In Texas, an Emerging Problem for Democrats on the Border

first_imgMr. Trump defeated Joseph R. Biden Jr. in Texas, winning a more narrow victory than he had in 2016 but winning nonetheless. Senator John Cornyn, a Republican, won re-election. Wendy Davis lost again, one of several Democrats who tried and failed to grab Republican-controlled congressional seats. A push to flip the Texas House foundered, as Republicans held on to their majority. – Advertisement – Many residents in this part of Texas have strong Christian, anti-abortion, pro-gun and back-the-blue views that put them more in line with conservatives than liberals, and in Zapata, there is a strong sense among his supporters that Mr. Trump will bring jobs to the economically struggling region.In a brief exchange during the final presidential debate, Mr. Biden had said he would “transition from the oil industry” because of its pollution, a remark that did not go unnoticed by Zapata residents, including Yvette Gutierrez De Leon, 56, who is a secretary for an oil-field services company and who voted for Mr. Trump.“At the end of the day, in the little bit of oil field that is still left, if it goes away tomorrow our county will go away,” Ms. De Leon said. “Oil is all we have here.”Isela Gonzalez-Lindquist, 42, a saleswoman at a Laredo mattress store, said she voted for Mr. Trump even though she was opposed to his plans to extend the border wall in the area, because she believed it would hurt wildlife and infringe on the rights of property owners.“I want to convey that he is not perfect and we know that, but he is the best candidate for the job,” she said. “I like Trump’s grit and that he’s not a career politician.”James Dobbins reported from Zapata, and Manny Fernandez from Houston. David Montgomery contributed reporting from Austin, Texas. ZAPATA, Texas — Democrats spent years focusing on how they could finally win Texas. But since Tuesday’s election, they have been wrestling with a more pressing question: How did they lose Zapata County?In the reliably Democratic and majority-Hispanic stronghold of South Texas, Zapata County, population 14,179, had never been a political bellwether. It is a largely rural border community on a narrow stretch of the Rio Grande between Laredo and McAllen, home to oil-field workers and one of the highest poverty rates in Texas.- Advertisement – Mitt Romney lost Zapata County in 2012 by 43 percentage points. Donald J. Trump lost it in 2016 by 33. Ted Cruz lost it in 2018 by 26. On Tuesday, President Trump reversed many years of political history, including his own, and won Zapata County by 5 percentage points. “Why should I apologize for it? I’m not going to apologize anymore. Just because the president wants people to come into the country the right way, it doesn’t make him a racist. He’s not a racist and neither am I.”- Advertisement – Mexican-American families have called Brownsville, McAllen, Edinburg and other Rio Grande Valley cities home not for years but for generations. They identify with their Mexican roots just across the river but identify just as strongly with America. At the formal southern line of the nation, patriotism intensifies, and many an American flag waves in yards and on porches. Young Mexican-American men and women eagerly sign up to become Border Patrol agents. Often, their older relatives and neighbors worked for Border Patrol, and they are proud to do so, too, ignoring the perception of the agency among immigrant families elsewhere in the country. Many Trump voters in Zapata know one another, and they have formed an unofficial booster club and support group. It includes Ricardo Ramirez, 51, the president of a local bank branch, and Jack Moore, 45, an oil-field construction worker who said the Democrats of 50 years ago “are not the same Democrats today.”center_img These working-class and middle-class Mexican-Americans feel compassion for the Central American migrants who have been flooding the border off and on since 2014. Volunteering at migrant shelters and donating clothes and food have become Valley traditions. But many view those migrants as outsiders. The Hispanic migrant in a shelter and the Hispanic longtime Valley resident are culturally and economically disconnected. Texas is more politically and culturally complex than any one poll or election can capture. There were Houston oil-and-gas workers who voted for Mr. Trump, but many in the industry voted for Mr. Biden. There were longtime Democrats who, on the same ballot, voted for Mr. Biden and Mr. Cornyn. The president may have won Zapata County, but Mr. Cornyn lost it.If there is any one