Remember way back to 2013, when Barack Obama had won re-election and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, captured an anemic share of the Latino vote? The Republican national party did a post-mortem on what went wrong, and came up with a must-do prescription: reach out to more African American, Asian, and Latino voters:
The $10 million outreach effort to includes hiring national political directors for Hispanic, Asian-Pacific and African American voters and elevating minorities within the party. “We’ve done a real lousy job sometimes of bragging about the success that we’ve had” with minorities, in particular Hispanic candidates, Priebus said. To target African Americans, he plans to launch a pilot project in 2013 mayoral races aimed at identifying and turning out potential supporters in urban areas.
Fast forward to summer of 2015. The GOP front-runner is a celebrity businessman who launched his bid for the nomination by calling Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers.
Not surprisingly, Gallup’s daily tracking poll finds Donald Trump doing unbelievably awful among Latino voters, with 65 percent viewing him unfavorably and 14 percent favorably for a net favorable score of -51.
Again, in a crowded GOP field, Trump is the front-runner. And he’s sucking up all the media oxygen. What’s more dispiriting to those who would like politicians of any party to engage in less incendiary rhetoric, the other GOP candidates are doing a “me too.”
Jeb Bush dropped the “anchor babies” bomb last week. You know, that’s where hordes of Mexican women cross the border and have their babies, thereby “anchoring” them in the U.S., giving them sweet, sweet, citizenship. It’s considered a pejorative, and frankly there’s not much evidence that this so-called practice is a big issue in immigration. But it sure does rile up nativist voters. Then this week Jeb launched his “insult every group” strategy by clarifying that in using the anchor babies term, he was really referring to Asians.
Oh yes, he did. Now, in 2015, walk-backs include a high kick to the face of someone else.
The GOP candidates are dancing to Trump’s tune. It’s ugly and it’s pathetic. And the longer it goes on the slimmer any GOP candidate’s chances are of capturing minority votes. So much for that 2013 post-mortem.
The latest flap includes Trump removing Gorge Ramos of Univision from his press conference. For trying to ask a question about Trump’s immigration plan, aside from his stated plan that “it’s all about management,” and “we’ll build a beautiful wall.”
“Go back to Univision,” he told Ramos. Sounds a little like “go back to Mexico,” doesn’t it?
The political site Talkingpointsmemo.com makes the case that Trump’s actions will have a scorched earth effect, keeping Latinos and other minorities away from the party not just in this election, but for many elections to come:
As the New York Times reported, it’s not just Ramos, but Spanish-speaking media on the whole has been more critical of Trump than general market news. Analysis by the nonpartisan media analytics company Two.42.Solutions showed that 80 percent of Spanish-speaking media coverage of Trump focused on his immigration views — as opposed to 58 percent of Trump’s mention in mainstream news — and that coverage has been largely negative, according to the Times.
According to a separate soon-to-be published study by Sergio I. Garcia-Rios, a Latino Studies professor at Cornell University, Latinos who pay close attention to Spanish-speaking media are more likely to be politically active.
“This is not only media, it is media in Spanish, and for the most part we understand that as being Jorge Ramos,” Garcia-Rios told TPM. “This is even among English speakers, who prefer to use English at home. Those who watch news in Spanish, they’re more likely to be excited about politics and more likely to participate.”
Yep. And they’re more likely to vote for the Democrat. If Trump prevails in winning the nomination, something unthinkable just a few months ago, he may have negative coattails, hurting GOP candidates’ chances down ticket across the country. The GOP will be seen as a white nativist anti-immigrant party, riding that tiger all the way to defeat for a generation.