Here’s some electoral history that Donald Trump’s supporters should consider before voting in their GOP primaries: Since 1972, no Republican presidential candidate has won a general election with less than 30 percent of the Hispanic vote. Nixon, Reagan, and both Bushes received between 30 and 40 percent in their successful presidential bids. All of the GOP losers from 1976 through 2012 received between 24 and 27 percent of the Hispanic vote. This includes George H. W. Bush, who lost in 1992 after his percentage eroded to 25 percent from the 30 percent he garnered in his successful 1988 campaign.
It’s probably not necessary, as one GOP pollster has claimed, for the 2016 Republican nominee to win 40 percent of the Hispanic vote to reach the White House. It is, however, obvious that the nominee will have to do far better than the 27 percent received by Mitt Romney. And that’s never going to happen if the Republican nominee advocates deporting 11 million Hispanics, including many who were born here, while vowing to eliminate birthright citizenship under the 14th Amendment. In other words, if the GOP is myopic enough to nominate Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton will be the next president.
The tragic irony here is that one of the most worrisome problems facing Hillary’s campaign is how to get minority voters to pull the lever for her in percentages comparable to those enjoyed by the president. Obama received 71 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2012. According to the most recent Gallup poll, Hillary has a 40 percent net approval rating among these folks. She can probably count on the usual 60 percent or so of their vote, which is what most Democrat candidates get. However, because of her high negatives with white men, and her trust deficit, she has to exceed that average or she’ll lose.
A Trump candidacy would solve that problem for her. The same poll that shows Hillary with a net positive of 40 percent shows Trump with a net negative approval rating of 51 percent. And this is not simply because he’s a Republican. “Hispanics’ views of most GOP candidates range from mildly positive to mildly negative. The sole exception is Trump, whose favorable rating with Hispanics is deeply negative.” It’s not difficult to divine the reason. Trump kicked off his campaign with remarks conflating Hispanics with drugs, crime, and rape, while his only detailed policy proposal involves mass deportation.
And even Hillary’s most vicious slimer, Sidney Blumenthal, could not have come up with anything as scary to Hispanics as Trump’s decision to make an issue of birthright citizenship for “anchor babies.” There is a vaguely plausible legal argument in support of “the Donald’s” point, as Mark Pulliam has explained in this space, but there isn’t the slightest possibility that any Congress is going to meddle with the 14th Amendment. Moreover, even if that body produced legislation eliminating birthright citizenship, and some President actually signed it, the Roberts Court would certainly throttle it in the cradle.
Thus, the only thing Trump’s “solution” to illegal immigration has accomplished is to provide Hillary with a made-to-order talking point. And she has, of course, already started deploying it. Last Friday, she was fed a question concerning the “undocumented immigrants” now living in the U.S. Her well-rehearsed response went thus: “Well, I’m glad you asked me that because some on the other side are advocating to deport 11, 12 million people… to go literally and pull people out of their homes and workplaces, round them up and, I don’t know, put them in buses or boxcars in order to take them across the border.”
You will notice that she didn’t say it is only Donald Trump who is advocating this. She slyly insinuated that this was a brutal policy favored by many Republicans, and made it clear that she found it deeply shocking: “I find that absurd, but appalling. And that’s why I support comprehensive immigration reform.” Never mind that Hillary herself has said, as Hot Air reports, “I am, you know, adamantly against illegal immigrants.” She also called for the creation of a national ID card to track everyone. “Although I’m not a big fan of it, we might have to move towards an ID system even for citizens.”
So, here we are, more than 14 months away from the general election and “the Donald” is already providing the probable Democrat presidential nominee with talking points she can use to smear Republicans. He is also scaring the bejabbers out of Hispanics—whose votes the party will need to wrest the presidency from the Democrats. The 2016 presidential election is eminently winnable for the GOP, but not with “the Donald” as its nominee. Trump’s supporters need to think about this sooner rather than later.