s Republican Party, unfortunately, were left in less benign hands. Republican Governor Pete Wilson ordered the State Party to finance an unconstitutional Proposition 187 that was passed by voters and rejected by the courts. Then came a State GOP Chairman who officially promoted anti-immigrant, anti-Mexican events. He hired a Canadian and an Australian to work for the State Party. They were not able to work legally. Surprisingly, the Chairman and the Party were busted by the feds. Establishment Republicans turned on the state GOP. What was left was taken over by people who wanted to ban Shakespeare from schools, throw out bi-lingual education and deport all Mexicans, including natural-born U.S. citizens.
Observing this was the pioneer campaign consultant who guided Hispanic-friendly Ronald Reagan as a candidate for California Governor and President – Stu Spencer. He wrote a famous memorandum in the late 1980s that recommended the Party rethink its approach to Hispanics; its population was exploding in California. Without Hispanic votes, the California Republican Party would die.
The Party ignored him and now registers only 27 percent of voters, it holds no statewide office and faces Democrat super-majorities in the legislature. He was at the luncheon. I spoke to him.
I asked the 90-year old Spencer if he remembered me from his first statewide campaign in 1962 for United States Senator Thomas Kuchel. He looked at me for a few seconds then said, “Yes.” I asked him how after over 50 years. He said, “There weren’t that many of you (Hispanics) in the party then.”
The 150 elected Hispanic Republican revolutionaries around us at the luncheon led Spencer to observe that times had changed since I worked for him 54 years ago. He was right, there weren’t many Hispanic Republican political activists then, there was just me. Few of the people around us were even born then.
Raoul Lowery Contreras is a San Diego-based columnist and the author of several books on Latino and political issues available at amazon.com.
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