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Trump General Election Strategy At Odds With What America Looks Like in 2016

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Frank Sharry: “Donald Trump’s campaign is not only promising a return to the good old days that never were, but is banking on an electorate that no longer exists”

Washington, DC – In an interview with Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman, Donald Trump campaign chairman and chief strategist Paul Manafort makes clear that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump will not back down from his nativist immigration platform and predicts that Trump can win the general election despite receiving historically low levels of support from the growing Latino electorate. Unfortunately for Manafort, the evidence flies in the face of his predictions about Trump’s path to victory. In fact, the Trump general election strategy seems based on a vision of a general electorate that bears little resemblance to what the American electorate actually looks like in 2016.

Relevant portions of Fineman’s interview with Manafort include the following:

“The conventional view, espoused by the Bush family and its retainer Karl Rove, is that a GOP presidential candidate needs 40 percent of the nationwide Hispanic vote to win. Trump is at roughly 20 percent.

‘The national polls are distorted,’ Manafort said. ‘To get a national sample they rely too much on Hispanics from New York and California, which is where large populations are, but also where most of the radical Hispanics are. But if you look at Hispanics in states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and even Florida, you see a different picture. We’re going to target Hispanic voters in those and other swing states. The message is going to be jobs, national security, terrorism, family values and education … In that order. Their concerns are the same as the white working families.’

So his candidate doesn’t need 40 percent of Latino voters nationwide. ‘If we get into the high 20s in those states with Hispanics, we will win them, and in Florida we can do even better if we do what we need to do in the Cuban community.’”

According to 2012 Election Eve polling from Latino Decisions, the largest-ever Latino electorate supported President Obama over Mitt Romney by a whopping 75%-23% margin (71%-27% according to media-sponsored network exit polling). Given the increase in the number and share of Latino voters expected to vote in the 2016 general electorate, and the likely composition and turnout rates among the rest of the general electorate,Latino Decisions estimates that the Republican nominee will need to win between 42-47% of Latinos to win the 2016 presidential popular vote. These numbers, coupled with predictions that the Latino vote will increase by at least 15% in this cycle, signal trouble for any Republican nominee.  And Donald Trump is not just any Republican nominee – he is historically unpopular and a motivating force for millions of Latino and immigrant voters.

Additionally, despite Manafort’s claims, we do have a number of recent state-specific Latino polls that show that Trump’s overwhelming unpopularity among Latino voters is not limited to California and New York “radicals.”

In Florida, a recent Latino Decisions poll gauged a potential head-to-head matchup between Democratic contender Hillary Clinton and Trump, finding that Florida Latinos favor Clinton by a 69%-18% margin. Further, the poll found that Trump’s views on mass deportation make Florida Latino voters “less likely” to vote for Trump, rather than “more likely,” by an 75%-10% margin.

In Colorado, Latino Decisions found that the margin is 79%-10% in favor of Clinton over Trump.

In Nevada, the margin for Clinton over Trump is 76%-13%.

Some will argue that Trump will bring out disaffected white voters in such numbers that he’ll more than make up for whatever deficit he faces with Latino voters. But the evidence for this point doesn’t seem to be adding up. For example, a recent Politico analysis of 2016 primary voting data by Shane Goldmacher, titled, “Donald Trump is Not Expanding the GOP,” found:

“While Trump’s insurgent candidacy has spurred record-setting Republican primary turnout in state after state, the early statistics show that the vast majority of those voters aren’t actually new to voting or to the Republican Party, but rather they are reliable past voters in general elections. They are only casting ballots in a Republican primary for the first time. It is a distinction with profound consequences for the fall campaign. If Trump isn’t bringing the promised wave of new voters into the GOP, it’s far less likely the Manhattan businessman can transform a 2016 Electoral College map that begins tilted against the Republican Party.”

Journalist David Bernstein pointed out in a recent Politico piece that Trump will need to capture a “whopping” 70 percent of white male voters to win the White House – a much larger percentage than any Republican has ever won, including in the landslide victories by Ronald Reagan (63%) in 1984 and George H.W. Bush (63%) in 1988, as well as a much higher total than the 62% who backed Mitt Romney in 2012. Yet, a new Bloomberg polling finds that, “Donald Trump trails Hillary Clinton by 7 percentage points among middle-income voters in the Rust Belt” states of MI, OH, PA, and WI. Among just white working class voters in these states, the new poll finds Trump winning by a narrow 44%-40% margin.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “Donald Trump’s campaign is not only promising a return to the good old days that never were but is banking on an electorate that no longer exists. As a result of the unmistakable demographic trends — a shrinking number of non-college educated white males and a growing number of Latino and Asian-American voters – the Trump theory of winning comes across more as wishful thinking than realistic strategy.”

Follow Frank Sharry and America’s Voice on Twitter: @FrankSharry and @AmericasVoice

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