Win or lose, Trump campaign has made future victories very difficult for Republicans

Trump has a puncher’s chance of being elected president in five days’ time. But whether he wins or loses this , the campaign he has run could make it very, very difficult for Republicans to win presidential races.

Why? Because Trump is running historically poorly among Hispanic voters, according to a new Washington Post-Univision national poll.

If Trump continues to get somewhere in the neighborhood of 19 per cent of , it would mark a new low for Republicans in that critical voting bloc. George W. Bush got 44 percent of in his 2004 reelection race. John McCain got 31 percent in 2008. Mitt Romney took just 27 percent in 2012. That’s not a good trend. Especially when every projection of where the is headed shows the continuing decline of whites and the continued growth of the Hispanic population.

Need a more real- example? In 1984, Ronald Reagan won by 20 points — and the election with 525 . In 2012, Romney matched Reagan’s margin among white voters; he won just 206 .

In the wake of that 2012 loss – and the demographic disaster it portended – the Republican National Committee issued an autopsy report that had one central recommendation: find a way to pass some sort of comprehensive or else. It reads:

“We are not a policy committee, but among the steps Republicans take in the Hispanic community and beyond, we must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform. If we do not, our Party’s appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only. We also believe that comprehensive immigration reform is consistent with Republican economic policies that promote job growth and opportunity for all.”

What you have seen in this election is a candidate in Trump who rose to prominence within the on a pledge to build a wall on our Southern border and make Mexico pay for it. And who has openly embraced the sort of grievance politics that had led him to, among other things, question whether a judge of Mexican heritage was fit to oversee a case regarding Trump University and to propose a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country.

In short: It’s hard to conceive of a candidate who would run more contrary to the party’s stated goal of expanding its coalition than Trump.

What Republican strategists are desperately hoping is that Trump is viewed by Hispanics as an outlier, an isolated case who does not represent the broader views of the GOP. Again, the Post-Univision poll suggests that may be a false hope.

Yes, Hispanics view Trump more unfavorably than they view the Republican Party as a whole. But two-thirds of Hispanic voters have an unfavorable opinion of the Republican Party, and that is still disastrously bad. Those numbers suggest that Trump is not being viewed as something separate from the GOP and that the negative way Hispanics view him is rubbing off on the party he represents.

To go back to where I started: Yes, it is still possible that Trump wins the 270 electoral votes he needs to be president on Tuesday. (The white vote will still make up roughly 7 in 10 voters.) But, win or lose, Trump has set back his party among Hispanic voters in ways that may well be irreversible in the near-to-medium term. The current composition of the Republican Party’s electorate is a winner for 1984. It’s a near-certain loser for 2024.

About Chris Cillizza, Washington Post