« The Weeds

Nickname fights and wildcat strikes

2018-03-09

Vox Politics & Policy reporter Alexia Fernandez-Campbell joins Dara and Matt to talk about the West Virginia teachers strike. References: Alexia’s article on teachers Vox's Alvin Chang just published this amazing tool to see how teachers are paid in your state An explainer on the Supreme Court’s Janus case How public-sector unions are preparing for a post-Janus future The original “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas” Photographer evidence that he’s been called “Beto” since he was a toddler A good primer on “Hispanic” as an identity constructed in the US

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
So this was what they call a wild cat strike that was originally a team cat strike in a kind of wet, feral sure ILO welcome to another set of the weeds on the box, media, podcast network and Matthew Glaziers joined today as usual by Darlin Also by Alexia Fernandez Campbell, we are going to talk. I don't know this is like really big news about North Korea happening, but when I know anything about that, so we can talk about. Arguably the least important political news story of the day. Beto O'Rourke's first name but I happen to think it's fascinating. So that's that's income later in the show, but first we we wanted to talk about the teacher strike in West Virginia and that's when it
long story that when did its way into into the national media, only a little bit Sully Biloxi. Can you just like the listeners end if they have been paying attention like what what happened? Yes, I love what really paying attention at first thoughts, teachers and West Virginia, shut down the schools from him one day or two, and then it just started continuing day after day and suddenly ever was paying attention and not only that the teachers wanted a five percent rays and that's kind of an of right now anywhere. Even California haven't given teachers that big of a race, but they hadn't gone, raises in so long or they hadn't kept up with inflation. Some They were really demanding. Even the labour unions were trying to reach it. Those with the lawmakers and teachers like no. We want the five percent rays and was pretty remarkable. They don't have collective bargaining rights in in West Virginia and they managed to to get what they wanted by pretty much forcing the legislature to take action,
What region is one of a large number of states where public sector plays don't have a legal right to collective bargaining, but they went on strike anyway and then the union leadership which did original deal but the governor. The waves at three percent is two percent, a two percent raise so the ship said. Ok, you know like weeds. Did this illegal strike? We won some concessions, let's, let's call it a day and then that you just stay down anywhere. I get sets arab idea. I think that there are a couple things to kind of you know underline here. When is it not all of the states that outlaw striking for sector, employees outlaw connect, collective bargaining, read. Very definitely states were, like you, know, YE d
sector unions have the right to negotiate their contracts. There appeared schedules aren't being set by the legislature, anything, but if there are happy with the contract that can't walk out and those rights are particularly restricted for in many states for police, for you're fighters and for teachers, because those are kind of on one and those tend to be the most politically popular groups of public set. Unions in a lot of the kind of attacks on public sector pensions in that kind of thing. You'll often see police in Firefox or police, firefighters and teachers kind of exempted cause. Nobody to be the person who, like cut fire, there's pensions. But on the other hand, there are the groups that you can make the argument that, like every day, they don't show up work is going to be really bad for their communities, and so there is, strong social as well as well, this incentive for teacher is not to be showing up in the classroom. Yeah I want. No, I mean no no strike whirls, depending on exactly how their structure can actually be be quite favor
to workers like the wheel motto, workers in that DC area have a note, no strike whirl and the metro compact, but that just means that contract issues go to a binding arbiter Sean process whose rules are fairly fairly favourable to the workforce, but dictum the which would you, illegal set up was meant to be unfair. I mean this is a state that has had I mean weights in interesting. Political should actually write. What was region was one of the states that Michael Dukakis one and eighty eight and Bill Clinton carried it. Ninety two and ninety six so was recently as the ninety it was a more democratic than average stayed then into
thousand it it broke. George, W Bush and in the twenty first century has been like that, like a rocket ship in terms of its white word, sort of political trajectory as the issue terrain has has shifted hand, but part of that had been like traditionally, a big political influence it in West Virginia and their cloud had decline rapidly. The legal environment had shifted rapidly stem, but they were still. I I don't know. I mean I have a tradition of of labour solidarity and in the culture and teachers were able to leverage that to go out and stay out right. I mean without a supportive legal framework and- and I guess eventually wanna about on public opinion yet and I guess lake. I would love to hear, let's hear your thoughts on light as you ve been covering this What kind of looks like from the outside is that in a world where public sector unions have kind of Bin, the the heart of the labour movement for the last few decades
it is private sector. Unionization has decreased public sector, unionization had stayed. The same, are increased it It seems that some of those unions are kind of so used to working with government that the idea of upsetting there, the people and government who are supposed to be giving them their protections, didn't really occurred. That re lake, that the unions in West Virginia went into this case, assuming they were going to make a deal rather than assuming that there are going to have their demands met, and it seems that they kind of been. I dont want to say captured necessarily but bit there idea of what was possible and desirable politically had shifted way to the right of where their members were. Is that kind of an accurate sense today Felix out by the union, or do they feel like their upholding what the union should really stand for, I think in West Virginia. The key thing was that unions are just teachers in is just have zero like zero political power. The most they can do is act like lobby
