Election 2014  
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Moyers: The Rise of Hispanic America

The growing electoral clout of the Latino constituency is getting harder for national politicians to ignore.

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JORGE RAMOS: Thanks so much.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: It's a pleasure to be here.

BILL MOYERS: And congratulations on that lifetime achievement award.


JORGE RAMOS: Thank you so much.

BILL MOYERS: You were honored the other night as the top of your craft, our craft. And yet you weren't selected to moderate a presidential debate. Do you think that you were not selected because, A) you do force politicians until they scream and because you're outspoken on immigration?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: I personally don't think that that's the reason why. First of all we are not disrespectful to, at least I've never been disrespectful, I don't think Jorge has either—

BILL MOYERS: No, no, I'm not saying that.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: You know, asking a tough question is not disrespecting the office of the presidency or a political candidate or any politician for that matter. So I don't think that we were not chosen because of our style of interviewing. I think it was unfortunately a lack of understanding of the importance of the Latino community.

I think they don't realize just how fast we're growing, how influential we have become and how politicians are now forced to respond to the issues that affect Latinos. I think that they oversaw that, I don't think that they really--


MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: --paid attention to that.

JORGE RAMOS: Sometimes we are invisible and we are fighting so hard not to be invisible. The Commission on Presidential Debates, they're stuck in the 1950s. They still think that the country could be divided between men and women and that's it. And they do not realize that one in every three persons in the United States is from a minority. They think it is okay to have an African American president but they don't think it's okay to have an African American or—


JORGE RAMOS: --a Hispanic journalist as a moderator for the debates. So what we did is, it was a wonderful response to this oversight, this huge oversight. Instead, they didn't want to invite us to their party, so we had our own party.

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, you did.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Yeah, our own party. And that party turned out pretty good.

JORGE RAMOS: And yeah. So yeah, maybe—

BILL MOYERS: You mean these presidential forums you had?


JORGE RAMOS: Yeah, the presidential forums.

BILL MOYERS: Which came after you were not selected for the debate?

JORGE RAMOS: And at the end it ended up being better.

BILL MOYERS: The presidential commission on debates is very close to the parties. It's a tool of the two party system in this country. They look at the polls, the numbers the Hispanic vote is decisive in states like North Carolina, could decide North Carolina, could decide other swing states. They knew you represented a significant vote in this election.

JORGE RAMOS: But how can you choose how can you not choose a representative from a minority in a country like this? I truly—

BILL MOYERS: So that's what I'm asking you.

JORGE RAMOS: --yeah, I truly admire the work of the three moderators for the presidential debates—

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, they're all--

JORGE RAMOS: --and for the vice president--

BILL MOYERS: --capable.

JORGE RAMOS: I personally admire their work. But the U.S. is much more diverse than that, much more diverse than that. So--