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tv   20th Century Spanish- Speaking Vote  CSPAN  March 31, 2019 1:50pm-2:11pm EDT

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>> i'm just a small-town lawyer. >> national guard, served in afghanistan. >> in the donald's franchisee for 32 years. >> i have a fascination with the idea of finding answers to questions. >> i had been in the position for all the rest of my life. >> my dad is a lifelong republican who never voted for a democrat. he voted for me. live monday morning. join the discussion. >> western carolina university professor benjamin francis talks about the spanish-speaking vote in the 20 century. he describes a group with distinct interests and voting patterns and outlines how the republican party sentiment -- democrat parties reported in different constituencies. this 15 minute interview was recorded at the annual american historical association meeting.
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>> professor benjamin francis fallon talks about the spanish speaking vote in the 20th century. -- >> professor benjamin francis fallon studies and teaches this. let's talk about the hispanic vote. is it a monolithic group? >> no, definitely not. the history of the hispanic vote is one of steadily trying to add to people, people that saw themselves quite the family in national origin terms, for example, mexican-americans, puerto ricans, cubans, the whole project if you will is one of trying to bring very different peoples together into some kind of coalition or consensus about what they all stood for and it has been a project that has stood over the years and revealed to be a very diverse internally. definitely not.
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but that has always been one of the ambitions of the people that propel hispanic politics, that there should be this unity of people who are fundamentally so much alike that they ought to act as one. it has been a distance between the ambition of architects of let politics and the reality of people with very different origins and experiences. >> generally speaking, if you look at cuban americans, especially in florida, they tended to vote republican. mexican-americans generally tend to vote democratic. why is that? >> socialization involving these groups in the united states has been different. the cubans are always -- as a counterpoint, the outlier in the latino constituency. their arrival happened at a very different time and under distinctly different circumstances.
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they came from the caribbean. if you go back, cuban-americans have a different trajectory and in many ways stay away from the other large latino mexican-american groups. they have sort of different issues and are much more involved in foreign policy as a concern and their primary focus was on returning to cuba and doing away with castro, where is mexican-americans and puerto ricans had concerns that were much more like but distinct from african-americans. concerns that related to being minority populations in the united states of america. concerns about urban poverty, concerns about access to jobs and quality education. they were kept on very different tracks for a long time when democrats did alright with cubans initially, the cubans were not big voters yet, they were expecting a good turn, by the 70's with the republican party particularly, the advance of conservatism was that conservative -- cubans found a real home in that position in the 1970's.
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>> where do you go to research the topic and what are the major benchmarks you are looking at? >> because we are talking about communities from across the country, communities of east los angeles, rural counties in northern new mexico, the west side of san antonio, the south bronx in new york, different communities that have their own sort of local histories throughout most of the 20th century's. cubans arriving in the late 50's
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through to the present day, going to all of those places is the key to understanding how local latino political communities identified themselves and what they thought of the political parties and their areas. also a look at the presidential archives, the presidential election is where the hispanic vote, if it exists, is manifest, because this is an effort, the presidential campaign since 1960 , revolved around in listing the kind of national latino electorate. at the national level, at the level of u.s. presidents, we see attempts to organize these various distinct latino constituencies into something kind of manageable and usable for themselves. >> breaking it down, how have the parties attempted to court and wu? woo? >> republicans, so republicans, tracing this back to the 1960's, democrats were in office in the presidency. democrats primary minority concern was how to satisfy and
