Saturday, March 12, 2016

Paying Attention

In the end, Donald Trump will be disappointed.  At some point short of the Oval Office, he will come up short (no sex jokes, please). Among the reasons is that he underestimates the American people.

Hispanics, at the very least.  Vowing to "take jobs back" from China and Japan, Trump in July declared "The Hispanics are going to get those jobs, and they're going to love Trump." After he won the Nevada caucus, he labeled hispanics "incredible workers. I love them. I love them," presumably because he sees them less as individuals than as people who work for low wages at his properties in Nevada.

On that occasion, he remarked also “We won with highly-educated, we won with poorly educated! I love the poorly educated! We’re the smartest people, we’re the most loyal people.”

There is considerable reason to question Trump's claim that he received among Latinos more votes than did his rivals in Nevada.  In either case, the votes of Latinos can be moved by the same factors as those of any other demographic group.

Still, it appears Latinos are quite aware of what is going on politically.  Politico reports

More than three out of four Hispanics view Donald Trump negatively, according to the latest Gallup survey.

The billionaire presidential candidate has a 77 percent unfavorable rating and a 12 percent favorable rating among Hispanics in both parties, according to Gallup Daily tracking data collected between early January and early March.

The share of Hispanics who view Trump unfavorably has increased from this summer, when he was viewed negatively by 66 percent and positively by 14 percent.

It was in summer that when he announced his candidacy, Trump maintained

When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending 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.

He would solve the problem, he vowed because

I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively, I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall.

Mark my words.

Since the summer, Trump has only emphasized his commitment to building a wall, periodically crowing "the wall just got ten feet taller/higher."   As a campaign promise, it is empty boasting. As a message to both his supporters and to hispanics, however, it is a loud and clear signal, as was tossing Univision reporter Jorge Ramos out of a news conference last August.

Message received.  Politico's report further demonstrated the attention paid to the campaign by Hispanics, for

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who is of Cuban descent, has the second-highest unfavorable rating (30 percent), though his favorable rating is more than double Trump’s at 26 percent.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio — who is also of Cuban heritage — are tied with 26 percent unfavorable, though Clinton’s favorable rating is much higher at 59 percent. Rubio lags behind at 32 percent.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has 16 percent unfavorable, and 35 percent favorable. And Ohio Gov. John Kasich has 14 percent unfavorability and 15 percent favorability.

Rafael Cruz- who prefers to go by "Ted"- is the candidate, aside from Trump, most closely associated with opposition to what he calls "amnesty."  (Cruz's statements and actions have been more nuanced and complex; for policy wonks only.) Rubio was a member of the "Gang of Eight" but reneged on his support, suggesting that he no longer supports comprehensive immigration reform but is more open to it than is the Texas senator.  Mrs. Clinton is a full-bore supporter, as is Bernie Sanders. However, she still is better well-known and perhaps puts a higher priority on open borders than does the Vermont senator.

No one- not even the candidate himself/herself- can know for sure what will be accomplished regarding immigration reform or restriction in the new Administration.(If this campaign could go on longer, Trump might end up promising a new Tower of Babel. Only more beautiful.) But given what we do know about these men and women, the level of sophistication among hispanics appears high, a counter to the meme of the American voter as stupid and disengaged.  This is not good for Donald Trump.

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