“How do you like it now, gentlemen?” This phrase, attributed to Ernest Hemingway, seems particularly apt at the moment. Both sides of the political chasm dividing this country can chant it like a mantra.
Those who spent last November 9th hung over, depressed, and worried about our democracy, can point to the impending train wreck of the Trump administration. Utter incompetence, brazen conflicts of interest, investigations of corruption and even treason, dangerous military escalation from Syria to North Korea---it’s all there, in just the first 100 days.
Yet those who celebrated on that same day are heartened by the same events. For all the Chicken Little hysterics, the Republic still stands, stocks are surging, and Trump has assembled a top-flight national security team despite a few missteps. Most of all, they say that Trump has done what he was elected to do, which is shake things up.
This same ambivalence applies to Latinos. Some of us are anxious about the growing dragnet being cast over the undocumented, and the lack of Latinos in the White House. But in contrast, others point to the fact that DACA has not been rescinded, as Trump had threatened to do while a candidate, and that the nominee for Secretary of Labor is Alex Acosta, a well-qualified Cuban American.
Either way, Washington has been shaken, if not stirred, like the martinis at Mar-a -Lago. While some Latinos have a seat at the table (see Trump Takes Washington, p. 20) many of our leaders been shut out, and face the challenge of irrelevancy. This issue of LATINO goes to press a week before Cinco de Mayo, when the White House traditionally opens its doors to Latinos. A year ago, Trump tweeted about his infamous Taco Bowl, and it remains to be seen what this year’s celebration will look like.
One concern is whether this will have a chilling effect on the level of engagement for corporate America with our community. Some in the Latino nonprofit and media worlds have complained of shrinking budgets as companies seek to avoid potential controversy, or an angry tweet. But others report that business has never been better. The truth no doubt lies somewhere in between.
Regrettably, the false equivalency that tainted coverage of the campaign continues. For some pundits, Trump can do no right, even when nominating a distinguished jurist like Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. For their more conservative counterparts, all of his mistakes could have been worse, and it’s all Obama’s fault anyway. “How do you like it now, gentlemen?”
This will not change anytime soon, and so the political roller coaster of the last two years will continue. But what could quickly change is the balance of power, as both Republicans and Democrats well know. If Democrats regain the House in the 2018 midterms, as seems increasingly possible, Trump will face a blizzard of Congressional hearings that will make Benghazi seem tame, and a bleak re-election campaign if he is not impeached. But if the Republicans keep control and the economy strengthens, he could easily coast to victory. It will make for good journalism, we hope, so we’ll be watching.
Our cover features HACR president Cid Wilson with Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors, which is hosting the organization’s annual symposium in Detroit. Many thanks to them both for taking time out of their busy schedules for a photo shoot and an interview with our writer, Patricia Guadalupe. Other articles include a look at Univision, the once mighty champion of Spanish-language media, facing increased competition from its arch-rival Telemundo (p. 24). Bel Hernandez concludes that it’s time for Latinos to speak up in Hollywood (p. 32), and we present a profile of another CEO, José Ramon Mas of MasTec, by Rosemary Ravinal (p. 28). Finally, this issue includes the LATINO 100, our annual listing of the best places for Latinos to work. Gracias!
Alfredo J. Estrada