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Trump Has Built A Wall Between The Republican Party And Latinos

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Trump Has Built A Wall Between The Republican Party And Latinos

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By David Lightman, Natalie Fertig and Jessica Koscielniak McClatchy Washington Bureau (TNS)

LAS VEGAS — German Maldonado could back a Republican. But it’s not likely, not when Donald Trump is calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals.

“The whole GOP base, they tend to attack most of our people,” said the graphic designer, who came to this country from Mexico 25 years ago.

That, in a nutshell, is the challenge Republicans face in 2016, a problem that looms as a serious threat to their hopes of winning in swing states like Nevada.

Talk to Latinos in the Las Vegas area and you’ll find their views strikingly similar. Top concerns are better schools, more ability to expand their businesses, and leaders who share their strong religious and moral beliefs.

That gives Republicans tremendous potential. And in some states, including Nevada, the party has done well among Latinos. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval is Mexican-American. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, the nation’s first female Hispanic governor, was re-elected overwhelmingly last year. In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott won 44 percent of the Latino vote in 2014. President George W. Bush won 39 percent of Nevada’s Hispanic vote in 2004.

Today, though, there’s Trump and a party that’s seen as too eager to kick immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally out of the country.

“We’re digging a very, very deep hole,” said Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.

It hardly matters at the moment that two candidates, Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, are Cuban-American, or that Jeb Bush, a former Florida governor, is married to a Mexican-American and has strong ties to the Latino community.

Republicans were starting to have trouble even before 2015. President Barack Obama, viewed as sympathetic to Hispanic interests, won 71 percent of the Nevada Latino vote in 2012, the same percentage he received nationwide.

Republican Latino voters say they’re well aware of the difficulty of persuading friends and family to join them.

Immigration is the gateway to the community’s heart. Most Latinos in Nevada are either immigrants or know someone who recently arrived in this country. Nevada’s population is about 27 percent Hispanic, and 4 in 5 are of Mexican origin.

When Latinos hear some Republicans eager to deport immigrants here illegally, or refer to them in offensive ways, they recoil.

Jesus Marquez, who runs an air conditioning business, grew up in a Democratic household but turned Republican after watching details of President Bill Clinton’s relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky unfold.

“They devalued the office when he lied,” Marquez said. He saw Republicans as the party of higher standards.

Peter Guzman, a real estate developer, has long been sympathetic to Republicans, but he can’t stomach Trump’s comments.

“It’s going to be a challenge for me to embrace a candidate who has completely talked to my culture in an undignified way,” he said.

Some Latinos are more forgiving.

Ariel Gomez, a handyman, urged listening closely to what Trump is saying. He was not condemning all Mexicans, Gomez said.

Trump said in June, when he announced his candidacy, that Mexico was sending to the United States “people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Krissian Marquez, an entrepreneur, sees herself as one of those good people. Born in Mexico, she grew up in California. She understands the lure of Democrats. “When people first come here,” she said, “they say, ‘I’m going to do this for you,’ so obviously that’s how people vote and a lot of them just stick to that.”

Marquez warmed to Republicans as her daughters began school. She appreciated how George W. Bush, as governor of Texas and as president, understood the Latino community’s desire for better schools.

One of her daughters went to the neighborhood school and it was “not the best,” Marquez said. Another daughter had the freedom to choose, went to a magnet school and did much better, she said.

“I fight for what I believe in, and Republicans are more about school choice,” Marquez said.

Republican officials see progress. From 2009 to 2013, “we didn’t show up,” said Jennifer Sevilla Korn, deputy political director of the Republican National Committee. “The big thing we changed is to be on the ground in these communities all the time.”

Democrats scoff. “For decades now, we’ve heard this argument that Hispanic voters will trend towards the GOP. In reality, they’re trending the opposite way because they’re so turned off by the Republican Party’s rhetoric and lack of action” on a variety of issues, said Eric Walker, Democratic National Committee spokesman.

One big 2015 Republican talking point was the diversity of its presidential candidates. While Democrats offer two white men and a woman married to a former president, Republicans have two Latinos, an African-American and a woman.

Republican prospects might improve depending on the nominee. Jeb Bush is a favorite. If Bush is not the nominee, “I don’t think we’ll do as well” among Latinos, said campaign manager Danny Diaz.

Cruz gets little sympathy. Among his most prominent supporters is Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. In 2013, King referred to many Mexican immigrants as people who “weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

Rubio stirs interest, but is not well-known. He gets praise for his 2013 support for bipartisan legislation that created a path to citizenship for immigrants who are in the country illegally. He later backed away from that proposal, saying he wanted assurances that border security would come first.

To many familiar with him, Rubio shines. “Him being the face of the presidency … there’s a level of pride, knowing it can contribute with a vote,” said Mike Soto, a graduate student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

None of that may matter unless Republicans overcome the immigration hurdle and convince people such as Carlos Antiles, a bartender, that they’re on his side.

Antiles voted for Obama twice. His wife is of Mexican ancestry; he’s Cuban. Though Obama did halt deportations of the children of immigrants here illegally who met certain criteria, he never really delivered on his promise to overhaul the immigration system.

