As Reince Preibus announced the day before the convention, one of Trump’s first post-convention actions will be to reach out to Hispanics. The numbers show he needs to. In the latest polls, Trump’s support among Latino voters is 12 percent, with Hillary Clinton far ahead at 81 percent. But how can a candidate who launched his presidential bid by calling Mexicans rapists and campaigned on a platform of demonizing undocumented immigrants revive his standing among Latino voters? Short of a trip to the past to undo all his previous statements, the prospects look dim.
While this week’s Republican National Convention presented the opportunity to expand Trump’s base beyond white voters, the convention ended up being a space where chants of “Build the Wall!” filled the air. The overriding message of the four-day affair was unmistakable: Speaker after speaker, including Trump, lambasted black activists, immigrants, and Muslims as criminals who were the cause of America’s deep decline. It didn’t help that there were few exceptions in what was otherwise a sea of white delegates, resulting in some odd optics:
While details of the “Hispanic engagement tour” have yet to be released, we have his record of spectacular failures in this area to guide us. There was Trump’s visit to the U.S.-Mexican border last year, during which he declared, “Hispanics love me.” And who can forget his viral Cinco de Mayo tweet, grinning thumbs up over a Trump Tower taco bowl: “I love Hispanics!” While Latino voters are not a monolithic political force by any means, it will take far more than taco bowls to win over a demographic that has already heard his message loud and clear.