force determining how Texans vote, it is neither party nor politics. It is something that resists party labels but has helped transform Texas from a place to a cause — an ideology disguised as a brand disguised as a state. It is a cliché to say Texas is filled with mavericks, but the whole notion of mavericks belongs uniquely to Texas — the word comes from the surname of a Texas rancher and lawyer who left his calves unbranded in the late 1800s, Samuel A. Maverick.At first glance, Mr. Biden’s support in most of South Texas appears solid. He carried all four of the counties that make up the Rio Grande Valley region, next door to Zapata County. But a closer look reveals the emerging Democratic challenge on the border. Mr. Trump broadened his support in all four, plus in other border counties. In one of those communities, rural Starr County, Mrs. Clinton won in 2016 by 60 percentage points. On Tuesday, Mr. Biden carried it by just five.South Texas has long been a place where a lot of people are politically liberal but culturally conservative. The flipping of Zapata County was one of many Republican victories in a state that Mr. Trump carried. But it stunned Democrats and reflected their enduring struggle in the country’s largest conservative-led state. Not only do Democrats have a problem surging forward, they may be going backward in places.“When I was running, I’d get 85 percent in Zapata County — and Trump carried it,” said Garry Mauro, 72, a Democrat and former state land commissioner who was the chairman of the Hillary Clinton campaign in Texas in 2016. “The idea that Trump, who has been so overtly racist about Hispanics in particular, was able to do so well has got to be a failure of our party not having a message.”In the postelection aftermath, a changing Texas remained largely unchanged.- Advertisement – Updated Nov. 7, 2020, 4:37 a.m. ET “When I would tell people I helped a friend sell air fresheners in the shape of Trump’s head, I would apologize because I supported Trump,” said Anna Holcomb, 55, a Latina and former oil-field administrative assistant who lives in Zapata, the county seat. Mr. Trump’s support in that context was not surprising.“I believe that many Mexican-Americans who ordinarily vote Democratic are attracted to his personality,” said State Senator Judith Zaffirini, a Democrat who is Mexican-American and whose district includes Zapata County. “He’s very strong here. I don’t find him appealing but I’m fascinated by his appeal to so many Texans.”The town of Zapata lies along five traffic lights on Highway 83.Halloween decorations, hay bales and pumpkins were still up on a highway plaza in the aftermath of the election this week. Payday loan, auto parts and pawn shops outnumber gas stations and restaurants. The gentle western slope down to the Rio Grande gives residents spectacular sunsets and views of Mexico. In town and on the more rural roads around the county, where Border Patrol agents can be seen on hilltops gazing through binoculars across the river, there were an equal number of Trump signs and Biden signs.Two of the few orchestrated Trump events in Zapata happened in September, when stickers and signs were handed out at a local restaurant and a “Trump Train” caravan rode through town.But they did not draw huge crowds, and even now, some people who supported him said they feared retaliation for speaking out.last_img read more


first_imgIndependent political activist Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig has today issued a further statement on the issue of the Irish Language and government outsourcing.The well-kwnon campaigner claimed yesterday that resources at the NCT centre in Gaoth Dobhair were not adequate to deal with people looking to have their business done in Irish.However the Department of Transport said it had made provisions so that anyone who wanted their NCT to be done through Irish could do so upon request. Mr Mac Giolla Easbuig said ‘There appears to be some confusion over my position on this issue. Let’s be clear here, I am not attacking workers in the Gweedore NCT centre, I am highlighting the issue of this Government’s mealy mouthed approach to the preservation of our language.‘I spoke this morning with workers in the centre to reassure them of this. I have spoken today also to officials within Roinn na Gaeltachta, who have confirmed for me that companies awarded government outsourcing contracts are not bound by the Official Languages Act.