Telemundo analyst and former Univision anchor Maria Elena Salinas joined MSNBC Live guest host Chris Jansing and Neera Tanden of Think Progress in Miami on Thursday to offer some thoughts on Wednesday's Democratic debate. During the segment one could hardly tell the difference between the liberal activist and the one who claims to be a journalist.
Jansing led with the widely circulated photo of Oscar Martinez and his daughter and a clip from Wednesday's debate regarding the photo and immigration. After the clip, Salinas declared that, "Donald Trump hasn't just -- is not only criminalizing, but he's also demonizing and dehumanizing immigrants." Of course, Trump hasn't criminalized anything, crossing the border without authorization has been illegal since way before Trump became president, which is why Julian Castro wants to get rid of Section 1325. As for, "demonizing and dehumanizing" we know that the poor conditions at the border did not begin in January 2017.
After some clips from the spin room featuring Castro and Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, Jansing asked what Salinas and Tanden. Salinas joked that, "What I'm looking for is who is going to try to speak Spanish." Amidst the laughter Jansing brought up Marianne Williamson's tweet about having to learn Spanish by Thursday night.
As the laughter died down, however, Salinas offered a more serious take, or at least one that she intended to be taken seriously, "By speaking Spanish I think that they're showing that they care." Salinas then seemed to use the Democratic trick of implying that Hispanics are a monolithic group who are all on the left, "they want to hear some policies that actually benefit them, including immigration, including the economy, including healthcare."
The Spanish speaking was obviously a way to pander, that Cory Booker's reaction to Beto's bilingual opening statement instantly became a meme. In 2016, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz spoke Spanish at a debate and just about everybody either laughed or cringed at them, certainly nobody from Univision said that their Spanish-speaking skills showed they "cared."
Here is a transcript from the June 27 show:
MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin
11:19 AM ET
CHRIS JANSING: And you know you had this -- this photo of Oscar Martinez and his young daughter Angie Valeria who drowned, and it was sort of the heartbeat, I think, that was overhanging this debate.
NEERA TANDEN: Absolutely.
JANSING And often these debates are about who can connect, right? And on an emotional level, on an empathetic level, this, I think, was one of those moments where people could try to really do that. I want to just show a sample when they were asked about this of how a couple of the people responded.
JANSING: I wondered as I watched that, Maria Elena, if this viscerally is more important that maybe is more important than a lot of people are talking about. Because when I go out and talk to voters return including some Republican voters, they think that's what Donald Trump has been missing, among other things, is the empathy, the understanding. Not just on this issue, but more. What was your take on that whole conversation last night?
MARIA ELENA SALINAS: Donald Trump hasn't just -- is not only criminalizing, but he's also demonizing and dehumanizing immigrants. And I think it's that rhetoric that has so many people in the Latino community, and in general not only the Latino community very upset because it's not only attacking undocumented immigrants with that kind of rhetoric, I think it affects all of the Latino community. What was interesting last night with this debate is that Julian Castro is really the only one who has spelled out with what his policy would be. I think they all have shown empathy. Even Republicans have shown empathy. But he is one who made it a little bit clearer what it is that he wants to do.
JANSING: What are you looking for tonight? And Joe Biden is going to be on the stage. So, to both of you, what are you look for in terms of the tone and tenor? Will it be different than last night.
SALINAS: What I'm looking for is who is going to try to speak Spanish.
JANSING: Did you see Marianne Williamson's tweet? She said “I'm going to have to learn Spanish anybody overnight.”
SALINAS: I think that was one of the surprises yesterday. I think what it showed is that immigration is an issue that is not only for Latinos, it's a topic -- it's a mainstream topic and just how important the Latino vote is. By speaking Spanish I think that they're showing that they care, of course it’s not enough for Latino voters, they want to hear some policies that actually benefit them, including immigration, including the economy, including healthcare. So I want to see if anyone's going to try to speak Spanish but I do think that there's going to be more action, more attacks tonight because you have four of the top five front runners on the same stage tonight.