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So much for “the Hispanics love me,” Donald Trump.
The Republican candidate’s bigoted remarks already have him in the hole when it comes to the vital Latino voter demographic, with evidence showing he’s dragging down the GOP along with him (YUGE bad news when you need 47% of Latino voters in order to win the White House in 2016).
Now a host of Latino leaders, activists, and artists have penned an open letter with People For the American Way urging Latino and immigrant voters to rebuke the GOP and “vote for candidates who support our community.”
Among the signers are civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, America Ferrera, Wilson Cruz, Lisa Guerrero, George Lopez, Benjamin Bratt, Carlos Santana, Zoe Saldana, and Aubrey Plaza:
An Open Letter to the Latino Community:
In this year’s 2016 Republican presidential primary, the candidates crossed a line. In trying to win the nomination, every one of the leading candidates dug themselves into a deep hole pandering to the anti-immigrant base of the Republican Party that idolizes Donald Trump.
There’s no coming back from this. We’ve seen clearly that all the leading Republican candidates have sided with the far-right at the expense of the Latino community.
They’re capitalizing on negative stereotypes and inaccurate information about our community in order to win votes from the GOP base.
Of course, this downward spiral began with Trump. From accusing Mexicans of being rapists to kicking Jorge Ramos out of his press conference, Trump has spent the entirety of his presidential bid stoking unfounded anti-immigrant fears and deeply offending our communities.
We must not, though, let Trump’s xenophobia overshadow the extreme policies being pushed by every single one of the GOP’s leading presidential candidates. Latinos should understand that Donald Trump embodies the true face of the entire Republican Party. Sadly, he speaks for the GOP’s anti-immigrant, anti-Latino agenda.
Candidates – including supposed “moderates” like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio – used dangerous, divisive rhetoric and proposed harmful policies in their efforts to win over Trump’s radical supporters. Jeb Bush’s unapologetic use of the term “anchor babies” aligns with his belief that undocumented immigrants here in the U.S. should not have a path to citizenship. His statement that “we should not have a multicultural society” is indefensible. Marco Rubio said that “we must secure our border, the physical border, with a wall, absolutely.” He’s ruled out any path to citizenship or legal status during his term(s) as president if elected. Chris Christie suggested that immigrants should be tracked like FedEx packages.
The candidates cannot come back from these hardline stances. Trump is certainly an outlier for his racist remarks. But the rest of the Republican presidential candidates went off the deep end with him.
Our communities have the power to decide who wins in the 2016 election. We hope that power is used to vote for candidates who support our community, share our values, and will fight for working families. Neither Trump nor any of his fellow Republican candidates meet that standard.
Even if the eventual Republican nominee backtracks on his or her anti-immigrant sentiments, we must not forget that we’ve now seen that in the face of bigotry, the Republican candidates have chosen to turn their backs on our community. The current slate of GOP candidates has proven to us that they’ve joined and embraced the party of Trump.
The signers join a massive line of Latin@ performers who have denounced Donald Trump’s offensive rhetoric about Latinos and immigrants, including Ricky Martin, Shakira, Maná, Gloria Estefan, and Esai Morales. But Latinos aren’t only getting mad, either. There are signs Latinos are mobilizing voter registrations, citizenship drives, and are actively participating in first-in-the-nation caucuses.
“The GOP is on course to create a turbo-charged version of the 2012 cycle that could make the Republicans’ past problems with Latino voters look quaint,” AV’s Frank Sharry has noted.