Thursday, June 2, 2016

Trump’s toxicity

The Daily 202: Hispanic RNC staffer’s resignation spotlights Trump’s toxicity and the party’s failed outreach
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The Daily 202
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Hispanic RNC staffer’s resignation spotlights Trump’s toxicity and the party’s failed outreach
Donald Trump speaks last night at a rally in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)</p>
Donald Trump speaks last night at a rally in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
THE BIG IDEA: Donald Trump is doing to the national GOP brand in 2016 what Proposition 187 did to California Republicans in 1994. He continues to inflict lasting, perhaps irreparable, damage to the party’s image among Hispanics. It is not hyperbole to say that Trumpism could relegate the party of Abraham Lincoln to long-term minority status.
Just how anathema is Trump to Latinos? The head of Hispanic media relations for the Republican National Committee, Ruth Guerra, has resigned her post after two years and will take a less prestigious job at a super PAC,which focuses on down-ballot races and thus will not require her to defend him.
Sources said Guerra, who grew up in Texas and is of Mexican descent, grew increasingly exhausted with having to defend The Donald on TV and in public appearances, especially as he continues to attack Hispanics. "I'm so proud of her,” a Hispanic Republican told our Ed O’Keefe last night. "I don't know how she held on for this long."
“It is relatively rare for party staff members to leave the national committee in the midst of a presidential campaign unless they are going to work directly for the nominee,” noted the New York Times, which first reported the story. “Ms. Guerra declined to discuss her feelings about Mr. Trump.”
-- It’s not just Latinos: The RNC’s director of African American outreach and communications director for black media both left the committee in March.
Trump confers with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)</p>
Trump confers with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
-- Notably, the best replacement that Reince Priebus’s leadership team could find for Guerra is someone who has repeatedly trashed the party’s presumptive nominee – which will undercut her effectiveness in the job. Helen Aguirre Ferre, a former Spanish-language conservative radio talk show host whose father-in-law was the first Hispanic mayor of Miami, helped Jeb Bush during the primaries. O’Keefe rounds up some of her anti-Trump comments:
  • In mid-May, she tweeted out a poll suggesting Miami-area Cuban Americans would leave the GOP if Trump won the nomination. She’s since deleted the post.
  • On May 8, she appeared on Ruth Guerra,  with Jorge Ramos and agreed that a segment of the Republican Party will not unite around Trump. She retweeted the show's tweet about her comments -- but recently deleted that too.
  • She’s also on tape ripping into Trump for his offensive comments about Columba Bush, who was born in Mexico.
"You can have all the Helens you want, but if the candidate continues with his rhetoric and proposals, you're not going to win Latinos," Alfonso Aguilar, a Hispanic conservative activist who knows Guerra and Aguirre Ferre, told O’Keefe last night. "There's a problem in terms of tone and policy. It's going to be tough for Helen -- I don't know how you do it."
-- The legacy of Proposition 187 should haunt Republicans. The demographics of California were already moving against Republicans 22 years ago when Gov. Pete Wilson, in order to get reelected, embraced a ballot proposition that denied public services, including education and health care, to undocumented immigrants. The measure passed overwhelmingly in 1994, and Wilson won his second term, but the next generation of Republicans paid a heavy price. Latinos broke solidly to the Democratic Party, and the state GOP has battled irrelevance ever since.
California tends to be a harbinger of what’s to come for the rest of the country, and that is especially true if national Republican leaders continue to fall in line behind their xenophobic nominee and stay silent about his racially-tinged rhetoric.
The country’s collective complexion becomes a little browner every day. “The Pew Hispanic Center estimates a record 27.3 million Latinos will be eligible to vote in 2016 and would make up about 12% of the electorate, up from 10% in 2012,” the Wall Street Journal notes.
-- Trump, at a rally last night in Sacramento, promised to compete for California in the general election. “Everybody said that for a Republican to run in California is not going to happen. But I'm sort of different," Trump told the crowd, which he claimed numbered 11,000.
He is delusional. A fresh NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows Hillary Clinton beating him there by 24 points, 55 percent to 31 percent, in a head-to-head match-up. His toxicity among Latinos is a major factor.
-- Many Latino Republicans in California get sick to their stomach when they watch Trump speak. The Los Angeles Times collected some brutal quotes from conservative figures in the community for a piece earlier this week. “Trump’s first ad featured footage of immigrants scurrying over a border and ominous music. The imagery and the tone were startlingly similar to an infamous pro-Proposition 187 ad in California that had a tagline, ‘They keep coming,’ that is seared into the memory of many Latinos in the state. Ruben Barrales, a former San Mateo County supervisor and member of George W. Bush’s administration, experienced déjà vu when he saw Trump’s ad. ‘I’m hearing the music and that’s taking me back to 1994,’ he said, adding that the decades-old ad offered a ‘cautionary tale.’”
“The unfortunate part is that right as the specter of Prop. 187 was disappearing in the rear-view mirror, we are now seeing the rise of a new generational problem for the Republican Party,” Mike Madrid, a Republican expert on Latino voting trends, told Seema Mehta.
Watch the notorious commercial:
Pete Wilson 1994 campaign ad on illegal immigration
-- There are ramifications for down-ballot candidates: John McCain suddenly has a very tough race in Arizona because Trump has galvanized Hispanics at the presidential level. Democrats are also targeting several GOP congressman who represent districts with a large but typically dormant Latino electorates, in hopes of a Trump-generated awakening. (Among them: CA-10, CA-21, CA-25, FL-26, NV-4, TX-23.)
-- Trump keeps adding insults to injuries: It has not even been a year since he formally kicked off his candidacy with a promise to build a huge border wall and make Mexico pay for it. In his announcement speech, he said our southern neighbor is sending its rapists and criminals to the United States.
Just last week, he attacked the most prominent Latina in his adopted party, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, during a rally in her home state.
In the days since, he’s been going after U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is handling two class-action lawsuits against Trump University. “He’s a hater,” Trump said at a campaign rally in San Diego, adding that he believed the Indiana-born judge was “Mexican.” Legal experts are alarmed that “the vendetta signals a remarkable disregard for judicial independence,” Jose A. DelReal and Katie Zezima report.
And who could forget the infamous Cinco de Mayo tweet?

-- In the aftermath of 2012, who would have thought the next Republican nominee would get less than Mitt Romney’s 27 percent among Hispanic voters? The post-election autopsy, ordered up by the RNC, called not just for a changed tone but also comprehensive immigration reform. Neither happened.
Florida-based GOP consultant Alex Patton told the Boston Globethat it will be hard for Trump to carry his state. “The entire autopsy on what we’re going to do to reach out to minority and women voters got ‘Trumped,’ ” Patton told Alice Yin. “I hope the GOP can put Humpty Dumpty back together again.”