PHILADELPHIA — A major media story this week has been that the Democratic Party is in “disarray”, but as the delegate vote counted down to cementing Hillary Clinton’s official nomination as the Democratic candidate and as Bernie Sanders threw his support behind Clinton, Latino elected officials on both East and West coast celebrated the historical moment together.
Ricardo Lara is a State Senator from California and Carlos Menchaca is a Council member in New York City, and both raised a glass to Hillary Clinton with cheers and support. Xavier Becerra, a Congressman from Los Angeles and the Chairman of the House Democrats Caucus, joined in celebration with Lara and Menchaca and showed enthusiastic support for the nomination.
When asked about the disagreements within the Democrats and if it hurt their ability to elect Hillary Clinton in November, both Lara and Menchaca described the conflict as a family disagreement. “I am so proud of our party,” said Lara, “ we welcome everyone that doesn't discriminate and welcomes different points of view.”
Rather than resentment, Lara said he was thankful that Sanders provided a voice within the party to remind them of their progressive roots. “We respect Sanders and he has done such a great job of moving our party in a more progressive way,” said Lara.
Ultimately, Lara said that Sander’s voice has made Hillary Clinton a better candidate and has greatly improved her appeal to voters. “Sanders has made Hillary a better candidate,” he said.
Carlos Menchaca is a city council member in New York City and agreed with Lara. “This is a party that brings LGBTQ,, immigrants, climate change within the lens of racial justice in our black, brown, and Asian communities. That's our family.”
As members of the LGBTQ community, both Lara and Mechaca have been at the forefront of opening the party to greater acceptance of those issues. When asked about Hillary Clinton’s past opposition to gay marriage, Menchaca acknowledged her record, but pointed out that Clinton has evolved on the issue and now stands firmly on the side of the LGBTQ community.
“The thing about shifts and where people land, and she has landed on our side,” said Menchaca. “That is the most important thing about this process and she will fight for us,” he said.