Alicia Machado

During the first presidential debate Hillary Clinton singled her out. “One of the worst things Trump said,” Clinton charged, “was about a woman in a beauty context…. He called this woman ‘Miss Piggy,’ then he called her ‘Miss Housekeeping’ because she was Latina.”

“Donald,” Clinton went on, “she has a name. Her name is Alicia Machado. And she has become a US citizen and you can bet she is going to vote this November!”

Obviously it was Trump who started it all – spewing anti-Latino comments from the earliest days of his presidential campaign. But if he was the one who started this fight, and if Clinton was the one who fanned this flame, it was the Venezuelan-born “beauty queen” who seized this moment. Alicia Machado took the ball and ran with it.

She went public just as soon as that first debate was over. “I lament that I could be an uncomfortable person for Mr. Trump, but that’s how things were,” she insisted, “and I know very well what he’s capable of, this man.” Moreover she never let up. Just a few days ago, in the all-important state of Florida, Machado campaigned by Clinton’s side, rallying her base. “Trump was overwhelming,” she told a pumped up crowd. “I was scared of him. He made fun of me and I didn’t know how to respond.” To her fellow Floridians she shouted in English and Spanish, “To all the Latinos, this is our election. This is our election, Latinos!”

One day before the election is the prediction it will be a breakthrough for the Latino community. If one day after the election the prediction proves prescient, a former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, will have played a leading part.

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