Hillary Clinton's "Abuela" Post Completely Misses The Mark, & No, She Is #NotMyAbuela
Following the announcement that Chelsea Clinton is expecting her second child, her parents took to social media to express their excitement and support. The Clintons have made family a major focus of not only their political ideals but their philanthropic efforts with the Clinton Foundation. Hillary Clinton's campaign published a post entitled "7 ways Hillary Clinton is just like your abuela" to not only commemorate the Democratic presidential candidate's love of grandparenting, but attempt to reach Latino voters in a clever, light-hearted way. The execution fell flat, however, and Hillary Clinton's in trouble with Latino voters, who are calling the move insulting and pandering.
The post included frequent references to "respeto" (respect) and concluded with a photo of the former secretary of state and singer Marc Anthony. But it says little about issues pertinent to Latino voters save for a lone GIF, in which Clinton says any parents would be proud of DREAMers. The list sparked outrage and spawned the hashtag #NotMyAbuela, created by journalist Mathew Rodriguez. Rodriguez's tweets pick up where Latino Rebels left off regarding Clinton's tactics. The Latino-focused site had called her out in Oct. for similar tactics. Latino Rebels even offers up an origin for that Marc Anthony photo — the candidate was brought out during a concert in Miami in which Anthony compared her to family, presumably to further reach Latino voters.
I had previously praised Hillary for her efforts to become more connected to Latino voters in meaningful ways when she first announced her candidacy. This recent development, however, feels like a major regression from a candidate whose actual views on important issues like immigration are incredibly robust and informed. Speaking at a recent National Immigrant Integration Conference, Hillary vowed to carry the torch of President Obama's efforts toward helping immigrants find an uncomplicated path to citizenship. She is looking to extend DAPA and close immigration detention centers among other policies, though voters wouldn't know that by the looks of the "7 ways Hillary Clinton is just like your abuela" post.
As a Latina — really, as a voter seeking real information on candidates and not just poise and presentation — I find it really frustrating that a candidate would reduce part of my culture into superficial tropes and Spanglish. I know that my experience as a Latina is unique, as is my identification with my own heritage. I also realize that this, in part, pulls my focus toward very specific issues. Hearing more of what Hillary has to say about immigration, equal pay, and worker's rights makes me feel far more connected to the candidate; not efforts like this. Even those who may agree with Hillary on such issues may feel less compelled to vote for her, in part, because of such an insubstantial, pandering post. The candidate's campaign team missed the mark and may have damaged her reputation with Latino voters rather than helping it.