by Peter Laboy
Donald Trump has vowed to build a wall. He has called Mexicans “criminals” and “rapists” and has vowed to deport 11 million immigrants if elected. Trump has successfully taken advantage of the perceived betrayal felt by the Republican constituency at the hands of their party and now could potentially become the most powerful person in the world come November. I am one of those Latinos who is ecstatic that Trump has become the Republican nominee…just not for the reasons you might think. Trump’s candidacy will mean a Republican Party in disarray, it will mean a lopsided National election in favor of the Democratic Party, and, eventually, a reclamation of congress by the Democratic Party.
It is no secret that Trump’s most passionate supporters view his “candidness” as his strongest trait. We have to be real with ourselves. Humans love drama and excitement. Trump’s candidacy may scare most rational Americans half to death, but the man sure makes for an incredibly entertaining election. Amusingly though, if this trend continues, his perceived best trait will also be that which galvanizes his opposition and ensures defeat for the Republican party. No group will benefit more from a Trump nomination than Latinos. Historically, Latinos have had the lowest voter turnout rate of any demographic, but with the threat of a Trump Presidency, Latinos might finally flex their political muscle. Voter turnout during the 2016 primaries at 14.4% was the second highest since 1988, and the trend is likely to continue into the November general election. Trump’s strong opinions have not only strengthened Latino opposition, but have even begun to alienate some of his supporters. Some Latino Republicans have, up to now, have been able to ignore Trump’s lack of credible policy, his racist rhetoric, and his incredibly unbalanced temperament, in hopes that he might eventually soften his stance on immigration. In recent weeks, there were some signs that Trump may be doing just that. Last month Trump met with his National Hispanic Advisory Council, allegedly to hear concerns over his harsh stance on immigration. The meeting left many Latinos hopeful of potential change, but recent anti-immigrant speeches in Arizona have sunk these hopes and led many to revoke their support for the controversial candidate.
The Republican party’s failure to convert many Latino voters to its side is a bad sign for their future viability and success. If the 2012 election is any indicator, Trump will find the road to the Presidency to be a difficult one. In 2012, 71% of Latinos, 94% of African-Americans and 55% of women voted Democrat. While these numbers may be a bit skewed because of the role of identity politics (the tendency for people of a particular religion, race, social background to support members of their own demographic) this upcoming election should bring out similar trends. A reduction in African-American votes in favor of the Democratic Party candidate is possible, but any change would likely be offset by an increase in the percentage of women who vote Democrat. Polls indicate that Trump’s sexist rhetoric has also alienated women voters, with only 20% of women holding even a positive opinion of him. Historically, women are generally more likely to vote Democrat, but a Trump candidacy would greatly intensify this trend. Furthermore, the Latino population continues to rise at the highest pace of any demographic and, thus, makes up a larger portion of registered voters than in the past with Latinos accounting for just under 90% of the growth in the number of registered Democrats in the past decade. Latino voters are registering across the country with the specific intention of prohibiting a Trump victory. In 2012 Mitt Romney acquired 27% of the Latino vote while in 2008 John McCain acquired 33% of the demographic, yet neither election was particularly close. To put Trump’s candidacy in perspective, Trump projects to acquire only 24% of the Latino vote. Perhaps the most alarming poll for Republicans shows that just over half of Republican primary voters held a positive opinion of Trump, whereas 72% of Republicans held a positive opinion of Romney in 2012. Party disunity and Trump’s lack of appeal with women and voters of color paint an ominous picture for the party to say the least. Assuming the trend continues, and minorities continue to vote Democrat, the 2016 Presidential election should mirror 2012 with another landslide victory for the Democratic Party.
http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/examining- trump-s- problem-female- voters-n544901
http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-01- 27/trump-effect-driving-push- for-latino- voter-registration
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/06/10/turnout- was-high- in-the- 2016-primary- season-but-just-short- of-2008- record/
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/gop-hispanics- dump-trump- after-arizona- immigration-speech-n641131