and go to state law makers and be like? Please do this, so they can even reach a deal, and I think it's just across the United States does seem like it's a weakening of labour unions, but it's I think, when I was looking into and talking to teach her this it's more about just the way schools are funded because even states word just can collectively bargaining bargain normally with like the local school districts, but their funded in many Kay and what West Virginia overwhelmingly by state funds, so they dont have a lot of leverage in Go she aiding for that money. If the states to society or we're gonna, cut taxes and cut school spending than teachers, unions really cat negotiates, I think there's teachers and state employees are just being like they just haven't, had a lot of power, but the coal minors, the coal at least in the private sector, have had a lot more power can fail to shut down the coal mines. So it wasn't a surly about collective bargaining uses making these demands, and so they were actually very supportive. The coal unions were out there
minors unions are out there supporting teachers and urging them to keep on with the strike, and so I think that also propelled that you put your labour unions at teachers in West Virginia Clear like not happy with what the low standards are. The for the Labour Union was wanting to negotiate for them, and I mean something that's. interesting hears it politics, electoral politics, practical politics has, I think, come to be so dominated by a sort of culture, war, type issues and that's wide- has pushed West Virginia very rapidly into becoming a very over well mainly were Publican state a Joe Mansion, as is still out. There is a democratic senator. His career in state politics stretches into the past, and so he sort of stands apart from from the party. But suddenly you you see here is that a group like like teachers, ready break by being outside of the political process. Right like four for teachers in West Virginia too
you is there a cloud as organizers and the citizens till I try to get democratic majority is elected in both houses of state legislature will be like such an incredible hill to climb, but in a strike context you were actually able to isolate a policy question about dedicating financial resources to public education from the like big access of partisan conflict in the United States of America, and I think you ve seen it a ton of states him in lots of very conservative states have passed minimum wage ballad initiatives. You could imagine Democrats trying to say like. Oh, you know you should vote for this minimum wage increase in an election in the state legislature in issues like it's never gonna happen. Right in places where people's like primary reference are abortion gun control. You know, environmentalism, a sense that liberal elites are snobby
something like that when the issues are isolated from partisan conflict, you see that actual people in America are not nearly as systematic or radiological in their voting behaviour, as their elected officials are right, leg republicans would never say. Ok, we need just like plough more money into teacher salary. but lots of people who are very loyal republican voters would actually yeah. I have no problem out that yeah. I think this gets into a really big harry question and that I think we will probably are gonna get into a little bit about the role of unions in current american life for eight, like the Association of Unions with the Democratic Party at the in a national level, has DE seeing unions, is just kind of a group that is going to push for democratic policy priorities across the board. Right,
you for various reasons. The labour movement is seen as a force pushing the Democratic Party to focus. Bread and butter issues that affect unionized. or is it seen as kind of the ground troops of the democratic path? and so this question of When is labour supposed to be focusing on the bread and butter issues? When is late, supposed to be acting. As you know, a group in a political coalition tied to the Democratic Party is very much alive, one in it, one that's kind of going to become even more relevant in cases where unions have to actively wrists to their members or to the people there purporting to represent why they could be relevant, why they should be continued to be supported and the kind of decay. your war position of like oh we're, not just here so we can get Democrats elected to office so that they can legalise gay marriage and you know liberalized
immigration, laws, but we're here so that we can get more wage increase. For you is something that it's not, that it's novel It's definitely something that hasn't kind of been vocalize as the right to work wave of the last five years as happened. Now it's going to add that one of the things I think that here reflected a lot of the frustration, and you know the thing Virginia Democrats and Republicans have voted for a lot of these tax cuts that have got cut school funding. So I do think that its true that workers and teachers that people getting just frustrated with the Labour unions ended, and they obviously meaning in what's happening in Oklahoma and Arizona that they just don't think that they're doing enough, and it could have something to do with what you said is being very much unionization becoming a very much a political thing. Ok, let's take a break and then let's talk about what's happening and uncle homeowners I like to learn things, and I bet, if you listen to the weeds, also like the word things, but what's really great is please
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the great horses plus today were going to love it. Our lessons get a free trial, free with unlimited access to enjoy all their lectures, but you gotta go to, especially you are to strike you're free trial, no sign of it. The great courses plus dot com, slash weeds and then use download the free gray courses, but remember the great courses plus that calm, slash so what's happening in Oklahoma, air, so well, what's happening. home is really interesting. Yesterday, Oklahomans honestly way worse off, the teachers were, they have gone through than what's happening was Virginia where they seem like the worst cuts to school funding, depending on which measures he look at. They get paid lesson teachers in West Virginia and they weren't even getting even a one percent raise like they had asked. They had begged the raven Black, putting so many bills forward so
We want this at least one percent rates and when the legislature said no we're not even gonna, to give you that actually we're gonna take more money away from the schools. The situation in Oklahoma has just been brewing. This anger this first Asian when they saw was happening, was Virginia. You could see at the school board meetings. Teacher sing there better off than are, and we are not doing anything. So what's happening was Virginias that yesterday they said we are going. You shut down the schools on April. Second, unless it's actually fund the schools to pre research and levels. I don't have actually goes all the way back to that, but they're asking for millions of dollars leave proposed tax increases and Republicans and no we're not do that. So another thing you have to find some way to raise the money and we actually want more rates, would want more than a one percent Risa. So I mean of homer is an interesting contacts. So somewhat different from us. Regina aware, Ogle home has been a conservative state for for a long time.
