While other 2016 United States presidential candidates downplay their opposition to illegal immigration, Donald Trump isn’t afraid to bring his racism and negative assumptions about immigrants to the forefront. In order for Trump to win the Latino vote, he needs to change his mindset and instead positively and genuinely engage with the Latino community.
Many people want to cross the United States-Mexico border because they dream of a better life for their families and more diverse educational opportunities for their kids, but Trump has continuously painted immigrants as criminals and degenerates.
A pollster working for Sen. Marco Rubio’s campaign predicted that Republicans will need 40 percent of the Hispanic vote to win the 2016 election.
During the 2012 presidential race, the Hispanic electorate accounted for 8.4 percent of total voters, according to Law Street Media. Although this number doesn’t seem significant, and isn’t when it comes to the popular vote, Hispanic voters make up larger portions of the eligible voting population of key electoral college states. Eligible Hispanic voters account for 40.1 percent of eligible voters in New Mexico, 27.4 percent in Texas, 26.9 percent in California, 20.3 percent in Arizona, 17.1 percent in Florida, 15.9 percent in Nevada and 13.2 percent in New York, according to the Pew Research Center.
Despite the growing number of Latino voters, Trump has continued to judge Mexican immigrants. The moment that Trump categorized Mexican immigrants as “rapists” in his presidential announcement is the moment that he lost the majority of the Latino vote.
NBC cancelled their relationship with Trump in June in the wake of Trump’s comments and dropped his produced shows with the network, including “Miss Universe,” “Miss USA” and “The Apprentice,” according to Business Insider.
Trump met privately with Javier Palomarez, the CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, at Trump Tower Sept. 2 in Manhattan. Palomarez told CNN in an interview after the meeting that Trump said he “did not need” the Hispanic vote, referring to his high poll numbers. Trump denied ever saying this, telling CNN’s Don Lemon, “No, I never said you don’t need the Hispanics. I think I am going to win the Hispanics. I never said that.”
Despite what he thinks, Trump will not get the Latino vote. Trump has said that he is in favor of deportation and he wants to take away birthright citizenship for children born to parents who came to the U.S. illegally, according to Fox News.
Trump is also in favor of building a wall along the border and kicked Jorge Ramos, a respected Mexican journalist, out of his press conference in Ohio Aug. 25 and told him to “go back to Univision.”
Trump’s racist comments about illegal immigration and his anti-immigrant positions have cost him crucial support among the Latino population. President Barack Obama won 71 percent of the Latino vote in 2012, according to the Pew Research Center. Judging from the GOP candidates’ positions on immigration issues, especially Trump’s, the Democratic nominee will likely win the Latino vote in the general election in 2016.
Trump’s comments and behavior compromise the GOP’s attempt to reach out to Latino voters in the 2016 election. Even worse, his rhetoric builds a fallacious image of the Latino community in the United States that no one should stand for.