As a proud Latina, the daughter of two Cuban immigrants, who lives in a heavily Latino, blue-collar neighborhood, the question I’m asked all the time these days is:Wait, how is it you support Donald Trump?
It’s an occasionally amusing, sometimes tiresome, but never surprising line of inquiry. After all, among the many false narratives out there about Trump, the one pushed hardest is that he’s at odds with Latinos. But, like much of that rhetoric, it’s a deliberately simplistic assessment of the Latino electorate.
And, for the record, yes — I strongly support Trump.
Latinos aren’t monolithic in our beliefs and, of course, Trump isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But every Latino voter who’s thinking about his or her future should look no further than the GOP nominee. Here’s why:
Immigration is not Latinos’ top concern.
There’s a reason that a 2014 Pew study was headlined “Top issue for Hispanics? Hint: It’s not immigration.” Despite Democrats’ insistence that Trump’s stance on undocumented immigrants means he can’t win Latino votes, polls consistently show that Latinos’ top issues are the same as other Americans — we care most about the economy and jobs.
Not convinced Latinos’ main focus is the economy rather than immigration? Take a look at past presidential contenders’ share of the Latino vote. In 2000, George W. Bush won 35 percent of the Latino vote and, in 2004, he reached 40 percent. Why? He didn’t push through immigration reform. Unemployment, however, remained below 6 percent during most of his tenure. Compare that with George H.W. Bush during the 1988 election, winning a solid, but hardly earth-shattering 30 percent of Latino votes despite serving as vice president when President Ronald Reagan pushed through amnesty two years earlier. Bush 41 also protected millions more undocumented immigrants in 1990 via executive order. His reward in 1992? Latino support decreased to 25 percent.
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