Trump Has Done to the GOP What Wilson Did in CA


donaldtrump61815Even before he shot himself in the mouth by denigrating Sen. John McCain, the obnoxious mogul Donald Trump had done for the national Republican Party in 2015 what former Gov. Pete Wilson did for the California Republican Party in 1994: poisoned  it among Latino voters for decades to come.

In case you’ve been face-planted on the beach in Puerto Escondido after one too many mezcales, Trump’s signature immigration statement is this:

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

Just over two decades earlier, an unpopular Wilson linked his re-election campaign to the drive for Proposition 187, which sought to prohibit undocumented immigrants from obtaining health care, public education and other services in California.

It worked: Prop. 187 – fueled by TV ads of Mexicans sneaking across the border with a narrator intoning “They keep coming” – won with 59% of the vote and Wilson, who had trailed in early polling, beat former Democratic state Treasurer Kathleen Brown 55-41%.

Pedro pendejo: Despite Wilson’s personal, short-term triumph, Prop. 187’s provisions were later overturned by the courts – and Latino voters, who had been warming slightly toward the Republican Party, turned sharply away. Wilson became known as hijo de puta on the streets of Mexico City and the Republican brand name was mierda de perro among Latinos throughout California.

The California Republican Party ever since has tried in myriad ways to “reach out” to Latino voters. But their problem is not a failure to communicate: with a party platform that still opposes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, the GOP brand remains reviled among Latinos.

Ironically, with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush – fluent in Spanish and married to a Mexican woman – or with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio –himself a Cuban – as potential nominees, there was an outside chance that some Latino voters might actually consider voting for a Republican for president.

Of course neither of them supports the one issue that’s of overriding importance to Latinos – a pathway to citizenship for those without documentation. As Calbuzz has explained many times (see here, here, here and here for example), while immigration is not the No. 1 issue for Latino voters, it is the threshold issue: if a candidate is opposed to a path to legal status for immigrants, Latinos don’t even want to know his or her position on the economy, jobs, defense or anything else. That candidate is disqualified.

meyerlatino vote


As Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, the most famous Latino journalist in the U.S., explained in an open letter to Republicans:

The Republican Party has been complaining lately about how some Latino journalists, including me, only ask them about immigration. That is correct, but what Republicans don’t understand is that for us, the immigration issue is the most pressing symbolically and emotionally, and the stance a politician takes on this defines whether he is with us or against us.

Fun with numbers: A recent survey by the non-partisan Pew Research Center shows that 72% of Americans say immigrants here illegally should be allowed to stay if they meet some requirements. That includes 42 percent who say those immigrants should be allowed to become citizens and 26 percent who say they should only become permanent residents.

Even 56% of Republicans support a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants. In other words, a majority of Trump’s own party disagrees with him on his most basic contention about immigration.




























But the damage Trump has done to his party’s image among Latinos is gigante. A recent poll fielded for Univision tells part of the story:

Univision’s exclusive interview reveals that Hispanic voters overwhelmingly reject Donald Trump’s derogatory comments about Mexican immigrants and give him bad grades as a presidential candidate. 79% of respondents consider Trump’s comments offensive. Only 18% don’t consider them that way. As a result, 71% have an unfavorable opinion of Trump, only 17% have a favorable opinion, and 12% have no opinion of him.

If the Republican primaries and caucuses were held today, Trump would receive just 7% of Hispanic Republicans’ votes, way less than Jeb Bush’s 38% , Marco Rubio’s 22% , and Ted Cruz’s 12%.

And if presidential elections were held now, Hillary Clinton would easily beat Trump among Hispanic voters. She would get 70% of their votes and Trump 16%.

Bottom line: Things will only get worse when it becomes apparent to Latino voters that attacking John McCain caused other Republicans to denounce Trump but that attacking Mexican immigrants was OK with them.

Calbuzz predicts that when future polling examines Latinos’ views about the Republican Party, they will have deteriorated even further.

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There are 17 comments for this post

  1. avatar JohnF says:

    This article shows that the republicans suffer from self inflicted wounds. But be nice to your Calbuzzers (readers) from Escondido, Ca. As you point out this is really an old story, it also points out the republicans do not learn from this history. Ignorance bits them in the rear again.

