Donald Trump’s “Latino outreach” has ranged from the insulting (remember his Trump Tower taco bowl?) to the deadly (ignoring the crisis in Puerto Rico). In between that, he’s ended Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and his immoral mass deportation force has swept up thousands of undocumented immigrants with no criminal record, despite his claims he would target only “bad hombres.” Now on the heels of Hurricane Maria, Trump has unveiled Stephen Miller’s white supremacist immigration wish list, which Republican strategists fear will further widen the chasm between them and Latinos voters, “a rift that many in his party fear will do lasting damage to the GOP’s ability to win future elections”:
Trump’s hostile rhetoric and actions toward Latinos, Republican strategists say, could not only undercut candidates in competitive 2018 races and make the White House harder to retain in 2020 but also further tarnish a GOP brand that party leaders have struggled for years to sell to skeptical Latino voters.
“A whole generation of minority voters is essentially hearing the GOP tell them, ‘We don’t like you,’ ” said Doug Heye, a former communications director for the Republican National Committee. “That might not have sunk the GOP against a flawed candidate like Hillary Clinton, but the demographics are moving into a direction where this will be political suicide.”
“Trump’s actions have already hurt Republicans’ ability to recruit Latino candidates to run for local and state offices,” notes the Washington Post. “And they’ve become fodder in the Virginia governor’s race, as well as contests in states such as New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado and Florida, where an energized Latino turnout could tip what are expected to be competitive elections next year.” And according to leading polling firm Latino Decisions, “despite being a relatively conservative population, Florida Latinos are showing signs of pan-ethnic solidarity, particularly on immigration.” Now, scores are set to leave the party over anti-Latino animus.