And these none, the less had a sort of big Kansas, die all tax cutting shock a few years, now and then also the local oil exploration industry hit sort of that a snag, a downturn due to some you know national global trends and in the price of oil, and so it's got them in a really bad budgetary position. I been covering special actions for four state legislatures and all of Democrats. Most impressive performances have come in Oklahoma. They ve like flipped a couple seeds that from one by by twenty or thirty points, but also they ve been seats that one by like seventy points where the democratic candidate will then lose by fifteen, or so it's like a big swing at Mary Fallon that their governor is one of the least popular in in the country by no means, as this mean that, like Oklahoma, about to become a blue state or or anything
Maybe maybe maybe Democrats could win one house race there, but people are very upset right and so far the political system has not been responsive to that it seems like Republicans in the Yokohama legislature. They know the governors unpopular. They know they. Ve lost a couple stunner special action races, but they just feel confident and probably right that, like their mostly gonna get real act did that the next governor will also be a republican and then Sir, it is a matter that people are mad. So that's like up a ripe circumstance for direct to action right where, like the whole point of something like that is still I make people do something. By creating a situation where you can, you can just
a shrug rattling schools or clothes. Like you have a problem, you will certainly does lake the date they picked is the date that students have to sit down for mandatory testing like they deliberately picked that so that this state would know that they were entirely up the creek without a paddle. If they did manage to find a deal nea- and it's it's, it's really interesting because from the states that I've been looking at these two, the teachers have been proposing. So many different make raising taxes on the oil industry and cigarettes on some eight different, different ways to pay. For that this time they said you guys are going to find a way to pay for it does we propose so many different things a distant past, but it's interesting what you said that is it actually gonna make a difference. Do this legislature care? I mean, I don't know how big the numbers are, but the teachers are really pissed off yet The other thing here, that's really relevant to enow, and especially in the context of getting Republicans to support. Something is that the kind of in Oklahoma it seems like its focused on pay kind of
highly, whereas West Virginia one of the questions was how teachers are going to be insulated from rising. neurons costs, etc in Oklahoma, the yeah that there, the worst paid in the country that is hurting the education system seems to be something that legislators acknowledge, like the state legit or who said yeah teachers are threatening to gap or already having teachers walking out their walking out of state to find better pay like it's. The idea that it's going to be a problem for your school system. If you can't pay, teachers competitively is something that people tend to grant, and you know that the dominant narrative of the public sector, means being kind of lazier complacent relies on the idea that it still ok, it's still going to give you a safe middle class career to be a government worker. In a way, it isn't anymore, to be a private there were greatly to private middle class, has been totally squeezed. The public middle classes is still kind of fat and by these labour agreements, but the flip side of that is that when you have
fairly strong economy and labour market as we do right now. You start see cases in which there not as much as much of a reason to be a teacher in a state where you're going to be paid worse than you are anywhere else. So the logic We ve seen in education reform for the last twenty years of gum needs to be more like the private sector needs to innovate. We need to have charter schools, we need to have alternatives. You can see that logic applied too. We need to pay. yours competitively, and it seems like that's beginning to percolate into the public understanding. Yet and it's been teachers, they said that they do. Me during the recession. They were willing to take pay freezes, but things are not, save any more and the end. The funding for the schools has not balanced back to pre recession levels. Oklahoma would not even give their teachers a one percent raise is incredible because PETE teachers haven't a posting on Facebook. Very can see their paychecks take home pay from like this year delay.