  2. avatar sqrjn says:

    Marco Rubio


    Jeb Bush


    You can criticize them for not condemning Trump fast enough or hard enough, but the main stream republican candidates did the right thing. In fairness there is something to be said for not wanting to give trump more attention and not attacking members of your own party no matter how stupid, which I think is why Scott Walker refused to address the issue. Trump’s brand of idiocy is certainly bad for the GOP and everyone but ” The Donald” seem to know that, the problem is that he makes great TV and the media eats it up. Meanwhile Hillary is off dodging reporters, “listening” to donors, and hiring her umpteenth staffer.

    • avatar Bob Mulholland says:

      If Trump attacked Jews or African-Americans, would you state the same- right thing for Republican politicians to do- say nothing?

  3. avatar Bob Mulholland says:

    Pete Wilson could be Honorable Chair of Trump for King!

  4. avatar GaryRJP64 says:

    Undocumented Latinos come to the U.S. to work for people whose money pours into Republican campaign coffers.

  5. avatar Opatrny says:

    What Trump said about Latinos is truly despicable. It will haunt the GOP in 2016 and beyond. But he was right about McCain. McCain is no hero. He simply was a POW. A hero is someone who risks his own life to drag a wounded buddy to safety. A hero throws a grenade into an enemy fortification, risking his own life. A hero makes sure no one is left behind. I served three years in the Marine Corps. I met heroes. John McCain is no hero. He was an unlucky POW. And he’s still a war monger.

    • avatar pjhackenflack says:

      As much as Calbuzz agrees with you on the issue of McCain’s heroism, it’s still a bonehead political move to argue the case if you’re trying to win the GOP nomination for president.

  6. avatar sqrjn says:

    People may dislike or disagree with John McCain. But he was a combat veteran and genuine war hero. John McCain requested combat duty and was wounded when a bomb cooked off on the USS Forestall while trying to save a fellow pilot in a terrible fire that killed 134 other men. He received medals and commendations for combat missions over enemy territory. He was shot down by a SAM and was captured, something that wouldn’t have happened if hadn’t put himself in harms way. He refused an offer from the enemy to be sent home early for propaganda purposes. He was tortured and spent years in captivity as a result.

    John McCain is a hero by any standard. He repeatedly risked his life for his fellow servicemen and country. He suffered and sacrificed greatly for all of us. Anyone saying otherwise is just ignorant of his history.

  7. avatar sqrjn says:

    Three years tells me everything I need to know shitbird.

  8. avatar konnyu says:

    Here is the viewpoint of one Republican immigrant retired congressman:
    The number 1 issue among Latinos is getting a legal paying job for the undocumented in California and NOT, as you write, a pathway to citizenship. The pathway thing is a Democrat Party dream that the Dems will never get on the undocumented from a Republican controlled Congress. Work permits for the undocumented is a realistic goal; not sending them back unless a criminal is a likely possibility. And putting up a big, fat fence on the border is a likely Republican dream to stop the future undocumented.
    Now you know the key reason…that is, this stand on immigration… why, even though I am the best qualified candidate, I could not get sufficient Party support to run for the U.S. Senate against the law-breaking Kamala Harris.

    • avatar JohnF says:

      What laws exactly did she break Earnie? and don’t tell about marijuana or something like that.

    • avatar Bob Mulholland says:

      President Reagan was right when he signed an Immigration Act in 1986 leading to 5 million immigrants becoming US Citizens. Maybe Konnyu was against Reagan signing that bill. Most Americans are very moved seeing dozens of US Troops in war zones being sworn in as US citizens. What a great country allowing the Einsteins in and regular Joses who join the US Military to speed up their US citizenship.

  9. avatar M.J. Grove says:

    Now, now, let’s not deny Trump his rightful place in the campaign. Every circus needs its clowns.

  10. avatar Bob Mulholland says:

    And now Trump’s lawyer said that legally “you cannot rape your spouse.” That’s true under Sharia Law, but not in America. And Trump is standing by his man.

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