Antiles wants to vote Republican, and he likes Rubio. But Trump? “I don’t like this guy,” he said.

(c)2015 McClatchy Washington Bureau. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort and Spa in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, December 30, 2015. REUTERS/Randall Hill

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21 Comments

  1. Bren Frowick January 3, 2016

    “Better schools”??? The Republicans have made a fetish of tearing DOWN our schools, with never-ending efforts to degrade textbooks, rewrite history, eliminate the teaching of evolution, slashing funding, and attempting to turn education into a purely commercial proposition. Anyone voting for them because they think they’ll get “better schools” needs to get a better education themselves…

    Reply
  2. KathyKursh January 3, 2016

    What amazes me is the power that people think the President has. He has very little power. Congress makes the laws, the President only signs them into law. Regardless of their campaign promises you have to understand that the Congress has the power.
    Look at the laws proposed by the Republicans – refuse to work on immigration reform, cuts to education, cuts to programs that help the poor, tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires. The bad laws are currently blocked by the veto pen, but if there is a Republican President all those bills will become law.

    Reply
    1. oldtack January 4, 2016

      Good post Kathy.

      Reply
  3. Polana January 3, 2016

    Vote on issues important and affecting you and your family not party, they can promise you a free trip to a moon and you will end up homeless.

    Reply
  4. Rippie January 3, 2016

    It’s not the one he WANTS to build, but he’s drawing lines in the sand now… and they are terrifying, destructive and will set the nation back decades in just one term, and require more decades to recover from and repair.

    Only Terd Crudz is more dangerous overall, a duplicitous faker whose off-handed foreign policy backbone, “carpet bombing,” will certainly lead to WW3.

    Keeping these two FAR away from the WH and Congress is not only in our best interests, but in the interest of humanity and the planet!

    Reply
  5. ham hock January 3, 2016

    Republicans want better schools? what a laugh. These are the same people who say jesus is more important than math and science, and you trust them to educate your kids? Stop voting against your own interests just because they pander to your religious morals.

    Reply
  6. @HawaiianTater January 3, 2016

    As long as the GOP keeps relying on the angry white vote, they’ll never win back the WH.

    Let’s all hope they never stop relying on the angry white vote.

    Reply
  7. greenlantern1 January 3, 2016

    The BOOK OF MORMON was written in 1830!
    The DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE was written in 1776!
    Were our FOUNDING FATHERS MORMONS?

    Reply
    1. oldtack January 4, 2016

      Do you have a personal vendetta against the Mormon Faith?
      Your post is totally divorced from the content in this article. ???

      Reply
      1. greenlantern1 January 4, 2016

        Do you condone, the murder of children, at the MOUNTAIN MEADOWS MASSACRE?

        Reply
        1. oldtack January 4, 2016

          Do oyu condone Navuoo Illinois Massacre of Joseph and Hyrum Smith and all the other Mormon followers that were slain and had their homes destroyed?

          Reply
          1. greenlantern1 January 5, 2016

            No.
            Great point!
            I neither condone John Brown nor William Quantrill!
            They BOTH caused “bloody Kansas”!!
            Aren’t we better than that?

            Reply
          2. oldtack January 5, 2016

            I am and I feel that you are. As for the greater part of our citizens – I have troubling doubts.

            Reply
          3. greenlantern1 January 5, 2016

            Notice I gave you a thumbs up.
            Call me a cockeyed optimist.
            I have seen enough BROKEN ARROW episodes to be anything but hopeful.

            Reply
          4. oldtack January 5, 2016

            Ditto

            Reply
  8. oldfed January 3, 2016

    and yet all the national polls show that latinos favor the republicans in a head up match if Clinton is the dem debate

    Reply
    1. Linda Rae January 9, 2016

      and yet all the national polls show that dan ketter is fat and impotent.

      Reply
  9. FireBaron January 4, 2016

    Once again you guys are equating the Cuban population with the rest of the Latino groups. Cuban in the United States have repeatedly said they have one goal – to return to Cuba after the Castros are gone. Other Latinos come to the US to build better lives for themselves, and plan on staying. Cubanos here are effectively playing the system to support them until they can return to their beloved island, and bring back what they believed was heaven under Baptista.

    Reply
    1. Virg Prit March 18, 2016

      Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have no intentio of leaving and taking wealth, ect to Cuba. that is silly.

      Reply
  10. Böcker January 4, 2016

    Republican policy is responsible for our citizens living less then the middle class life. Voting republicans is voting against your own self best interests. Billionaire T rump sez $15 an hour is too much. Hearing this puke who has never know a day of want is sickening. Republicans have done the bidding of the 1% for more then 4 decades to the detriment of the rest of the nation.

    Reply
  11. Virg Prit March 18, 2016

    I am Republican and I have no intention of voting for Trump. i despise the way he treats people But he is not any worse than Obama saying ‘my grandmother showed typical white behavior.’ he said this when he ran against Hilliary for president. Obama insulted Christians at the national of day of Prayer breakfast and never apologized. Obama is not a Christian he is a muslim and a liar.

    Reply

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