Huffington Post interviewed 49 of the Newsmax’s “50 most influential Latino Republicans,” and found that about three quarters of them will not endorse presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. This news is not entirely surprising, but it does go a long way in illustrating the deep divisions Trump is sowing in his party.
Trump launched his presidential bid with a speech in which he called Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists. He plans to deport all illegal immigrants in the U.S. immediately – all 11 million of them, mostly Hispanics, most of whom are employed and law-abiding. He suggested that no Latino judge can hear any case involving him and his businesses because he wants to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it – a direct conflict of interest for anyone with Hispanic heritage that will render them incapable of making a well-reasoned legal decision.
Trump has some unorthodox positions for a Republican candidate, but his anti-Hispanic rhetoric is the clear reason why so many Latino Republicans will not support his campaign. Of the eleven interviewees who support the Trump campaign, three refused to mention Trump by name and simply stated that they would support “the Republican nominee,” and another five said that they supported Trump but had “major reservations.”
Florida Representative Carlos Curbelo said, “I could never look [my daughters] in the eye and tell them that I support someone so crass and insulting and offensive.”
Texas Representative Bill Flores said, “I will vote for him but in terms of getting my endorsement, I don’t endorse people that bash a judge based on his ethnic heritage.”
The divisions Trump is creating in his party are reflected in electoral politics more generally. Republican CBS commentator Leslie Sanchez explains, “I’m not on the anti-Trump movement like some of my colleagues who I talk to every day, but I’m far from an endorsement. Trump is having a maddening effect of turning solid red states purple. Areas that should not have gone in that direction for the next 30 years, he’s managed to do in about four months. Some of the Republican pollsters I talked to there said this should not be happening for at least a generation by natural demographic growth. Trump has accelerated that by underperforming in traditionally conservative Latino households.”
Maybe this will be a sign for Trump that it is time for him to change tack, but so far nothing has gotten through to him. Even if he were to retract all of his anti-Hispanic rhetoric from the last year, we would still be left thinking that a leopard never changes his spots.