While the other TX-15 candidates run against each other, Michelle Vallejo is running against a Republican strategy that exploits divisions to keep us struggling, say guest columnists.

With the future of Texas’s 15th Congressional District at stake, Michelle Vallejo is the only viable candidate to keep TX-15 blue. That is because Michelle is the only candidate running against the biggest obstacle to a thriving RGV: the right’s strategic racism.

Republicans running at all levels of government are shaming and blaming the border and immigrants. You might think their sensationalized campaign rhetoric is just a set of misguided talking points by Republicans who don’t understand our home and our families.

In fact, it is a concerted effort to get citizens of all backgrounds and beliefs pointing the finger at each other while they use the border to rig the rules of the economy for the richest 1%.

Here’s how the strategy works. People across the nation are struggling with higher medical costs, stagnant wages, and increased debt. At the same time, government investment in schools, infrastructure and social programs is down.

That creates real economic anxieties. The strategy exploits that anxiety by pointing the finger at immigrants at the border for the hard times all working people face.

Then, they make cuts to the programs we depend on, like Social Security, Medicare and school funding. Meanwhile, the border security industry is handed million dollar contracts to militarize our region and pad their own profits.

But surely border residents see through their veiled racism, you might ask.

Maybe the best answer is to look at TX-15 Republican candidate Monica De La Cruz’s first TV ad filmed right in front of the border wall.

The strategy is just as potent here as north of the checkpoint. In fact, TX-15 was redrawn in redistricting precisely so that this strategy would have a stronger foothold here.

This strategic racism and xenophobia hurts us all – young and old, men and women, white, black and brown. It exploits divisions among border residents, undermines democratic candidates, and keeps our region struggling.

Strategic racism is the real opponent in November. And no other candidate but Michelle Vallejo is up to the task of defeating it.

In fact, the other democratic candidates are blind to it. Or worse, feed into it.

Ruben Ramirez recently said that he agrees with reinstating the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy. On its face, the scheme is immoral: harm thousands of children and asylum seekers by keeping them stranded in Mexico away from the families and loved ones ready to receive them in the U.S.

But beyond that, the program is used by Trump and some Republicans to create spectacles of “chaos” and “invasion” at the border that spread racial and economic anxieties and exploit divisions.

Michelle Vallejo understands that a winning strategy in November is to call out the ways that these divide and conquer tactics hurt us all.

As an entrepreneur and a community organizer, Michelle knows that South Texans pull through by pulling together. We create opportunities when none are given to us. We lend each other a hand to build our homes, neighborhoods, and small businesses from the ground up. We invest our dreams in every brick we lay, in every crop we pick, in every child we educate and every patient we cure.

She knows that we can unite across our differences and fight together for the things that all RGV families need. Things like Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, free public college and trade school, and ending student loan debt.

Our home can only thrive when we defeat the strategy that uses racism strategically to divide us and pad the profits of the richest 1%. Michelle Vallejo is the only candidate with the message, the experience and the heart to defeat that strategy and unite citizens around the strength and dignity of our region. Let’s win an RGV worthy of all by electing Michelle Vallejo to represent Texas’s 15th Congressional District on March 1st.

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by Daniel Diaz and Jacqueline Arias. Diaz is Director of Organizing for LUPE Votes. Arias is Civic Engagement Organizer for LUPE Votes. 

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