Hispanic Caucus makes it clear, they don't want any Republicans

Mayra Flores, the Republican congresswoman who won an upset victory in Texas’s heavily Latino 34th congressional district this summer, has been rejected from membership in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. 

Why doesn’t the name reflect the membership? Flores said that she wanted to join in order to build bridges and work on a bipartisan basis for constituents. Nope. House Democrats aren’t interested in that. Flores is learning the hard way that her historic accomplishment, her election victory as a Republican in a majority-Hispanic district led by Democrats for over 100 years in south Texas, is not celebrated by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Party affiliation is the most important qualification.

“As the first Mexican-born Congresswoman to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, I thought joining the Congressional Hispanic Caucus would be a constructive way to build bridges and work in a bipartisan manner on behalf of our constituents. I was wrong. This denial once again proves a bias towards conservative Latinas that don’t fit their narrative or ideology,” Flores said.

The Texas Tribune reported on the story, and explained that the Caucus is now solely for Democrats, though it began as a bipartisan caucus:

The caucus is entirely made up of Democrats — including five from Texas. It was originally founded in 1976 as a bipartisan working group of Hispanic lawmakers in both chambers of Congress. But in the 1990s, differences over the U.S.’s Cuba policy led to a fissure between the group’s Republican and Democratic members. The Republicans led by Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart, R-Florida, left to form the similarly named Congressional Hispanic Conference in 2003.

Since then, the two groups have kept to their own parties. Congressional Hispanic Caucus bylaws now explicitly block Republicans from joining, a caucus spokesperson said. The spokesperson declined to comment further on Flores’ application.

So, Republicans have their own Hispanic caucus. The Texas Tribune went on to basically blame Flores for not being a Democrat and characterizes her in terms of Donald Trump. That’s odd because Trump was not involved in her special election campaign and didn’t endorse her. She did, however, mention in her victory speech that during Trump’s administration, the people in her district didn’t have such high prices for food, gas, and medicine.

The Texas Tribune faults her for being conservative, which isn’t a surprise since the online publication leans heavily on the liberal side:

Flores said she’d hoped to join the caucus as a way to work across the aisle and foster bipartisanship, she said in her tweet.

But Flores hasn’t shown signs of being a moderate. She is endorsed by former President Donald Trump, maintains a hard line on reproductive rights and has called for more funding for border security. She has been in office only four months after winning a special election in Texas’ 34th congressional district and has voted closely with her party.

She has also campaigned heavily on disparaging Democrats as ignoring working Americans and neglecting the border. One of her first votes in Congress was against a bipartisan gun safety bill spearheaded by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, after which she introduced an alternative gun bill filled with Republican talking points about IRS funding and critical race theory in schools.

Flores was a guest on Laura Ingraham’s show on Fox Wednesday night. She addressed her rejection by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. She said that she and two other Hispanic Republican women running in south Texas districts will be a true Hispanic caucus of their own. Flores said, as she often does, that Hispanic Americans are raised on God, family, and hard work. Hispanics are realizing that they have more in common with the Republican Party than today’s Democrat Party. She will likely join the Republican Congressional Hispanic Conference but it is much smaller than the other caucus. Her spokesperson, Daniel Bucheli, said of Flores, “she believes working in a bipartisanship manner, in the representation of ALL constituents, is best.”

Democrats are nervous about the inroads being made by Republicans in traditionally Democrat-led majority Hispanic districts in south Texas. Let the Texas Tribune snark about Flores embracing conservative philosophy and try to make Trump the perpetual boogeyman. The fact is that Flores thinks for herself and is an articulate and thoughtful voice for Hispanic voters in Texas. Her husband is a Border Patrol agent and she focused on border security and kitchen table issues in her special election campaign. She won by speaking about the issues that are most important to the residents in her district. She is doing the same now as she runs for a full term in the House. Her race pits two sitting members of Congress against each other due to redistricting.

The Democrat running against Flores in Texas CD-34 is Rep. Vicente Gonzalez. He is running a controversial campaign against Flores, using sexism and racism against her in campaign ads against her. Gonzalez has brought an ugly tone to the race that can only be explained by fear of being defeated. His behavior shows it’s time for him to go. Cook Political Report shows the race as a toss-up.

Thanks to the victory of Flores in CD-34, two other Hispanic Republican women are running for Congress in this election cycle. They are also married to Border Patrol agents. One is a former district director for Senator Ted Cruz. Cassy Garcia, from the 28th Congressional District, and Monica De La Cruz, from the 15th Congressional District both have good chances for winning their races, too.

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