How the Donald Trump Controversy Shows the Importance of the Latino Vote

How the Donald Trump Controversy Shows the Importance of the Latino Vote
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When Donald Trump announced his bid for presidency in June, he revealed more than just his xenophobia. The real estate developer-turned-Republican frontrunner also illustrated – once again – the importance of the Latino vote.

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The New York Times reports that not unlike 2012, GOP candidates are risking yet another election cycle in which Latinos consider the party, not just the contenders, as unfriendly.

Trump’s anti-immigrant stance, though unfavorable among Latinos, has received wide support from white conservatives in rural communities across the U.S., driving rivals to match his nativist speech and position.

Just this week, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker told reporters that he agreed with Trump's opposition to "birthright citizenship," saying that citizenship for U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants, a Constitutional right since 1898, must end.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal have also echoed Trump's plans for mass deportations, with the former introducing a bill in July and the latter calling for the arrests of mayors of sanctuary cities, those areas that have policies designed to shelter undocumented immigrants.

In contrast, Republican candidates like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich, who all have a relatively more moderate stance on immigration, have received significantly less mainstream news media attention.

While staunch conservatives have favored many of the candidates on the right’s anti-immigrant proposals, like mass deportation, a majority of people in the U.S. – three-fourths – do not, including more than 75 percent of independents.

Even more, changing demographics means there will be more Latinos eligible to vote in 2016 than in previous elections, with much of the shift due to an aging Latino population. In fact, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, a nonpartisan organization, project that the number of Latinos eligible to vote in 2016 will be 18 percent greater than it was in 2012.

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This, overall, can mean bad news for the Republic party in 2016, regardless of Trump’s current support on the right.