“Therefore these private companies are under no obligation to provide service in our native tongue in Gaeltacht areas, or indeed to up-skill workers that would like to be able to communicate in Irish with the consumer’‘In my mind one of the most important aspects of the language’s preservation is its use in day to day interactions, the statement from the RSA misses that point, it pays the usual lip service to Gaeltacht areas but lacks reality and practicality. ‘I believe there should be a strong policy in this area to help preserve the everyday use of the language and it takes all government departments to buy into this, not just Udaras and Roinn na Gaeltachta The soft words and platitudes about our language don’t sit well with the truth of Fine Gael privitisation ideology,” said Mac Giolla Easbuig.ROAD SAFETY AUTHORITY ONLY PAYING LIP-SERVICE TO IRISH LANGUAGE – CLAIM was last modified: August 23rd, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Having a Baby? These Are Just Some of the Expenses

first_imgThe average national daycare rate for one child is over $200 per week, while an au pair or nanny rings in at $367 and $565 each week, respectively. We’ll be breaking this costs down in a post soon.  So now that you have all the info, you have the choice to either set aside part of your budget in the months leading up to baby or live on a tighter budget after the baby is born. Take some time to figure out your baby budget so that you don’t pile up debt down the road.    Will one of us be a stay-at-home parent? How will the working parent(s) contribute to childcare? Whether you’re planning to get pregnant or already there, there are financial expenses you should be thinking about that will affect your day-to-day cash flow.  These little bundles of joy are priceless, but expensive. If you aren’t constantly telling your money what to do before the month begins, now is the perfect time to start.  The truth is, there are so many factors and variables to having a baby — it’s hard to even make a ballpark estimate of what the total cost will be especially they days, when some parents never totally cut the cord from this financial commitment. But just because you can’t plan everything doesn’t mean you should not plan what you can.  I’m four weeks away from meeting my baby, here’s where to start and what to expect when you ‘re expecting. Ready… set, baby!  Pre-Baby Expenses Figuring out the cost associated with having a baby can get pretty confusing—and it all starts before the baby even enters the world! Between your prenatal checkups, baby essentials and even a new wardrobe to dress that growing belly, things can add up quickly if you’re not careful. Here are a some pre-baby expenses to include in your budget before your bundle of joy even gets here. Medical bills Medical bills are extremely hard to pin down. Both pregnancy and birth require a lot of medical attention. Meaning– you won’t be charged for the birth alone. The pregnancy itself is filled with costs that require numerous doctor’s visits, from checkups to ultrasounds, tests and procedures and lab work … it really adds up. You’ll want to make sure you have enough financial cushion before you decide to have a child. How much? According to my calculations with prenatal care, ultrasounds, doctor’s visits, childing birthing classes, prenatal massages and workouts — I’ve paid about $6k out of pocket, just to get me to the birth. The best thing you can do is contact your insurance provider and get as much info as you can. Ask questions like: 1) Which care providers are in your network? 2) What procedures are covered and what are not? 3) How much will I likely have to pay out of pocket? You really want to avoid huge medical bills so get all the answers to the questions you can. Knowing your plan ahead of time will help you be fully prepared for any surprises that might come up. Here’s something to expect: Assume you’re going to pay your full yearly deductible during your pregnancy and first year of babies pediatric care. Obviously there’s not a whole lot you can skip out on with medical expenses, but when it comes to things like maternity clothes, onesies, the nursery, car seats and cribs— you can be a minimalist and just focus on the necessities. This is where hand me downs, family, friends and bargain shopping can come really handy. Maternity wardrobe One way to save money? Don’t buy new clothes every time the season changes. That’s a no brainer, but when growing a tiny human for the next nine months, you need to shop for clothes. It is an actual need. That said, you don’t necessarily need expensive designer maternity jeans (they are a thing). Here are some ways to stay comfortable and stylish while sticking to your budget. Shop your closet. Believe it or not, you