share like they're making. Not only are they not getting raises the actually making less money, because it's not adjusted for inflation anymore. Now the cost of living is increasing, so teachers are actually making less than they were before the recession. Yet you to judge point me: There is a real paradigm shift as you get into a much stronger overall labour market. Right, I mean thing about teaching right is that even when the economy takes a downturn like school districts, they try did not just have mass lay offs of teachers, you enjoy your job security and even if squeezed in squeezed in other ways, it's like people like look, you gotta, be thankful for God, because nobody
hiring anything anywhere. Now, when you are at a point where the national Employment way is four point, one percent, you know a public school teachers. Somebody who you know has a college degree, maybe sometimes has, as a masters degree may not have a lot of specific private sector job skills, but in a tight labour market is somebody who private employers. What look at for like wide range of white collar type positions, not least prevent charter school way and then also other places hiring teachers them- and I was clicking this. I gave basic job site. You know of fourteen hundred teacher job postings in in Texas right now that you could go to up takes us. Teachers are not compensated royally by any means, but their higher paid than Oklahoma teachers, and that's an option that that people have any begins to change. The sort of logic of this from is just something we're gonna look at as a cost
centre, or are we really going to lose out in terms of being able to have a good education system and in that becomes? But you can for these sunbelt states which are very keen on sort of trying to poach office jobs, and you know, like corporate regional headquarter type thing from other companies that you know, people don't wanna move their staff there executives to a place that has a reputation for all the teachers just quit last year. Yeah, that's not good for business, I think it's really interesting here is that labour? relations. Fundamentally, our question of who has more power of right and the right to work wave of the kind of thing current one that we have seen over the last you know. seven years since the was constant labour unrest of of twenty eleven has asked
that the only collective power that public sector unions have takes away from the public as a whole, rightly if they strike that's bad for kids, who are going to need not have said on days the teachers strike if they get higher wages and higher pensions. That's money that can't go into the rest of governmental, that's money that has to come out of taxpayers pockets. The idea that individual workers can pick up and leave for individual state is something that is much more amenable to a market logic. Even if you don't ignite collective power. Collective bargain as legitimate. It makes sense that an employee who could pick up and leave somewhere else. Has the power to negotiate a better deal. Any business owner would tell you that by the tea themselves. Don't see it as a matter of oh, we should have particular well qualified teachers get merit bonuses so that they don't have to leave. They see it as we have a collective.
identity as a profession. Collective bargaining is extremely important to us and therefore, when of our teachers are being pushed elsewhere. That gives all of us power to engage in collective action. That might have been diligent amazed in other circumstances, and I think that that's a really important thing to understand, as this kind of These are questions of our union's back. You know is this going to result in a rise of labour power, labour action across the country, getting people to recognise the purposes in which collective action works and getting people who might not otherwise agree that its very important for workers to be able to union eyes and strike if possible, and act collectively, getting people to understand in what cases the workers themselves- think that that's the way they do things, as I think, are very important to kind of getting people to buy into the baseline premise of what a union is for right. I think that labour unions itself, like that just the concept right now
is not even what's pushing this, but I agree in the sense that people here are realising how much power they have if they can all agree to do the exact same thing and, for example, zono where people are you know or teachers are getting ready, saying that they want to strike there is this fear of you know still some teachers are scared of doing and in Oklahoma teachers are saying that, isn't that a lot of states have just kind of never they given much thought to what the teachers one is because they think that it would be unpopular for them to strike that that would actually be a backlash against teachers, and you know they care so much about their students. It would never do that to hurt their students, so there is this idea that teachers would never go to that extreme, because you know they care about their students. They don't want them to like miss out on school and does not have any where to go by so this is kind of like a backlash to that idea that you know teachers actually can get organised, and there is a lot of support for them to do that way.
Obviously it is worth saying weddings. It is a huge inconvenience to normal people and their lives, and probably not great, for the children in the school to have teachers go out. So is it is a workable strategy, but only if you are confident that the public is going to Sympathise with the underlying claim rights- it is a way of addressing. I mean, I guess, is what I've seen before, but you have a concern where you think most voters with like a more generous approach to teachers, but you also think that most voters are not inclined to actually based their voting behaviour on that fact right. So then, you're, just like you kind of screwed, because convincing people that you are in the right is not I'll get you a particle win if they're gonna vote anyway, fairer, lookin Republican legislated, because, of course I mean it's, you know people care about many different thing exactly it and that's one of the thing
