American Latinos United launches super PAC in effort to defeat Donald Trump in 2020

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The group is led by former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

In a bid to capture one of the most quickly growing segments of American voters, American Latinos United has launched a new political action committee focused on defeating President Donald Trump in the upcoming 2020 presidential election.

Led by former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and entrepreneur Fernando Espuelas, the committee will specialize in Latino voter engagement in key swing states in hopes of propelling the Democratic nominee, whoever that turns out to be, to victory.

"President Trump captured about 30% of the Hispanic vote in 2016. If he falls under that threshold in 2020, key battleground states will be out of his reach," Espuelas said in a statement. "With the Electoral College in play, we intend to empower Latinos in battleground states to defeat Trump with their votes."

The committee said it is looking to take advantage of its veteran politicians and technological innovation in order to craft messaging directed at Latinos as well as engaging in on-the-ground activation. Using traditional media and digital media platforms, their team will engage voters in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin

Also, ALU will attempt to connect with single-issue voters that have not historically voted for Democratic candidates in hopes of "educating them about the moral danger that Trump represents."

"Our country is on a precipice. President Trump’s incompetence and corruption are threatening our democracy and the American way of life," said Villaraigosa, who was mayor of L.A. from 2005 to 2013 and unsuccessfully ran for governor of California in 2018.

"Latino voters can make all the difference -- if we know how to engage and activate the millions of people that sit out most elections," he added. "Through ALU, we’ll connect deeply with our community and create the mechanisms to turn out the vote in historic proportions."

Trump launched his own initiative aimed at Hispanic voters, called "Latinos for Trump," last year and held a rally in September in New Mexico. The rally featured an awkward exchange when he introduced Hispanic Advisory Council member Steve Cortes, asking him if he loved Hispanics or the country more. Trump's long-standing attacks on immigration, largely coming from Mexico, has caused a rift between him and Hispanic voters.

In a ABC News/Washington Post poll from September, Trump's approval rating among Hispanics stood at 25%, far below his 50% approval among whites.

About 40.4% of eligible Latino voters came out to the polls during the 2018 midterm elections -- about 11.7 million voters in total, according to the Pew Research Center. A record 32 million Latinos are expected to be eligible to vote in 2020, making them the nation's largest minority for the first time.

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Ex-RNC Chair Exposes ‘Un-American’ Hypocrisy Of GOP Senators In Donald Trump Trial

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Michael Steele ripped Republican lawmakers who raised “their damn hand to swear an oath that they know they’re not going to defend nor uphold.”

Michael Steele tore into the GOP senators who on Thursday took an oath to serve as honest jurors in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump despite previously claiming they don’t care about the evidence against the president in the Ukraine scandal.

“Don’t stand in the chamber today and take the oath,” Steele, the former chair of the Republican National Committee, said in an interview with MSNBC’s Brian Williams and Nicolle Wallace.

Continued Steele:

Take your behind out of the chamber when it’s time to swear in, because you will be lying to the American people. Because you’ve already told us you plan not to be an honest juror. So, this is almost a joke in the sense that you have some of these senators walking into this room, standing in front of the country, standing in front of the chief justice of the United States, raising their damn hand to swear an oath that they know they’re not going to defend nor uphold.

Steele, the RNC’s chair from 2009 to 2011, said it would signal to the American people that the rule of law “doesn’t matter, at least for some.”

“It would matter for you,” said Steele, who has become a frequent Trump critic. “Don’t try that when you get called for jury duty the next time. Don’t try that when you’re sitting in front of a judge under indictment because the rules, when applied to you, will come crashing down around your head.”

“That’s the responsibility at this moment that I think a lot of these members are going to let slip by,” Steele added, describing the actions of the Republican senators as “disgusting” and “un-American.”

“They should be embarrassed to stand there and take the oath when they’ve already told us they plan to lie when they do so,” he concluded.


Sen. Cory Booker suspends presidential campaign

Sen. Cory Booker suspended his presidential campaign Monday, the final act of a bid for the Democratic nomination defined by a persistent struggle to catch fire with voters and donors despite his relatively high profile and long-standing presidential ambitions.