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mobilize african american civil rights movement. republicans began to identify in mexican-americans specifically a group that was disenchanted with their status within the democratic party, which seemed to be to some mexican-americans primarily concerned with black interests. so a number of prominent republicans from the southwest in the 1960's, barry goldwater, the arizona conservative, john tower, a republican senator from texas, and ronald reagan, made strong it feels to mexican-americans on the basis of his sense of racial victimization and that they have legitimate concerns around discrimination and inclusion in the democratic party and they offered, republicans did, a chance to hold out the prospect
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of a better deal from republicans. to some degree, putting african-americans in their place. by the time of richard nixon, republicans were in office when nixon was sworn in and nixon had to figure out what am i going to do for these people that we spent the 1960's saying we would do much better for you. republicans maintained a certain element of racial polarization, that is they pitted mexican-americans, especially, and african-americans in context with one another. they also added more positive programs for the initiation of affirmative-action programs in the federal civil service to provide new levels of access to white-collar employment. primarily for mexican-americans. they also articulated and elaborated on nuclear programs for small business aid. trying to aid latino
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entrepreneurs. mexican-americans and cuban-americans especially tried to be cultivated in the middle class of those communities around the idea that discrimination was sure a thing but individuals who worked hard to find support from the federal government for their own upward mobility. >> what about the democrats? >> they had a different set of constituents. throughout the 1960's the challenge for democrats was how to balance the insurgent black movement and how to balance the demands of black civil rights with what mexican-americans were feeling were their own civil
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rights concerns. so, finding ways of including mexican-americans and, to a degree, puerto rican civil rights, the war on poverty, these were the challenges for democrats and they didn't particularly do a fantastic job of managing those things. in part, because, they found a certain benefit in having mexican-americans and african-americans not uniting against them. there was a certain benefit ship -- benefit in playing those constituencies against each other. >> cesar chavez pushed for equality for migrant workers. did that in any way play into the politics of the time? >> it certainly did. for democrats the challenge was how to sort of respect the cultural -- of the sort of cultural respect and determination with the autonomy coursing through the black community and the mexican-american community and puerto ricans. with respect to civil rights and the cultural particularities of those immunities, hanging onto some of the core principles of the new deal that goes around economic justice, broad programs built around everyone being an american. the farmworker insurgency plays
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a role particularly in the state of california that at the national level the farmworker program was influential in the 72 democratic party platform, the mcgovern candidacy, a very left liberal candidacy, and what it showed is that there was this moment for democrats were not from latino communities, but also find ago way to square that with the need to develop and economic program that would appeal to working class people more broadly. that let's lost a bit throughout the 1970's, but there are these moments when the culture and classes of the democratic party worked together, though not spectacularly at the ballot box. >> i want to address this
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issue. if you go to an a.t.m. or express check out, it is english or spanish. we have become really a bilingual society. is that a good or bad thing today? terms of how far we have come? >> i haven't studded it particularly, but i think it is an element of realism. whether good or bad, people speak spanish in society and to accommodate them is probably good business for moat of these companies that do that. it is a bisque level of respect that communities have for a long time fought for, not just in the business realm, but certainly in politics. we know in 1965 the great voting rights act, which was seen by most people in the united states as sort of a victory for african-american the. it contained a little-known provision that honored puerto ricans access to the ballot by making their ability to be literate in the english language not disqualifying for access to the ballot.
