Matthew Fisher: Hispanics could get sweet revenge on Trump if their votes put Clinton over the top

PLANO, Tex. — “There are some Mexicans here who are for Donald Trump. I don’t know why,” says Maricruz Peralta in accented English as she serves up a large portion of quesadillas and a bowl of chili con queso and tortillas at the El Publito Restaurant, adding with a winsome smile, “Maybe they’re crazy.”

The modest eatery in this Dallas suburb is crowded with Mexican-American families and courting couples speaking the hodgepodge of Spanish and English that is often called Spanglish.

Matthew Fisher / Postmedia News
/ Postmedia News"Maybe they're crazy" is Maricruz Peralta's explanation for why some Mexican-Americans may vote for Donald Trump despite his denigrating them as drug dealers and racists and saying that of elected president he would build a wall to keep them out of the United .

The Texas-born 27-year-old mother of two ticks off the Republican Party offensive remarks: he has denigrated Hispanics as rapists and drug dealers, mocked women for being housemaids and caregivers, and declared that he will make Mexico pay for a wall to keep Latin Americans out of the U.S.

All this has probably helped him with some white , Peralta concludes, “although we all know that he hires lots of us to work in his hotels.”

cruel and disrespectful insults are well known to every one of the still-growing number of immigrants from Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Central America and Spanish-speaking Americans from Puerto Rico. They have been following the election closely on U.S.-based Spanish-language networks such as and in their own U.S.-published dailies.

The Republican candidate’s remarks are a huge motivating factor for Peralta and most of the 27.2 million other Latino voters who are expected to cast their ballots for Democratic candidate Hillary .

Latino anger and disappointment at Trump’s xenophobia are such that there is every chance that their votes in states such as Florida, Nevada and North Carolina will give Clinton the keys to the White House. A spate of news reports in the U.S. over the weekend rushed to underline this possibility.

Exit polls have shown that Hispanics who have become citizens in what they refer to as El Norte have been turning out in unprecedented numbers for early voting. It is almost certain their support will more than make up for a considerable drop in the number of black voters compared to 2012 and 2008, when they came out en masse to vote for Barack Obama.

Danny20111993 / Wikimedia
Danny20111993 / Wikimedia

Although Clinton will be the beneficiary of Hispanic anti-Trump sentiment,  “my vote isn’t for her. It is against Donald Trump,” says Ronald Guzman, who works as a gas station attendant and will be going to the polls for the first time.

Latinos have long been referred to as the Sleeping Giant of American politics. Although they still make up only 12 per cent of the U.S. , because they are spread out across the country they can have a considerable impact on the presidential Electoral College, which totes up votes by state rather than by the national popular vote.

Hispanic voters make up a quarter or more of the electorate in California, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas, and are a big factor in more disparate states, such as Illinois, New York and even Connecticut.

Trump’s only outreach to Hispanics was his freakish trip to Mexico City in August where he met President Enrique Peña Nieto, who had compared his ideas to those of Hitler and Mussolini.

This followed by a few months former president Vicente Fox’s remark there was no way that Mexico was going “to pay for that f–king wall” and his more recent pinata-style smashing of a likeness of Trump, with his fists and then with a stick, during an appearance on a Spanish-language radio program in Los Angeles.

When Trump’s head finally exploded, Fox put his hand inside and said “Empty. Totally empty. He doesn’t have any brains.”

Fox’s swearing and theatrics captured how angry many Latin American émigrés are with Trump. They arguably got more play in Spanish media in the U.S. than they did in English-language media. Of course, it was their prominence in Spanish-language election coverage that was more likely to have a profound effect on the election.

The Hispanic surge to Clinton not only deals a potentially fatal blow to Trump’s chances to become president, it is also puts several Republican-held seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate at risk.

My vote isn’t for her. It is against Donald Trump

This will make it harder for the Republicans to try to impeach Clinton for alleged crimes associated with how she handled classified documents and how she, her husband, Bill, and daughter may have used the Clinton Foundation to enrich themselves and court financial support from corporations and other governments.

Clinton is set to win 67 per cent of Hispanic voters, compared with just 19 per cent for Trump, according to a Washington Post-Univision poll published Sunday.

This is starkly different from the 44 per cent of the Hispanic vote George W. Bush won 12 years ago, the 31 per cent that John McCain took in 2008 and the 27 per cent that Mitt Romney got four years ago.

Hispanics would on Trump if it’s their votes that put Clinton over the top on Tuesday.

National Post

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