that some teachers in Arizona or thank as the head of the teachers union there was saying well, will vote people out of office. If they don't do you wanna teachers like idle, I am not counting on the voters, cannot do that they're, saying that you know using the ballot box is a way to get what you want or get legislation that you want is just it hasn't been working so far, but I think we might have to take a break. Let's do it you gonna sell by South West, if you are a joint measure for a while taking the aeroplane, show me Charlie, Melinda Gates and about the power and importance of philanthropy atheling. She knows a lot about like he's very interests so where you gotta be deepened by box video taking over the Belmont. It's about ten minute walk from the austrian elections after when it's Sunday March, eleven to three thirty pm, who anyone everyone is welcome. You just request an invitation to comment Fox media com, slash as acts as w hyped, what he ain t so fine. A more information will present invitation Fox mediator, slash ass at S, w twenty eighty
this alliance of going on that that's one s, there's gonna be out of three thirty, but the deepened by box media is taking over the Velma for three day of best itself by South West from March nineteen march. Eleven features like I guess from many box media access networks- favorites- not me sadly, but has or will be there to care switches. Rico decoders can be there. The virtuous purge costs can be there. So really great line by checking not at the same time that this is happening but with in the labour movement. The kind of lens through which this is all being understood is that a couple of weeks ago, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case that, depending on how they rule on it, could exempt public. actor workers who are represented by unions from having to pay wages, if they're not actively members of that union. I have representation fees right right. So that's
You can understand intuitively how that's a big that could have a big impact in terms of unions being able to taken revenues, and this is a fight that Anti conservatives have been waiting for some time. A case went up to the Supreme Court about a couple of years ago. It turned into a four four deadlock because Antonym Scalia died before they release the decision. But this is I think that the kind of people who are doing right to work at the state level see, is the next big fight national aid to get the courts to recognise that you shouldn't force workers to pay into a union that they may not appreciate. They see it as a matter of Greece. each, because unions are often mobilizing for democratic and in this case, only applies to publicly right, so you would in effect it would turn non right to work states in Japan. to work stays with regard to their public sector workers. But probably you could use the legal precedent to push. The cart forward
Even if not the idea would be that you would weaken. unions in the non right to work states raise you. I just saw a new study on this. This allied. I think these are unclear about the practical impact of over into work laws, but this very clear evidence that the right to work laws help the Republican Party when elections, because not only do unions Lou, some finances, and this is a critical of ambiguity, and it is that, if you have to sign people up to get their dues, you not only have less money, but you have to spend more of your money on membership
activity sway. It's it's it's a fly. We all right, we're like the union's mean thing has to be drumming up. Support for itself among the employees who are covered by the bargaining unit, because, if you're not out there every day, hustling to make people want to be members you're gonna die off, whereas in in a non white to work context, people can be met. So they cannot be members either way. They're going to pay fees to you, you have to you know, try to do a good job at the collective bargaining sessions like then somebody smart and might not be a total sucker
but dated day, you don't need to be doing that much vigorous representation which lets you do more political activity, which is great. If you are like a democratic swing, see trying to win, and that's one of the big impacts here, but then there is the question as to whether it you will get like more active, more militant unions, if they sort of have to have to work for their daily bread right. This is the thing is there, some unions have been kind of seeing, coming or thinking that this might be coming for a while and are thinking of it. As for awhile, There may be we did get complacent. Maybe we were assuming that you know, because everybody had to pay and we didn't have to actively make the case or even that we had, get people to sign union cards, but once we got them to sign union cards, they were home free. We didn't have to worry about continue to justify their union. membership. And now you know, there's aim
we have to organise. We have to do what we should I've been doing all along and make sure that people buy in the union as a product as something that it is worth it for them just as their money on, and I think that that's definitely the direction the labour movement can go. But I think it's really important to understand that the rights of public sector unions is the heart of the labour movement and the idea that You spend money on Democrats and therefore, Republicans should attack them, they're not totally connected, but they both metastasized around the same time and that it makes sense when you're a public sector union. You can use electoral organizing to literally choose the people who are across the table. For me right like if private sector workers had the power which use their managers? You know that you could see something similar happening there, but the Question of white unions have to offer people at this
really has gotten tied up to a certain degree and cultural organisation right. The fact that lot of union members in midwestern states voted for Donald Trump was you know something the people pay two for awhile as evidence that it? If you, The right it was evidence that the Labour movement had lost the confidence of its employees, that the labour movement in a was was out of date out of touch on the it was an argument that the Democratic Party wasn't doing enough to represent the real concerns of workers, but you can see a world where this kind of bread and butter sense of the union is something that gives you things. It's not necessarily something that's going to fight on political issues that you're not actively engaged with, like that's a potential future it's probably not it's not a future that the Labour movement wants to age and right now, partly because the people who are King for unions are people who are there. to you know, engaging progressive interests more broadly and you can't really