already have a lot of things in your own closet you can wear throughout your pregnancy. Maxi dresses, stretchy skirts, flowy shirts, blazers, cardigans and sweaters can all be worn as your baby bump grows.Buy non-maternity items. Maternity clothing is marked up just because it’s labeled maternity wear! They really play on your emotions just like every other milestone in life. I bought a few maternity jeans with stretch but for the rest of the items, I purchased non-maternity items that I can wear after pregnancy, just a few sizes up. I also went on a spree when I saw items were on sale, and ended up saving a lot of money. Borrow! Borrowing your sister’s or friends previously loved maternity wardrobe is perfectly fine. Every piece of clothing you borrow is more money you get to keep in your budget.Buy consignment or pre owned maternity clothes. On Facebook, there are groups that connect local moms where you can often find free clothes and toys since kids outgrow items so quickly. If you take the time to plan, you can save a lot of money. Post navigationcenter_img Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) RelatedHow to Financially Survive the First Year: Tips for Budgeting for a New BabyJuly 31, 2019In “Family Finances”How to Budget for Living on Your Own for the First TimeJune 15, 2016In “Budgeting”How to Prepare for Unpaid Parental LeaveJuly 23, 2019In “Family Finances” Baby Gear The first step is deciding which things are essential and which are just nice-to-have. Remember don’t splurge on items that will have a short shelf life. This baby will be wearing these for like a week. So far I’ve spent about $400 on baby clothes thanks to generous friends and family and a baby shower registry. For the first few months, you’ll want the baby in your bedroom and close to you—and that means you’ll probably need a bassinet. Since you’ll only have the baby in the bassinet for a few months, don’t spend an arm and a leg on the cutesy bassinet. Borrow one instead! Some companies also offer renting.  You’ll shell out about $2,000 for a nursery set, including the crib, changing table, rocker, and dresser. Luckily, you can buy used cribs and strollers, but whatever you do, don’t forget  a new car seat! Never purchase a used car seat, there is no way to tell if it has been damaged and become unsafe.  Pro tip: They won’t even let you bring the baby home if you don’t have a car seat properly installed! Factor in about $200 for a car seat. The average cost for a stroller is $600. Average total cost of baby gear: $72.00–$443.00 To save money, check out a stroller travel system, which is a stroller plus an infant car seat, usually with a base that makes it easy to get baby in and out of the car.  Delivery Expenses Once you make it through all of your checkups, it’s time to bring your baby into the world. But before introductions can be made, you’ve got a few additional expenses to cover. Here’s a stat a 2016 study showed that in NYC a natural birth cost between $4-17k; and in Los Angeles  a cesarean birth cost between $6k-$42,000. Post-Baby Expenses Diapers are a need, but baby a baby warming wipe? Not so much. Remember: You don’t have to buy everything brand new. Formula Now time to feed baby. The average baby will consume about 30 oz of breast milk or formula a day. So we’re looking at a large number here. On average, the cost of feeding a newborn formula for the first year of life is an estimated $1,733.75.  Families who breastfeed can save between $1,200 to $1,500 in the first year alone, according to the U.S. surgeon general. But between pumps, consultants, increased appetite, etc., it most certainly is NOT free. Food Make your own baby food! You’re probably thinking, Aint nobody got time for that? We get it! Just remember  pureeing your own sweet potatoes will save you money. Diapers  The average baby goes through six to 10 diapers a day, which, according to the National Diaper Bank Network, can set you back $70 to $80 per month, or about $900 a year.  Budgeting for Baby It’s no secret that having a baby is expensive. In fact, for a baby who was born in 2017, parents could expect to spend an average of $14,260 each year. Ouch!  Child care can be very expensive, in fact most people worry about this the most. If you and your significant other both work, then child care will be a big conversation. Childcare and work responsibilities are two major issues that parents must discuss before the baby arrives. Here are some things to discuss:  How much leave will each of us take after the baby arrives? How much paid and unpaid time off do our employers offer?last_img read more