A speech from a little-known State Senator from Kentucky was one of the many awkward moments (Thanks, Ted!) from last night’s Republican National Convention, not for what he said, but how he said it.
State Senator Ralph Alvarado, the first Latino elected to state office in the state, delivered a portion of his speech in Spanish, urging his fellow Latino voters to cast their ballots for Donald Trump.
“To my Hispanic brothers and sisters,” he said in Spanish. “Our families fled from countries full of corruption and and lying politicians. Please don’t let that misery happen in this country as well. We live on an island of liberty and opportunity, please vote to protect that. Vote with me. Vote Republican. Vote Donald Trump.”
The crowd ate it up, probably because he was the “right” kind of Latino to deliver it, and not one of those “illegals” that speakers have spent each of the three nights (so far) of the very-pale convention demonizing and scapegoating for all your problems.
Even more awkward was that Alavardo’s speech was then followed by a slew of noted bigots who have railed on others for bilingualism — and even daring to pronounce a Spanish name correctly. The horror!
Up first was the notoriously xenophobic Laura Ingraham, who during the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform fight said that passage would turn the United States into a “hellhole” and “the third world.”
Always prone to dramatics, Ingraham once even pitched a fit over journalist José Díaz-Balart translating on-air for his Spanish-speaking interviewee, asking “Does he need to pronounce her name correctly!? María Cruz Ramírez, María Cruz Ramírez. What if they were in Pakistan?”
Next on the stage was former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who in 2011 reportedly was taking Spanish-language lessons in order to mingle with wealthy Latino conservatives at a gala thrown by one of his organizations for a cool $1,149 a head.
But for the rest of us regular Latino folk, Newt once railed on bilingualism, calling Spanish “the language of living in a ghetto.” Newt was later forced to record an non-apology apology video — in Spanish, no less — after his former opponent Mitt Romney made it an issue during the 2012 Presidential campaign.
Then there came the Trumpiest of them all, the man himself. During this past Republican primary race, Donald Trump once berated his opponent Jeb Bush during a national televised debate for speaking Spanish, bellowing that “this is a country where we speak English, not Spanish.”
After that line-up, it then shouldn’t shock Republicans that a full 87% of Latino voters have either a “very” or “somewhat” unfavorable opinion of Trump (79% “very unfavorable”), while just 9% few him as “very” or “somewhat” favorable.
And, the Trumpification of the GOP is dragging down the party, too. Nearly 3-of-4 Latino voters say the Republican Party “doesn’t care too much about Latinos” (42%) or that the GOP is “sometimes hostile towards Latinos” (31%), while just 14% say the Republican Party “truly cares about the Latino community.”
You’re gonna need a whole lot more of those taco bowls, Don.