The Democratic Nevada caucuses are coming up in just two days, and Hillary Clinton, strategizing how to reach the state’s sizable Democratic Latino vote—presently split between Clinton and Sanders—has released a new ad there entitled “Brave.”
It depicts Clinton on a Latino-targeted campaign stop on Valentine’s Day, during which a young girl told Clinton that she’s worried her parents will be deported as she burst into tears. In the clip, Clinton beckons her to her lap and tells her in a comforting voice, “I’m going to do everything I can so you don’t have to be scared. And you don’t have to worry about what happens to your mom or your dad or somebody else in your family. I feel really, really strongly, but you’re being very brave. And you have to be brave for them too, because they want you to be happy, they want you to be successful, they don’t want you to worry too much. Let me do the worrying... I’ll do everything I can to help, okay?”
While it’s deeply affecting—one of the women in the audience is crying, and you might, too—it also seems like, in appealing to our emotions, the most important person in this scenario may have gotten lost: that little girl. She looks to be about seven years of age at most, so it’s feasible that she may not be able to understand the nuances between Hillary Clinton making a general promise about her immigration policy if she is elected, and Hillary Clinton personally promising her that her parents—who, as she says, have a deportation letter—will not be deported. (As the New York Times put it: “The ad makes no real verifiable claims,” but Clinton supports a path to citizenship, DREAM, and ending detention centers.)
Clinton’s Latino outreach director, Lorella Praeli, is well acquainted with the reality behind it: the daughter of undocumented Peruvian immigrants who brought her to the US at age ten, she is a DREAM Act advocate and former policy director for United We DREAM. So while it’s effective to appeal to the emotions of Latinxs in Nevada—whose Latino population ranks 14th in the US, with 738,000 in the 2014 census—it also leaves an important narrative unanswered. Who is that girl? What will happen to her? What will happen to her parents?
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