Latino leader: Americans ‘cheated’ with no Hispanic debate moderator

None of the three presidential debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will feature Hispanic moderators despite the campaign’s focus on immigration and the Latino vote.
Some Latino leaders are calling the lack of representation an oversight, given the demographic group’s role in the 2016 campaign.
{mosads}”I think the American people have been cheated, certainly Hispanic American people have been cheated,” Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President Javier Palomarez told The Hill Monday. The lack of Hispanic moderators is “obvious, glaring evidence that the Hispanic community has been overlooked,” he said.
The first presidential debate will take place at Hofstra University at 9 p.m. Monday and will be moderated by NBC News anchor Lester Holt.
Debate moderators have received pressure from both presidential campaigns to maintain objectivity while holding candidates accountable for potential factual misrepresentations.
A central point of the campaign, immigration, could be particularly difficult to moderate, as Clinton and Trump proposals approach the issue from different perspectives.
Trump began his campaign in July 2015 proposing a border wall paid for by Mexico and calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” who “bring crime.”
Clinton proposes comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already in the country.
“I don’t know that [having a Hispanic moderator] would be in and of itself enough to totally change the tone, particularly given what we have seen by Trump’s performances dealing with any moderators,” said Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.).
Trump feuded with some debate moderators during the Republican primaries. In August 2015, he said Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly had “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever” after she questioned him on-stage about his previous comments about women.
Both campaigns have actively pursued the Hispanic vote, seen as crucial in Latino-heavy swing states like Colorado, Florida and Nevada. The Clinton camp is also reaching out to smaller Latino populations in tight races like Iowa, where a small percentage of voters could swing the state.
“Though immigration isn’t necessarily the number one issue Latinos care about, it does open the door to initial engagement with our community,” said Chuck Rocha, president of the consulting firm Solidarity Strategies, in an op-ed for the Huffington Post.
Palomarez said that immigration was likely to be a sticking point in the debates because Trump will have to balance appealing to voters who have responded positively to his strong rhetoric on the subject and the need to cut Clinton’s lead with the demographic.
“You don’t start your campaign in that fashion and keep it up for 10, 11 months and all of a sudden you’re enlightened and you start backing away from it. It’s too little too late, you were given many many chances to back away,” said Palomarez.
But Palomarez said the lack of a Latino moderator could help Trump “navigate the issue.”
There isn’t somebody in that panel who is Hispanic, who could ask questions in such a way that only an immigrant and a Hispanic could ask,” he said
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