The union whose organizers dont want to be you know you Unity is organisers, want to be doing slate of issues and were told they can't do slate of issues. Are they have to do slate of issues be instead you're not going to organise very effectively that way, but there are kind of multiple Hansel avenues that you could see coming out of a world where unions have to have a different relation ship to their members. Then one just well. It would be nice. thing for you to sign a card. He probably dont want to just be. You know He probably want to show your gun attitude to the organisation that is representing youth bargaining table, but you don't you're gonna, have to pay but either way at the point at which you have to elect to send some of your paycheck to a union, and if you don't the union's going, you represent the bargaining table anyway. Is a union a product that you have to buy because it's going to get you things or is a union, something that you were? to spend money on as a signal of solidarity or as a signal of identity or as a way to officially
with a preferred side in the culture work to an open question I mean I have no idea what how the ruling would really affect labour unions, but I do think there is a case to be made that something needs to change in the. How Hell yeah how they relate to their workers. Whether role is in working conditions and way in just negotiate contracts and in the political sphere. So I mean I'm be very interested to see where that goes to the teachers that you know that you ve talked to understand what they are doing as part of a kind of progressive movement generally or do they think of it as a simple matter of lake that politicians need to together and give them what they deserve and that its not part of a general bigger trend. So teachers I spoke to in Arizona, definitely see it. S kind of like a backlash against tax. Cutting spending cuts are very much I gotta distance movement in West Virginia just seem less like that. It was just a such a frustration was about paychecks. It was about past. Is it it seemed to be they completely non political
They are just matter every one in the legislator, Democrats and Republicans. So I feel like it. Polly varies by state, but that's kind of my feeling their eyes break down my monsters, automatic data secularism, culture wars I went to San Francisco want I'm a few years ago was supposed to meet somebody for some coffee at a place called blue bottle. I got there. The line was really long used insane long hours, filtrate grumpy, that I got to the point: am, I call you Gimme was really good. what are we got? A got wage left over there I got my the line was so long. It was just like an amazing easing coffee, but still bleeding aligned dislike it super annoying. But now we're bottle provides the most delicious copy the world right to your door, to its incredibly fresh in their delivery services. Roasted ship, you home within forty eight hours of placing their order, Venus arrive at peak freshness once it is going to make you realize you drinking some far popular entirely. I really say this coffee and there's bluebottle differences
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El Paso, officially one the democratic nomination to take on TED crews. There was nothing surprising about that, but it sort of officially kicks off that the pain and crews responded by releasing on on Youtube and excess radio kind of countries on attack on our work. It. I think it's kind of funny. It's it's too the tune over. If you wanna play in Texas, you gotta have a fiddle when your band, but If you want to run in Texas, you can't be a liberal man anyway, that the meat in point is that data a work is too liberal for taxes, but he also gets in the fact that better, Name is radical changes, name witches
it's like a little line in the sand bid is part of a larger narrative. I guess that his enemies are trying to paint of ham, and I guess the subtext here is that he is pretending to be his bad right right. The way that crews, put I don't remember this verbatim is somebody like you wanted to fit in. So he changed his name. This idea that it is in kind of an active choice. you like. Oh, I read. This no majority city in this latina majority district. Instead of being Robert overcome, gonna call myself by a spanish sized version of my name to which the overt pain literally released a photo of this lake need toddler. It on record. eyes of all better roared, the only reason you can tell it spade overcome, because is sweater literally says beta on it and the employee, and being now he's outpost, a born and raised TED crews was not born. Texas TED crews was born in Canada.
and you know that if anything, the kind of fact that Oh is this irish dude with latino nickname indicates that he's been part of that Texas culture aware as one immigration, activist in Texas who I follow on Twitter, put it everybody and Texas has latino nickname it's just a thing here: yeah, what I love about this sorry, it's just that you know Republicans have been like going after Democrats fairly, you know, play identity, politics, and this is just like the identity politics all over again, but this time coming from tat is, and I think I think it's a really funny story to my parents actually live in all pass and I spent part of my childhood there and no one and no Paso think set he's latino. No, I mean it was on the city council. I mean they're there. not just the idea that he could somehow pretend to pass off as being Mexican American. There is just kind of ridiculous for people from El Paso because he's clearly not and it's not just because he is fair, can I mean there many like first in mexican amount
and there you know mexican american unfair. Skin too, is to set. You know when you talk to someone you when you hear talk even when you hear them, speak Spanish, like there's like a very strong mexican american culture and identity on the border and in Texas, and then it's very much like how you speak like even like the words slangy years there's so much too at the body language. Like your gestures, it's been so very particular to think that people no password somehow I'd be like duped into thinking that he was like Latino any was raised You like Larry, I mean there is a little bit of this. That is better. Work, does not have terribly high name recognition in Texas and so may be. There is an argument that some other people who didn't know he was who aren't from El Paso might have been a little bit fooled and maybe tat crucial inoculate them against that. But I I think that the TED whose campaign is smart enough to realise that bit overworked strong,
Important El Paso is not because people think he's latino. I think it's more than this is like a conservative mobilization. They re yet. But that said I I do I do want to say. I am not from El Paso bench, El Paso, I was fooled. I do want to say I was foolish because I am a hundred percent convinced by the photographic evidence that, like Robert legitimately picked up the nickname better as a school kid in El Paso. But I looked at it, you know not being at sea. Close scholar of this area, but, like I knew that a guy named bitter or work had knocked off Sylvester, whereas in a primary in a majority, latino district and the inference that I drew from that. I am, of course, and not a moron. I know that our work, as an irish name unduly looks like it can it. Is the others, but I figured that either he had a Mexican, our mexican american mom or else
