Latinos reject Clinton campaign, saying: “You’re not my grandma”

Widespread condemnation on social networks of attempt to appeal to Hispanic voters

Silvia Ayuso
One of the internet parodies to emerge after Clinton’s “abuela” campaign.
One of the internet parodies to emerge after Clinton’s “abuela” campaign.Latino Rebels

Being a grandmother was always one of Hillary Clinton’s dreams, maybe even more so than being president of the United States.

She has brought both dreams together more than once. In order to show her more human side, the Democratic candidate to the White House has not hesitated to proclaim her love and concern for her granddaughter Charlotte, who is a little over one year old, during her campaigning.

But many US Hispanics feel that Clinton has gone too far this time. When her daughter Chelsea announced earlier this week that the candidate would be a grandma for the second time, her team attempted to attract the Latino vote by comparing Hillary Clinton to Hispanic “abuelitas.”

Given the degree of rejection expressed on social media, it seems clear that Hispanics do not appreciate people using their abuelitas for campaigning purposes.

“Seven ways in which Hillary Clinton is like your abuela,” was the original title of a December 21 post on the nominee’s campaign blog. The post, which has since been slightly modified, was written by a Hispanic aide to Clinton’s campaign, and includes another word that is key to Hispanics in these times of aggressive anti-immigrant rhetoric: “respect.”

“She isn't afraid to talk about the importance of el respeto,” reads the first line.

The text also highlights campaign moments in which the former first lady defended Hispanics from the insults voiced by Republican candidate Donald Trump, by saying “Basta. Enough.”

Reaction on the internet was swift, but not of the kind that Clinton’s team was expecting. The hashtag #notmyabuela at times became a trending topic on Twitter.

“Hilary is #NotMyAbuela because I was separated by mine by many miles, and a militarized border,” wrote one user. “Mi abuela wouldn't try to buy Latin@ votes by using Spanish words & trying to seem relatble [sic] to struggles she'll never know,” wrote Christian Vasquez, whose Twitter account is followed by US President Barack Obama.

Latino Rebels, an analysis website with a humorous take on Latino reality in the US, got serious in its call for Clinton to end this campaign strategy.

In a post titled “Just When You Thought Hillary Clinton Couldn’t Hispander Any More, She Did It Again,” the authors write that “Young Latino voters are not stupid. They are actually informed and can sense when someone is authentically reaching out and when someone is just lowering the bar. Enough with the lowering of the bar. The Clinton campaign needs to get serious about the young Latino vote and start respecting it. Votes are earned, not expected.”

Dreamer Action Coalition, an association of undocumented migrants who arrived in the US as children, added the following criticism: “Abuelas do not kick out refugee children escaping violence from central America.”

The Clinton campaign response

On Wednesday, Clinton aides were trying to contain the fallout from the failed attempt at courting the young Latino vote. Although the Abuela post has not been deleted, the headline has been discreetly changed to “Seven things Hillary Clinton has in common with your abuela,” several US media outlets reported.

And Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief, the Hispanic and former “Dreamer” Lorella Praeli, published a post of her own explaining why she supports the Democratic candidate.

“As a Latina who recently became a US citizen, I know first-hand about the challenges that many people face in this country, including the fear of deportation, and Hillary is committed to fighting against Republican attacks to destroy families like mine.”

So far, though, her words have failed to appease the social media.

English version by Susana Urra.

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