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A Latino voter oversample in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll released this week finds that 75% of Latino voters view Donald Trump negatively. Only 13% view him positively. This is unsurprising, given Trump’s racist remarks about immigrants, along with his more recent embrace of a mass deportation vision.
While it’s tempting to see Trump as an outlier, he seems to be driving the Party’s approach to immigration both on the campaign trail and in Congress. As Frank Wilkinson argues in a new Bloomberg View editorial, Trump’s views echo other Republican policymakers’ vision. Wilkinson writes, Trump is “merely putting in plain language an idea that Republican restrictionists, such as Representative Steve King of Iowa and Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, have already supported. The Republican House has passed legislation to eliminate President Barack Obama’s executive actions protecting undocumented immigrants from deportation.”
The Bloomberg View editorial goes on to assess the prohibitive costs associated with a mass deportation plan but argues that one positive outcome of Trump’s embrace of the mass deportation vision is that it could force other GOP contenders to move past their carefully scripted talking points and explicitly embrace or reject that approach:
“A ‘federal dragnet’ capable of snaring all the undocumented immigrants in the U.S. over five years would cost about $200 billion, according to the pro-immigration (and liberal) Center for American Progress — assuming that 20 percent of them would depart voluntarily once the effort got started.
“The pro-immigration (and conservative) American Action Forum is less sanguine. It reported that a combination of forcible and voluntary deportation would cost $420 to $619 billion over 20 years. Meanwhile, real gross domestic product would decline by 5.7 percent, or almost $1.6 trillion.
“Provided that most Americans become willing to see the economy shrink and to shoulder hundreds of billions in additional government spending, deportation policy makers could move on to the logistics of removal. Along with funding, this is an excellent topic for Thursday’s Republican presidential debate. What other candidates support mass deportation?
“… If Trump or any other Republicans are serious about mass deportation, they should have a real conversation about it this week — about its budgetary costs, along with its economic, human and diplomatic costs. Lay out the details, and explain what it would take to accomplish.
“Those who oppose investing hundreds of billions in a policy shift of this magnitude might want to take the opportunity to make their views clear, too.”
The shift to the right among Republican leaders is having an effect on the Party’s reputation with voters the GOP needs to win in order to re-take the White House. For example, in the NBC/WSJ/Telemundo polling, Latinos have a negative view of the Republican Party by a nearly a 2:1 margin. Only 25% of Latinos view the party positively, while 51% view the Democratic party positively. And since it is likely that the Trump Effect will be a factor for some time, it’s likely that his fellow Republicans will keep bowing to the anti-immigrant wing of the Party. It’s also likely these negative ratings will get worse.
As Markos Moulitsas captures in his column in The Hill, Trump’s emergence is the next stage in the decades-long embrace of the Southern Strategy:
“Conservatives have convinced themselves they’re the silent American majority, so why should they tiptoe around their actual beliefs? Why are they so afflicted with Republicans afraid to shout their conservatism loud and clear?
“And that’s the void Trump now fills, saying what Republicans think but are generally too smart to say out loud. And the base loves him for it.
“So whether it is ‘investigating’ President Obama’s birth certificate, painting all Latinos as rapists or claiming that ‘you won’t see another black president for generations’ because of Obama and that’s bad for ‘all the African-American people’ (no one claims George W. Bush ruined the presidency for ‘all the white people,’ do they?), Trump has replaced the dog whistle with a solid-gold bullhorn.”
In doing so, it’s difficult to imagine how the Republican nominee can win enough of the Latino vote – estimated to be between 42% and 47% – that will be necessary to take back the White House next year.