With just over two months remaining in the increasingly bitter presidential race between the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, and Republican nominee, Donald Trump, the focus has recently shifted toward the minority vote. Over the past half-century, that’s been dominant in favor of whoever the Democrats have nominated.
This year, that dominance has reached record levels due to the controversial remarks and past actions of Trump, who began his campaign by describing Mexican immigrants as criminals, drug couriers and rapists. His recent attempt at trying to attract African-American voters has been met by criticism that such efforts have largely taken place in front of almost exclusively white audiences.
In regard to the Latino vote, most voting experts have indicated that Trump needs to obtain roughly one-third of their votes to win the election. Any previous candidate who has fallen below that threshold has ended up losing, including the 2012 Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, who garnered only 27 percent of that demographic.
On August 31, Trump traveled to Mexico City to meet with Mexico’s president, Enrique Pena Nieto. In a subsequent joint press conference, Trump explained that the two discussed his volatile plan to keep out illegal immigrants from Mexico by building a wall and making that country pay for its construction.
Nieto later clarified in a tweet that that the only discussion on the subject was when he had told Trump that no such payment would be forthcoming. Once the press conference was concluded, Trump left on his private jet for Arizona to offer a speech to supporters about his immigration policy if he’s elected.
Despite his poll numbers among Latinos being at record lows for a major presidential candidate, Trump offered a 10-point plan that basically reinforced his earlier approach to the issue. Among his pledges were to deport millions of illegal immigrants if he’s elected and stated that all such individuals with criminal records would be deported within his first hour after taking the Oath of Office on January 20.
Among this massive group are five million people who have been temporarily protected from deportation by an executive order from President Obama. These are generally individuals who have been in the country for decades without getting into trouble or their underage children who were brought to the United States as young children. Critics have charged that the order is “amnesty” for people who violated American law.
Trump’s remarks had an immediate impact on his campaign, with as many as half of the members of his Hispanic Advisory Council indicating that they could no longer support his candidacy. The range of emotions describing their disapproval varied from being disappointed to likening Trump’s outreach efforts to “a scam.”
The Arizona speech was followed by one the next day in which Trump again emphasized that Mexico would pay for the construction of a wall to keep out illegal immigrants. Within that same speech, Trump also indicated that his campaign opposed hatred and bigotry.
While Clinton still holds a strong lead over Trump among all Hispanics, one recent Gallup poll indicated that numbers are drastically different when it comes to where the individual born. Among those born in the United States, Clinton only holds a 43-29 percent advantage, while those born outside the country give her a commanding 87-13 percent endorsement. Overall, the numbers are 65-21 percent in Clinton’s favor.
Such numbers are in sharp contrast to Trump’s polling among African-Americans, which has been virtually invisible. Recent polls have indicated that only two percent of this demographic had plans to vote for him on November 8.