The Trump effect: Latinos naturalize in order to defeat him
Call it poetic justice. Or call it the Trump effect.
Whatever you call it, it is one hell of an ironic twist. In a development that should be very worrisome for the Republican Party, Donald Trump is succeeding where many Latino activists have failed: He is driving hundreds of thousands of Hispanics to become U.S. citizens so they can vote in the coming presidential election.
And if there is something as certain as the sun rising every day, it is that the new citizens are not going to help the Donald get to the White House.
“It is difficult for immigrants right now, but if that guy becomes President, things are going to get much worse,” said Jaime García, 35, a physical therapist who left his native Ecuador for New York 15 years ago. “One would have to be stupid not to vote against him.” And Latino voters, despite what Trump seems to believe, are not stupid at all.
Although the billionaire blowhard keeps repeating he will win their vote, polls show that Trump has alienated most Hispanics. And that’s not good for him or the GOP.
While most pundits agree that without at least 33 percent of the Latino vote no one can get elected, a recent Washington Post-Univision poll should be a powerful reality check. According to the poll, just 16 percent of Latino voters have a favorable view of Trump, while 80 percent — I repeat, 80 percent — view him unfavorably. No, Latino voters are not stupid.
That’s why, as reported by the New York Times, naturalization applications went up 11 percent in the 2015 fiscal year over the year before, and 14 percent during the six months ending in January. In more bad news for the Republican Party, advocates estimate applications could approach one million in 2016, about 200,000 more than the average in recent years.
It’s funny, but understandable, that some Republicans really believe that Trump could be a Democratic plant. One of them is Florida Congressman Carlos Curbelo.
“I think there’s a small possibility that this gentleman is a phantom candidate,” the Republican lawmaker said in a radio interview. “Mr. Trump has a close friendship with Bill and Hillary Clinton. They were at his last wedding. He has contributed to the Clintons’ foundation. He has contributed to Mrs. Clinton’s Senate campaigns. All of this is very suspicious.”
Even Jeb Bush, a favorite target of Trump’s personal attacks, suspected an unholy alliance between the New York billionaire and the Democratic frontrunner.
“Maybe Donald negotiated a deal with his buddy Hillary Clinton. Continuing this path will put her in the White House,” Bush tweeted last December.
Pure paranoia, of course. The fact is that conspiracies are totally unnecessary. Trump’s bigotry and stupidity could be more than enough to send another Democrat to Washington.