New, must-read analysis by James Hohmann in the Washington Post political newsletter, “The Daily 202,” explains how the Trump Administration’s stunning decision to put 200,000 Salvadoran-Americans on a path to deportation is the latest in a long line of actions against Latinos that have broader implications for the Republican Party.
Titled, “Trump systematically alienates the Latino diaspora – from El Salvador to Puerto Rico and Mexico,” Hohmann recaps how the President and his administration’s obsession with the boondoggle border wall; gross negligence of Puerto Rico; pardon of convicted criminal Joe Arpaio; TPS decisions that destabilize Latino families; and termination of the popular DACA program add up to a body of work that “systematically alienates” Latino voters from the GOP.
And it’s only been one year into the Trump Administration.
Key excerpts are below:
A Manchurian Candidate who was secretly trying to alienate Hispanics would be hard pressed to do as much damage to the Republican brand as President Trump.
The administration announced Monday that it will terminate the provisional residency permits of about 200,000 Salvadorans who have lived in the United States since at least 2001, leaving them to face deportation. Trump previously ended what is known as Temporary Protected Status for Nicaraguans and Haitians, and he’s expected to cut off Hondurans later this year.
This is part of a strategic, full-court press to make America less hospitable to immigrants, both legal and illegal…Trump created an artificial political crisis by announcing the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows about 700,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children to avoid deportation and obtain work permits.
…Outside Washington, Trump’s pardon of Joe Arpaio after he was convicted of contempt of court for ignoring a federal judge’s order to stop racially profiling spoke volumes to Hispanics who see the former Arizona sheriff as a bogeyman. The president is also expected to travel later this month to look at prototypes of possible border walls, creating a visual that his base will love but will further galvanize Latinos.
More consequently, Trump threatened to abandon Puerto Rico’s recovery in October if people on the island didn’t express more gratitude for his efforts in the wake of Hurricane Maria. He has downplayed the death toll, thrown rolls of paper towels at people who lost everything and personally attacked the mayor of San Juan. Meanwhile, many still don’t have power – and electricity might not be fully restored until May. Adding insult to injury, Puerto Rico is one of the biggest losers in the GOP tax bill.
The continuing humanitarian crisis has triggered a massive influx of Puerto Ricans to the mainland, specifically the perennial political battleground of Florida. Unlike those who benefit from TPS, the Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. So they can easily register to vote. Their collective anger at Trump makes that likely.
Trump’s nativism may cost Republicans Senate seats this year in Arizona and Nevada, as well as several House seats across the Sunbelt. The party’s top recruit for the Florida Senate race, outgoing Gov. Rick Scott, could opt not to run if the political atmospherics continue to be this bad.
But the much bigger issue is the long-term damage that Trump is inflicting on his adopted party. When they look back a century from now, historians will likely write that immigration and health care were the defining issues of our time. Five years after the Republican National Committee’s “autopsy” of the 2012 election highlighted the urgency of appealing to Latinos, Trump is driving his party down the same path that Pete Wilson followed in California when he embraced Proposition 187 to get reelected in 1994. He won a Pyrrhic victory. The Golden State GOP can’t even field a credible candidate for governor or Senate in California this year…