The news of the senator’s decision came weeks before the Iowa caucuses, where, despite a large field organization Booker, D-N.J., was expected to finish outside of the top tier of candidates, based on recent polling. His announcement also comes on the eve of the seventh Democratic debate which he did not qualify to participate in due to a lack of qualifying polls towards Democratic National Committee polling thresholds, according to ABC News’ analysis.

"It’s with a full heart that I share this news -- I’ve made the decision to suspend my campaign for president," Booker wrote supporters in an email, echoing the sentiment in a video. "It was a difficult decision to make, but I got in this race to win, and I’ve always said I wouldn’t continue if there was no longer a path to victory."

He went on, "Our campaign has reached the point where we need more money to scale up and continue building a campaign that can win -- money we don’t have, and money that is harder to raise because I won’t be on the next debate stage and because the urgent business of impeachment will rightly be keeping me in Washington. So I’ve chosen to suspend my campaign now, take care of my wonderful staff, and give you time to consider the other strong choices in the field.

Booker, 50, who has served in the U.S. Senate since 2013 following two terms as mayor of Newark, New Jersey’s most-populated city, centered his presidential campaign around an optimistic message of unity and love, aiming to counter the division and “hate” he maimed had come to characterize politics under the presidency of Donald Trump.

"I think a lot of folks are beginning to feel that the forces that are tearing us apart in this country are stronger than the forces that tie us together. I don't believe that," Booker said on “The View” in February 2019, during his first television interview after announcing his presidential run. "So, I'm running to restore our sense of common purpose, to focus on the common pain that we have all over this country."

While the senator’s extensive resume — including degrees from Stanford and Yale and a Rhodes scholarship — media savvy and bipartisan achievements, including on criminal justice reform, led observers to believe he would be a formidable presidential candidate, Booker quickly found himself mired in the low single-digits in national polls of the crowded field shortly after launching his campaign.

Those anemic numbers would ultimately lead to the senator’s exclusion from debates in both December and January, due to Democratic Party rules requiring candidates achieve numbers above specific thresholds in order to participate. Following Sen. Kamala Harris', D-Calif., decision to drop out of the race in December, Booker became increasingly outspoken about the lack of diversity in the presidential debates and decried the circumstances that allowed the field's billionaires Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer to build name-recognition by purchasing television advertisements using their personal fortunes.

Though he previously turned in debate performances throughout the summer of 2019 that were almost universally well-reviewed, they weren’t enough to bolster the Booker’s position in the field nor boost his fundraising numbers — which he openly acknowledged last fall when his campaign embarked on a transparent push to remain in the race.

The remaining 2020 Democratic presidential field lauded Booker for working on issues of justice, equality and trying to ensure diverse coalitions work together.

The 10-day, $1.7 million late-September sprint was ultimately successful in keeping the senator in the race, and he’d go on to eventually increase his fundraising numbers in 2019’s final months, but Booker’s totals continued to pale in comparison to those of candidates in the race’s top tier, in some cases by as much as $20 million per quarter.

"Thank you, @CoryBooker. You've always been a powerful voice for justice and equality, and you've made this primary stronger," Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts wrote on Twitter. "I know you will continue to be a leader in the fight to defeat Donald Trump and build a stronger future for America.

“Cory, you campaigned with joy and heart, and instead of just talking about bringing people together, you did it every day. You made our politics better just by running. Grateful to you and looking forward to your continued leadership,” former Vice President Joe Biden tweeted.

Despite his exit from the race, Booker’s center-left platform, strong stump presence and relative youth are likely keep him in the campaign conversation as a potential running-mate for the eventual Democratic nominee. In 2016, he was vetted by the Hillary Clinton campaign for the role that was ultimately filled by his Senate colleague Tim Kaine, D-Va. The senator will appear on the New Jersey ballots regardless come November as he is up for re-election for a second full-term.

“I can’t wait to get back out on the campaign trail and campaign as hard as I can for whoever is the eventual nominee and for candidates up and down the ballot,” Booker said in the video.

Booker’s team said he will run for re-election in the Senate.

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