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new york state had a literacy test into the 1960's. that is just one example of the many ways in which english language -- or access to sort of inclusion in society around language issues was always a kind of a political issue. >> what is your message here? >> something that pertains to my scholarship? >> in your research. >> read my back. i don't know. they should continue to dot work they are doing to show the complexities in latino communities and do the work that society doesn't always get the chance to do because there is this portrayal of a latino monolith. they are doing a good job of excavating and discovering the nuances, but also examininged ways that there are efforts to
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bring together people from these diverse communities. >> how did you research your book, and what intrigued you the most? >> i went around the united states of america toed places where the first latino congressman came. san i went to los angeles, antonio. to the place in new mexico where american senators have come. from i researched in the archives in new york and in washington, d.c., looking for points of connection among communities that had historically seen themselves and different but ever brought into con tact with one another. >> in the classroom with students, what are the most common questions? war they asking you? >> i teach other things as well, but when i do teach, this
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i think students are generally surprised because they, like much of the population, threes our students, have not seen this kind of texture or nuance in latino communities. the label has been effective at ort of homogenizing or standardizing them. >> which is not the case. >> when. grandmother ne, my is cuban, and they doesn't like puerto ricans. you are trying to figure out why, and you find there is a tremendous amount of cizikas that people feel among themselves. and that is ok. art of my job as a teach is to introduce students to some of those cizikases, but also ways in which, for better or worse, american politics has brought these communities together and has cut sort of a channel for their participation and to some
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degree, many of these communities are kind of stuck with one another in finding out ways to build meaningful coalitions, finding out ways to defend their ways and collective. >> on this topic, do you have another project make in the works or in the back of your mind, maybe another book or essay? >> sure. i am always interested in immigration, and i think it is ally a book that appreciates the various ways in which both liberals and conservatives have fought over the question of immigration and shaped each other's strategies and brought it to this present day, is what i would like to do next. >> we look forward to that research. benjamin fallon now teaching at western carolina university, native of rochester, new york. thank you for being with you. >> thank you so murphy. i appreciate it. >> you are watching "american history tv" all weekend every weekend on c-span 3. to joined conversation, like us
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on facebook @c-span history. >> once tv was simply three giant networks and a government supported service bald pbs. then in 1979 a small knelt work with an unusual name rolled out a big idea. let viewers decide all on their own what was important to them. c-span opened the doors to washington policy making for all toe see, bringing you unfiltered content from congress and beyond. in the age of power to the people, this was true people power. in the 40 years since, the landscape has clearly changed. there is no monolithic media. broadcasting has given way to narrow casting. youtube stars are a think. but c-span's big idea is more relevant today than ever. no government money supports c-span. 's non-patterson coverage of washed is a it was by your satellite service or provider. c-span is a function for you of
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your government so you can make up your own mind. >> sunday on reel america, fall-out from three-mile island, a cbs reports documentary that investigated the partial melt-down at the three-mile island power plant near harrisburg, pent on march 28th, 1979. here is a preseason. >> m.i.t. physicist henry kindle. ed worst thing that could have happened at that reactor would have been to have the core get out of control and overheat with soaring temperatures, mehmet down through the structures of the reactor into the ground with some risk ofed building rupturing or some people of the building giving way. if that had happened, there would have been a very large release of radioactivity to the air, and it would have been blown by the winds along the ground, and it could have brought radiation exposure at very serious levels, lethal
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levels, at distances of dozens of miles, perhaps 20 or 30 miles. it could have caused radiation sicknesses down wind to distances of 60 or 70 miles. >> hundreds of reporters were in harrisburg last month, among them the cbs crews coveringed minute by minute developments at three mile island. it became quickly evident that the power play accident would continue to be a story, with implications long after the crisis was resolved. so in the mid steph the document, cbs reports dispatched depoument area teams not only to harrisburg, but to the white house, texas and connecticut, to examined implications of the three mile island accident not evident at the time. we talked to many of the key players both during the crisis and immediately after. and as we watched, a disturbing pattern emerged. all those who should have had the answers all seemed trapped in an endless and frightening search for the facts.
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>> richard thornberg has been governor less than three month when he began to confront the possibility of a nuclear catastrophe. it was the worst accident in the history of the nuclear industry. when the first call came in to thornberg at 8:00 a.m. wednesday morning march 28th, no one suggested the dimensions of the problem. two hours later, the lieutenant governor was so reshured by the operate or, metropolitan edison, that he announced that everything was under control. but then in that same afternoon in a spot check at the state capital, the governor's own inspectors picked up abnormalal readings of radiation. the search for truth was under way. >> watch the hour long investigation on three mild island this afternoon at 4:00 p.m. eastern. only on "american history tv."
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next on "american history tv," you u.s. army war college professor tillman biddle discuss the challenges the powers faced. we hear how the united states and great britain responded to foreign and domestic problems and how that eventually enabled them to win the war in 1945. the new york military affairs symposium hosted this talk in new york city. it's an hour and 50 minutes. >> she is currently director of the college's theory of war and strategy course. before coming to the war college she taught in the department of history of duke university, where she was a core faculty member of the duke

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