The Complicated Trump-Hispanic Relationship

As Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump suffers blowback from the Latino community in the wake of his hardline immigration policy address on Wednesday, a faction of conservative Latino voters have redoubled their support for the candidate. Last night, one supporter’s comments sparked #tacotrucksoneverycorner.
“My culture is a very dominant culture, and it’s imposing and it’s causing problems. If you don’t do something about it, you’re going to have taco trucks on every corner,” – Marco Gutierrez, founder of Latinos for Trump
Mr. Gutierrez communicates a view heard lately from Latinos backing Trump who believe the U.S. needs stronger borders to retain its identity and protect itself from Mexico’s problems.
It’s a protectionist stance from a member of the minority group under discrimination that many find hard to reconcile. “I don’t even know what that means,” MSNBC host Joy Reid said in response to Gutierrez’s comment, “and I’m almost afraid to ask.”

Latino Leaders Pull Support

According to recent polls, it appears that Gutierrez is part of a shrinking constituency. A recent poll shows Mr. Trump favored by a dismal 19% of Latino voters, down from prior results showing the candidate with support from 24% of the demographic. In addition, many key Latino Trump surrogates have pulled their support for the candidate since his address in Phoenix on Wednesday, in which the candidate unveiled a 10-point plan to solve illegal immigration. One part of his plan includes the creation of a “deportation task force”.
At least two of the 23 members on Trump’s National Hispanic Advisory Council have resigned since Wednesday. Many others have expressed deep concern over the candidate’s new immigration policies.
“I believe Mr. Trump lost the election tonight,” Ramiro Pena, a member of the council, wrote RNC officials in an email Wednesday night. “The ‘National Hispanic Advisory Council’ seems to be simply for optics and I do not have the time or energy for a scam.”
President of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principals, Alfonso Aguilar, went on CNN to publically withdraw his support from the candidate. “I’m terrified about Hillary Clinton, so I decided to support [Trump], and I thought that we could work with him and the campaign to move him to the center on immigration. And the initial response was very good.”
However, Trump’s immigration speech was a turning point for Aguilar.
“It’s even worse than what he initially proposed,” he said. “I’m telling you today, I’m withdrawing my support from Donald Trump. And it’s not just me. Many like me think the same way.”
Things Look to Remain Complicated
Trump is certainly not the first Republican candidate to struggle with courting the Latino vote. However, his rhetoric and posturing has continued to alienate the demographic. It can seem like, whenever Mr. Trump isn’t sermonizing on the degradation caused by illegal immigration, he’s to be found pandering with stunts like his taco bowl tweet on Cinco de Mayo, in which the caption read ‘I love Hispanic!”
Polls indicate Latino voters respond more positively to genuine outreach. With his continually brazen stance on immigration, the Republican candidate is putting his faith in the Marco Gutierrezes out there. He’ll need one on every corner if he is to win the minority votes needed for any candidate to carry an election in today’s America.

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