Monday, September 28, 2020

Republican Latinos Are Opting Out Of The General Election

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The son of two Mexican immigrants, Artemio Muniz is a proud Republican and the chairman of the Texas Federation of Hispanic Republicans. The duality between his heritage and his political views has led to the decision that he will sit out of the general presidential election this year. Muniz is one of many Latino Republicans who say they cannot vote for their party’s presumptive nominee, Donald Trump.

Trump’s damage to GOP efforts to attract swing-state Latinos is no secret. Muniz’s decision to not vote shows the happenings of an even deeper occurrence: The businessman is alienating Hispanics who already consider themselves Republicans, including elected officials and party leaders. “Donald Trump comes across as a villain in a telenovela,” Muniz said, referencing the Latin American soap opera genre. “He fits the stereotype to a T. They don’t need ominous music or a translator.”

Last week, Trump captured headlines by singling out New Mexico’s GOP governor, Susana Martinez, saying that she is not doing her job while on a visit to her state. Martinez, the party’s highest-profile Latina, has not endorsed Trump — a reluctance that was probably intensified by his attack on her governing abilities. Sometimes, Trump’s rhetoric is hurtful to a swath of voters, Hispanic conservatives said in interviews and since they cannot stand the idea of voting for Democrat Hillary Clinton, they would rather leave their presidential ballot blank.

By extensive margins, Trump is the most unpopular candidate among Hispanics, with over three-quarters viewing him unfavorably in a Gallup poll released in March. Among Hispanic Republicans, Trump polled at 60 percent in unfavorability, which was worse than Democratic candidates Clinton and Bernie Sanders. “Those are historic numbers,” said Florida-based GOP consultant Alex Patton. “He should be very concerned, especially in a swing state like Florida with significant numbers of Latino voters.”

Muniz mentioned that many Mexican-Americans admired Trump in the beginning, tying his entrepreneurial, can-do spirit to the immigrant community’s own resolve to make a better life in America. But Trump’s choice to start demonizing immigrants was seen as a betrayal, Muniz said. The chairman also stated that he and other anti-Trump Latino Republicans are waiting for a sign that the candidate wants to repair his position within in their community. It’s unclear whether such a gesture is coming.

Boston Globe