are few families and Mexico with the irish names, because a lot of people emigrated from Mexico to de various places, and so I figured that was the story, and I also figured that he used the first name, NATO as a signifier of that, because these things do matter in in politics and these endless stories about spanish names. And in politics I mean I, I Amber when, when Reuben Diego was running and in his primary and in Arizona his opponent was noting that his father's name was was much less spanish sounding, but he had switch to start going by his mother
name years earlier, and there was a controversy as to whether that was a way to win political support and South Phoenix or like an actual thing about the dynamics in his family right and it's not fake and, of course, its also not fake. I'm in the part of the irony here is that TED Cruises name is Raphael Rafale with with an f, which is also my. My father's name is spanish name, and I saw that he in law school went so far as to
go by Edward right in the conservative journal were or maybe was TED about by Raphael in the Harvard Latino LAW Review, and it's not like code switching is like it a scandal right, but there was definitely some point in the time of the life of Raphael occurs when he decided it would be more advantageous to angler size, Hisself presentation and go Go by TED, I actually think that switching is it's not a scandal, but could switching in politics as a really fraught thing because on the one hand it something that politicians do all the time like this of times that a politician and is airing ads and spanish- that are silent on some of the positions that are loudest and their English adds zero. It's it's ubiquitous it this time in an age
any message that you tried and narrow costs can be broadcast more widely. There's always the allocated the possible allegation of hypocrisy right that lake or that a politician is high. something I was always a little bit surprised that this never explore They got made about Obama for all the racist attacks on President Obama. The fact that he would, on occasion be more co Oh queerly black in front of black audiences was something that I've figured be used by the right this right as see he's hiding from year who he really as he sounds white when he talks to you. But when you talk, to his own people. Why not just audiences? You know I mean I remember a couple times being inserted round tables with him and he would answer questions from african american journalists in a different you know,
liked, then than his normal one or than you know, and he would switch fluently like around the table depending on who is talking to. You is definitely an Obama thing. Here's what I think about better he for sure he decided to go by better, like for political reasons, but I think that the reason was definitely not too late make people think he was looking but if at the most he was thinking, I would people will think of me as an ally, as you know, like maybe more approachable and like such an overwhelmingly like latino area. I am sure that it had something to do with that now at the idea that he's like pretending to be Mexican has just made no, but I think I think this is kind of the other side of the TED crews critique over the kind of more politically powerful side of it. Then in our PETE he's trying to fool people. Is this kind of idea, of the hapless woke white
ray this lake, I love the Latinos, I'm only to adopt latino nickname to show how much I love the Latinos, like, even above and beyond the kind of super racist. Oh, you know you're a cop you're selling out your own people, you're, ok with being invaded level, but there's kind of weariness in people who aren't you know in it people on the centre right and re of white liberals who bend over backwards to who demonstrate their solidarity with non white people that lake there try to their protesting too much that there too eager to play the role card against what they know. Conservatives Balboa, and I think that there is kind of in TED crews, who is himself like latino surname, but who is and found himself on the side of controversies where his at his side is being accused of racial racism, or at least Rachel and sensitivity is trying to neutral,
is that by saying yeah, but you the kind of you now holier than thou White Liberal, who would even go so far as to adopt latino nickname just to show how down you are open. I mean so these named choices they banner to people in there in their families where had like it. It is definitely with a conscious choice of my parents. You know might might my dad's name was whose Raphael his father was Jose, but but I met and my brother s neck and they decided to give very like flat. Very glow names to ass might my son's name Jose after my grandfather's back my favour grandfather. It's not. I think that super unusual thing to name a child after a favoured grandparent, but my grandparents has.
Spanish name, and that signifies something and he's like he's very, very white kid and frankly, his level of cuban ancestry is incredibly attenuated is such that there are like pfirsching latino people but like he has very little actual ethnic or genetic origin there, but he has the spanish name, people, let you know people especially like taken note of that when they hear it when we're out somewhere and sometimes it strike. Some is odd. I thank or or interesting- and it's always been part of the like immigration process to America is this kind of thinking about ethnically coded names, and particularly because you know this is effort in the United States to construct a latina identity in a that would be parallel to black identity and it doesn't work that
where they had the minimum. Like equates alot of odd edge cases, whereas, like the black white racial gap in the United States, has been very persistent, very clear, there's a lot of boundary cases. You know, including a cuban guy who was born in Canada, who moved says who goes by tat right right. I'm so glad you got into this because it gives me an excuse to talk about my very favorite, weird use, What do you know? Identity politics in a race which is the twenty ten New Mexico Governors race which for a while, while their Susan Tina has won the election. Ultimately, as are a public in she was latina. I heard her opponent was not latina but her running mate. The lieutenant governor candidate was so he kind of got dispatched to do a lot of his identity, politics things and he put out a spanish language, bad thing, son. I assume that the Hannah which La Hague literally is Susanna is a text that leg she's. Not really. You know she, D
