Strongly negative views of Trump have intensified over the past seven months, as the New York billionaire has repeatedly pressed his call to build a wall along the length of the U.S.-Mexico border and seek to deport undocumented immigrants currently residing in the country.
Today, 8 in 10 Hispanic voters have an unfavorable view of Trump. That includes more than 7 in 10 who have a “very unfavorable” impression of him, which is more than double the percentage of any other major candidate.
Those findings compare with a Univision survey taken around the time of Trump’s announcement last summer, when just more than 7 in 10 had a negative view of him and fewer than 6 in 10 said they had a “very unfavorable” impression.
Should Trump become the Republican nominee, his current low standing among Hispanic voters could jeopardize the party’s hopes of winning the general election in November. In current matchups with Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, Trump scores worse among Hispanics than any of the three other leading Republican candidates — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
This will probably be dismissed with a, “So what, they weren’t going to vote Republican anyway” attitude by most people, and in any other election year I would probably agree.
While it is true that the GOP has to do better with Hispanic voters, it can’t do it in a freebie giveaway pandering game with the Democrats, which, unfortunately, it’s been leaning towards. The case for economic liberty and who can best insure that needs to be made. Republicans need to first once again become the party that unequivocally guarantees it and then it needs to communicate that fact, but it’s not there just yet.
Because of the clumsy approach to Hispanic outreach by the GOP, all it is really left with this year is figuring out how to manage potential narratives. There is a tendency to believe that all Hispanic-American voters side with the Democrats on illegal immigration. As someone who has lived in the Southwestern United States his whole life I can assure you that this is not the case. It need not be the default forever either.
A Trump nomination will only make the “GOP hates all minorities!” crowd become more vocal, and more likely than not, more well funded. Get ready for a general election filled with ads that feature comments from the tweets of every white nationalist freak who likes Trump. It doesn’t matter that they’re a fringe, the press, when it does its customary about-face and turns on the GOP nominee it liked during the primaries, will spend 24 hours a day eviscerating Trump on this issue.
Yes, they’ll play the “Well, he’s not a real Hispanic…” card with Rubio or Cruz if either is the nominee, but that’s the kind of thing that can be turned against them in the long run if handled properly.
The biggest nightmare scenario in this election is still a Hillary Clinton presidency. We have to start parsing where the competitive advantages are and perhaps avoiding giving extra energy, volume, and cash to portions of the electorate that may propel her to victory.