As we noted earlier today, there’s no denying Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign has ignited a fire in the Latino community, both here at home and abroad.
Latinos are poised to play a pivotal role in the 2016 Presidential election, and they are already flexing their cultural, political, and economic muscle by pushing Univision, NBC, Macy’s, and a host of other companies to dump the candidate in response to his racist remarks about Mexicans.
“What Trump has done is pull back the thin veil of racism underlying the immigration debate” among the Republican base, said Mayor Mark Holland of Kansas City, which hosted this week’s NCLR conference (attended by all Democratic Presidential candidates and exactly zero GOP Presidential candidates).
“Holland said Trump’s unapologetic bashing of Mexicans has started ‘a great coming-out party’ for Latinos, who are saying, ‘We are here. We don’t have to pretend we are not.’”
“Even Latinos who haven’t paid much attention to politics are tuning in — Trump’s remarks are featured prominently on Spanish-language television, Facebook and Twitter, and anti-Trump chants have become wildly popular at televised soccer matches,” said the Post.
Meanwhile, Republican candidates for President have no idea what to do about Trump other than offer tepid responses to his crazy-guy-from-the-subway ranting. Even Jeb Bush — married to a Mexican immigrant and father to Mexican-American children — offered no rebuke for nearly two weeks, disappointing many in the Latino and immigrant communities who had hoped the self-described “Hispanic” candidate would differ from his GOP colleagues on immigration.
So much of the problem for Republicans is that, stripping Trump’s incendiary style from his rhetoric, his policies aren’t that much different from the rest of the GOP field.
So long as the Republican base is attached to his style and positions — a second new poll has him in very first place nationally among all Republicans — the party is sure to face electoral decimation in the upcoming general election among Latino, Asian-American, and immigrant voters.
Latinos have “reached a turning point,” said Carlos Gomez, president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City. They realize they have clout, especially if they stand together, noting that Latino purchasing power is estimated at more than $1.5 trillion.
Before Trump started his anti-Mexican rant, Macy’s had been making a pitch to Latinos, Gomez said, recalling a prominent ad by the retailer featuring mariachis this spring.
“It’s a special time” he said, because big U.S. corporations are standing with them, telling them they matter.
He said the message Latinos are hearing is: “You are the customer. You are the voter.”