and have the kind of New Mexico new Mexican appeal, and these things often aren't legible through the lens of hispanic is an idea. And you either choose spending gather in. Oh, you choose whiteness there, There is a lot of kind of AIDS long resentment of cuban Americans for trying to be white and for selling other Latinos under the bus general. in that, please into their own to immigration. Politics where there, some resentment. The Cubans are kind of held themselves apart because it's been easier for them to come to the? U s legally than it has anybody else that the idea of TED crews in particular who not only as a Republican who's been intermitting, immigration hawk, but who is not born in the? U S: Eddies Cuba. In kind of trying to engage in this identity, politics of letting
that there are a lot of different ways that this could go against right, there's like so many different sub groups and sub identities, and you know them Can american identity is very different from the cuban american identity? So there is this idea that, like all the teenagers that is just like one identity and and in particular like there's, always been the talk about, you know certain people just aren't latino enough. They don't speak Spanish, one of so they can't be letting us. I feel, like that's, always like something playing out. What's whether someone is either like hispanic enough to be like call themselves the Tina and in this case its now better, whose being told the opposite these. White to be like using a name like that is just crazy. But one thing I think, is really interesting about the bed with stories that I think a lot of people don't realize how like him being irish, book. Even though he's not like very dogmatic and he's like pro choice and everything mexican Americans have very solidarity with Irish Catholics, so that probably play more of a role in his popularity
you know what I mean not obviously like his positions as well, but when I was growing up in El Paso, like the priests at the churches were we're. All Irish Catholic Summum spoke Spanish really, while the masses were in Spanish There is a solidarity, even though like Irish Catholics and just White Americans and El Paso Minority, the Catholic culture The tradition is very much strong between Mexican Americans and Irish Catholic. So that may have played a role. I don't know and specifically in the history of of text, I mean. I think this is not super well known, but it was, it was John Kennedy is campaigning in nineteen. Sixty was the first one to one spanish language too. vision adds because they saw his catholic identity as a vulnerability in many places, particularly in the south which Democrats attrition went counted on, but potentially an asset in gaining Letty no votes in tat. They were very focused on Texas.
They made Lyndon Johnson, the vice president. They they knew. That was the southern states that at northern Irish Catholic Democrat was most likely to lose and they really wanted to not lose it so like they had Johnson is VP, they campaigned in Rio Grande Valley communities and they tried to forge that catholic linkage angle, and also for at least in the light of that, the middle of the twentieth century Irish was the sort of like default face of immigration Politics? I think that's probably right, certainly right. Nineteen sixty Irish would be the kind of a politically empowered immigrant classier, the ones you would be most likely to see in office right. So you know, there's a there's a there's, a specific sort of route to that connection, but it's
You know it's like those communities have gone in very different trajectories over the past fifty years, where I think the other thing here is the fight in Texas, in terms of course, of when and whether Democrats can take Texas in statewide elections has always depended on. Can Democrats get turn out from loathed, historically low turn out segments of the population? often including Latinos, particularly low income in rural Latinos, including a lot people on there. U S Mexico border, so that I think, he's a little bit orthogonal to this name, politics: thinkers named politics. You can understand that as when you're in the ballot box, you're gonna recognise the latino name, a joke that there is a strong case for if you see road signs for somebody with latino name and you, know anything else about the election. You're gonna show up to an election. You ve never shown up to before, because you seen a latino name in that case,
the area where I think it's much more relevant is you know, do you have a good spanish language reach operation. Does your candidate speak Spanish? Can they do their own stuff? They have good validate, or you can do that kind of thing in that isn't necessarily something we're bit o work is at a disadvantage relative to tat crews. I'll be interesting to see, though, if TED crews like worried about this kind of Vienna, Democrat democratic backlash are in Texas, will start playing up more. Have his immigrant route, like I'm, really interested to see how now he might be playing identity takes more in the next few months. I totally want to see the spanish language had grooves bitter work of his army base and be great Ruby. We did this in and you know when he was first running for office. He was more than happy to do that and of his own debate in our would speak in Spanish very eloquently about how bad illegal education, was and how important it was for immigrants to learn English, but he would you know he was in the early phases,
you're back before Marguerite forgot how to do politics. He was very good at this in a way, tat. Crews is never really then so it's it's gonna be really interesting to see this fund postscript by the way the children of bitter Rourke Henry Molly and Ulysses, which is maybe less Irish Catholic, been irish by way of James Joys, but certainly doesn't indicate that he's trying to pull the wool over anybody's is and what that we are never trying to pull the world over your eyes, peering weeds. We thank you very much for listening. Thanks to our producer, Aperture Armstrong Engineer, Griff Tanner for working with us, you should check out the many other progress of the box media network- podcasting sweet in particular. If you want some explanations of what is actually happening, lose rather than musings about people's names. The today explained podcast is always therefore you with the big takes and, and this definition
Oh thanks Alexia for joining us and will be back on Tuesday. Boys go there's something may give you go away and taxing you. Gotta have ties, but not all.
Transcript generated on 2021-09-12.