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Univision Debate Proves Refreshing

LatinaLista — Tonight’s Univision debate was refreshing on so many levels that when it was finally over it proved to be an event that was not just historic but one all Latinos could be proud of.

Democratic presidential candidates stand together after Univision debate.
(Source: Univision

U.S. Presidential debates among same-party candidates can be a bore to watch. After all, with slight variations of strategy, most of the candidates parrot one another in answering the standard questions that dominate every debate: If you were president what would you do about the war in Iraq, healthcare, education, taxes, etc.
Aside from trying to interject some innovation into the process, the debates are all the same.
But the Univision debate was different and it proved more fun to watch.
First, the questions were good. Being such a niche audience helped focus the questions and forced the candidates into giving answers that were less generic and recycled, though that still existed on some questions like the war in Iraq and healthcare.
When the candidates were asked about Spanish possibly being made into the second national language of the country or why is the wall being built along the Mexican border and not the Canadian side or what will be done about the deportation of undocumented parents with American-born children, it was obvious that some of the candidates were thankful they could fall back on the excuse of trying to understand the translation coming through their earpieces as they paused to form their answers.
Could it possibly be that some of the candidates hadn’t really thought about the other issues that concern a lot of Latinos?
Secondly, in a nation that was built on immigrants, it was nice to see one of the candidates try to answer in his “family” language. Though it wasn’t unexpected that Bill Richardson’s request to give his answers in Spanish would be overruled, it was refreshing to see someone stand up and defend themselves based on principle and pride in their heritage.
Thirdly, it was nice not to be inundated with empty-headed analysis from people who say the same thing over and over and over and seem to think that’s it’s all new or not noticed by anyone but themselves or that we’re too dumb to figure it out for ourselves.
The calibre of questions posed in this debate, the professional conduct of the moderators AND the people in the auditorium all prove that Latinos are a contingency that deserve to be heard.
As moderator and Univision anchor, Maria Elena said,

The candidates will be speaking to the fastest-growing segment of American society. It’s a sign of respect.

At the end of the broadcast, the two moderators openly invited the Republican candidates to participate in their own debate.
Time will tell if they too respect Latinos — or not.

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  • Daniel
    September 10, 2007 at 12:23 am

    I guess I saw a different debate. The questions asked by the people were very good but the rest of it was to be expected.

  • Frank
    September 10, 2007 at 7:51 am

    So the truth comes out. Hispanics want Spanish to be the second national language of this country. I have thought so all along. Their argument against making English our official language based on discrimination of other languages just fell apart. If that were truly their reasoning behind it they would be rallying behind no national language at all because it would also discriminate against those who speak Vietnamese, Chinese, etc. in this country according to their logic.

  • yave begnet
    September 10, 2007 at 8:15 am

    The debate was refreshing–watching Obama, Clinton, and Dodd squirm when asked to explain their support for the border wall was gratifying. It was also nice to hear some of the candidates frankly express their opposition to our senseless Cuba policy to a less-than-sympathetic audience.
    It seems unlikely to me that any additional GOP candidates (besides McCain) will accept the invitation. The dynamic is the opposite from the one the Democratic candidates find themselves in: none of the Democratic candidates felt they could afford to miss the debate last night, except for Biden. None of the GOP candidates, save McCain, felt they could afford to attend such a debate, given the sentiments of their base. And McCain is paying the price politically for his high-profile support of comprehensive reform. The others have taken notice: there will be no GOP debate on Univision.

  • michelle
    September 10, 2007 at 10:37 am

    In fairness to Biden, he was trying to prepare for a hearing today. I commend him for putting his congressional duties before his campaign duties. Hopefully, the Latino audience wouldn’t consider his absence a snub under those circumstances.

  • Marisa
    September 10, 2007 at 10:39 am

    This morning, there’s been a lot of debate among Hispanic bloggers that last night, though historic, wasn’t groundbreaking — but I beg to differ.
    As far as debates go, what can we expect when no candidate, in circumstances like these, will ever answer off-the-cuff. Because when they do, the media and pundits tend to label them loco.
    No, as far as the candidates’ responses, it was par for the course but that doesn’t mean the event itself wasn’t groundbreaking.
    For the first time, a network that caters to a group that is not considered “main stream” was recognized as an equal among the traditional networks.
    It is progress – plain and simple.

  • Horace
    September 13, 2007 at 9:24 am

    “For the first time, a network that caters to a group that is not considered “main stream” was recognized as an equal among the traditional networks.”
    What do you consider mainstream? Normal? And what’s so different between mainstream and non-mainstream? Is your perspective any better or worse than mainstream? You think that your needs are different from other human beings. Please elaborate what makes Hispanics different from other people?

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