In the speech Donald Trump gave in Arizona on immigration policy, he appeared to have diverged from his previous plan of deporting all undocumented immigrants by suggesting that he would allow immigrants who obeyed the law to remain in the country.
Many believe this change of heart is due to Trump’s need to broaden his political appeal.
According to Univision, Trump currently has only 12.9 percent of the Latin American vote in Florida, an important swing state. When Barack Obama and Mitt Romney ran against each other in 2012, the Latin American vote was an important factor in Obama’s success.
Unfortunately for Trump, he’s been alienating himself from minorities since the beginning of his campaign, and his most recent speech hasn’t helped much. Making matters worse, after the speech was delivered one of Trump’s campaign surrogates and the founder of Latinos for Trump, Marco Gutierrez, appeared on MSNBC’s “All In With Chris Hayes” to discuss Trump’s current strategy.
While addressing Trump’s current stance on immigration, Gutierrez, a Mexican immigrant himself, mentioned the problems he felt were being created by his culture in the U.S. Joy Reid, who was guest-hosting the show, asked him to explain what he meant by “problems,” leading to the response, “My culture is a very dominant culture. It is imposing and it’s causing problems. If you don’t do something about it, you’re going to have taco trucks (on) every corner.”
Naturally, people got pretty pumped about these tacos, and the hashtag “TacoTrucksOnEveryCorner” was trending on Twitter in no time.
As comical as Gutierrez’s statement was, the Trump campaign wasn’t laughing. Of course, Gutierrez isn’t the only reason Trump is having difficulty recruiting the Latin American vote.
After all, he has made it clear with policies, like building a Southern border wall. A major part of his strategy is demonizing minority groups. Now he wants their support? It seems a bit counterintuitive.
That being said, it would be a mistake to believe that no member of a minority group would ever vote for Trump.
Just look at Gutierrez’s organization, Latinos for Trump, which has brought together members of a group that has been treated with so little cultural awareness by the Trump campaign. Despite that Cinco de Mayo tweet with a taco bowl proclaiming “I love Hispanics,” Trump still has a few supporters in the Latin American base.
In this situation, though, I’m willing to bet most Latin Americans disagree with Gutierrez’s point of view, because most people in general seem to disagree with his point of view.
His support for Trump seems to be rooted in his support for the status quo.
In an interview with the DW he explained, “We are a sub-culture within the American culture and I think that Trump is trying to put a little balance into that. I came to this country to become an American. I didn’t come here to be a Mexican.” Like his taco truck comment before, this statement is problematic.
American culture is Latin American culture. Let’s put aside the fact that we’re sharing the continents referred to as “the Americas.”
Our histories have been deeply intertwined since the moment these continents were colonized and explored by the French, British, and Spanish. Spain didn’t confine its search for gold and souls to convert to Christianity to only the southern half of the New World. Spanish explorers combed what is now the United States as well.
Several of our states and cities have Spanish names, we proudly display the Spanish architecture of the Alamo, and some of the descendants of these Spaniards have been U.S. citizens since they settled (or when they were forced to become citizens after the U.S. swallowed Mexican territory). Our nation’s roots are connected to the roots of Latin America.
Besides, the Latin American population in the U.S. is growing. CNN reported last year that the U.S. now has more Spanish speakers than Spain (though this also includes non-Latin Americans who simply want to be able to communicate as effectively as possible with this rising population).
We should be celebrating the changes a large Latin American population can bring. If there’s one thing the U.S. is supposed to know very well by now is that diversity is often a good thing.
Trump doesn’t appear to be able to see the many strengths diversity brings to our country. Instead, he continues to try to find ways to pin us against each other. But trying to use fear of minorities to gain power isn’t a new tactic in the U.S. political field anymore.
We’re better at recognizing the warning signs now, and we’re better at knowing when something is so racist that it’s simply ridiculous.
If Trump wants to win this election, he might want to find a new strategy, and maybe get a bit more excited about those taco trucks—people seem to really like having those around.