The election of Donald Trump caught everyone by surprise. Leaving aside the unprecedented nature of his candidacy, polling aggregators had pegged his chances at 20 percent, at the most optimistic. Exactly how Trump managed to beat the odds is still being examined and debated, but it seems clear that a substantial shift in the behavior of blue-collar and rural whites was key to his victory.
Controversial even then, the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed in 1992 and went into effect in 1994, gradually eliminating most tariffs and other trade barriers on products and services circulating between Mexico, Canada and the U.S.
It has been a while since a strikingly populist candidate has been a major contender in a presidential election in the United States. Many think of William Jennings Bryan, the three-time nominee of the democratic party at the end of the 1800s, as one of the only other strongly populist presidential candidates in American history (Ramone, 2010). President Trump’s campaign can fairly be described as populist through his rhetoric against the elites on Capitol Hill, his appeal to working class voters, and most importantly his outsider status as a non-politician.
As of the beginning of February, Argentina has made changes to its immigration policies that call into question its reputation as a nation that welcomes foreigners.
As one of his final acts as president, and as part of his effort to thaw relations with Cuba, Barack Obama officially ended America’s Wet Foot, Dry Foot policy. This 22-year old mandate granted asylum to Cubans who landed on US soil, allowing them to become legal permanent residents after one year. Cubans intercepted in the ocean coming to the US were apprehended and returned to Cuba. Although beneficial to Cubans fleeing their homeland, this policy was seen as a way to subvert the Cuban government.
On December 2, the Center for Latin American Studies hosted a panel discussion focusing on how the death of Fidel Castro will affect Cuba and the region as a whole. The event was entitled “The Legacy of Fidel and the Future of Cuba”.
Preceding the 2016 presidential election in the United States pollsters worldwide comfortably sat back after declaring that the country, without a doubt, would be seeing its first Madame President. Much of the strength in these predictions came from a firm belief that (now) President-Elect Donald J. Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric would motivate Latino voters, especially in the important swing-state of Florida, to mobilize behind the Democratic party and Hillary Clinton.
On the campaign trail, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump made a lot of big claims in regards to immigration. Among those promises were the infamous wall on the border between Mexico and the U.S., which spurred hundreds of thousands of his supporters to chant “Build that wall!” over the course of his campaign.
“Conceptually, we may call truth what we cannot change; metaphorically, it is the ground on which we stand and the sky that stretches above us.”
— Hannah Arendt, “Truth and Politics”
This past week the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Latin American Studies was excited to host a discussion led by its director Scott Morgenstern titled “Latinos & the US Election.” The presentation explored Latino voting trends, how they are influenced, and - what everybody is wondering about - its potential impact on Tuesday’s election. The following is a summary of dialogue that ensued.