Will Hispanics Defeat Trump?
American history is replete with presidential love and hate involving our next-door neighbor, Mexico. President James Polk invaded Mexico in order to take California and the southwest from Mexico. Objecting was Congressman Abraham Lincoln. President Woodrow Wilson invaded Mexico twice in two years. Are we in a hate period now, hate fueled by radio talk shows, television personalities and presidential candidate Donald J. Trump?
Trump’s campaign against Mexico will destroy his run for the presidency. His emotional charges that Mexico is ripping us off because we have a trade deficit with Mexico makes no sense when we run a trade deficit with Germany (the home of his family) that is 30 percent higher than with Mexico. We have trade deficits of $23 billion with Italy and Trump says nothing. We have a trade deficit of $33 billion with Ireland and Trump says nothing. Trump ignores the fact that Mexico buys more from us than all European countries combined.
The worst insults lie in his charges that Mexican immigrants are rapists and criminals -- though “some” are good people. Insult: His advocacy for building a wall on the border and having Mexico pay for it, a declaration he made again -- with a smirk on his face -- on the same Bill O’Reilly program in which former Mexican president invited Trump to Mexico belies any possibility of Trump softening his insulting “wall” declaration.
If he thought it is shameful for Hispanic kids to flip off Trump supporters and to “F bomb” them, he is going to be really surprised at the ultimate Mexican flip-off; i.e. they aren’t going to vote for him.
Many Hispanics voted for Richard Nixon, for Ronald Reagan, they voted for both Bush’s (George W. Bush received 44 percent of the Hispanic vote), they voted for John McCain (31%) and slightly less for Mitt Romney (27%). McCain and Romney lost because they needed at least 35 percent of the Hispanic vote.
What needs more detailed explanation is the makeup of the “Hispanic” vote. There are 55 million Hispanics of which 65 percent are of Mexican origin. Mexican-Americans are located in key regions that have serious voting consequences; to wit: most are in two of the three largest states, Texas and California. They also dominate in New Mexico and have significant populations in Chicago, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, and Washington State.
The other “Hispanics” are Puerto Ricans in New York, New Jersey, and a growing number in Florida. Cubans have large numbers in Florida. We must dissect polling of Hispanics and how the polling is conducted and published to understand the “Hispanic” vote.
There is no Hispanic polling; that is, no real polling. If a pollster talks to Puerto Ricans in New York City or New Jersey, the pollster will get a Puerto Rican response. If a pollster talks to a Cuban in Florida the pollster will get a Cuban response. If the pollster talks to a Puerto Rican in Central Florida the pollster will get a Floridian answer which may be different than one from Northeast Puerto Ricans.
But when a pollster talks to a Mexican- American in Texas or Colorado, California or Nevada, the answers to pollster questions might very well be the same yet different from those of the Northeast Puerto Ricans or even the Puerto Rican Floridians.
In other words, there is no Hispanic vote. There is a Mexican-American vote, a Northeast Puerto Rican vote and a Floridian Puerto Rican and Cuban vote.
Puerto Ricans tend to be very liberal Democrats and vote into the 90th percentile for Democrats no matter who the candidate is. That is true in both Florida and the Northeast. The Cubans in Florida are splitting their votes, as the refugee cohort is aging and younger Cubans feel differently from those who escaped Communism. The Mexican-American voter is different. He has never voted in the 90th percentile for Democrats.
For example, Evangelical Mexican immigrants who have attained citizenship and who have been in the country more than ten years voted 80 percent for George W. Bush in 2004. Of those who had been citizens only five years, 50 percent voted for Bush. More than fifty percent of Mexican Americans with college educations who lived in suburbs voted for Bush.
California Mexican-Americans vote Democrat if they have less than college and vote as much as 40 percent or more for Republicans if they have some college or degrees. Puerto Ricans voted in their traditional mode of more than 90 percent for John Kerry in 2004 no matter their educational level.
To discern how a presidential candidate might fare in a general election, one needs to know where the pollsters polled and among which ethnicity. One must also know the educational level of the polled.
So when one sees a poll result of, say, Donald Trump polling 25-30-35-50 percent of Hispanic voters, that poll must be discarded for several reasons. If the polling is done by phone landlines, the poll is worthless as most Hispanics use cell phones. If the poll is of registered voters, the poll is worthless because only likely voters count in polls. [TL2] If the poll doesn’t break down ethnicity/national origin, the poll is worthless because Puerto Ricans do not think like the majority Mexican Americans on many fronts.
Hispanic polling is worthless because Puerto Ricans are 90 percent or more Democrats, and they are concentrated in the northeast where Republicans don’t fare well. Only polls taken in swing states like Florida or Virginia or Colorado count in assessing a potential Hispanic vote. “National” Hispanic polls are worthless in trying to discover “Hispanic” preference for president.
In other words, can Donald Trump “carry” any significant numbers among Hispanics in November? It only matters in Florida and Colorado. He can’t carry California and its 55 electoral votes. If he doesn’t carry Florida he has no chance anyway. Ditto Colorado. He has no chance in New York or New Jersey -- the Puerto Ricans will never vote for him; they didn’t vote for George W. Bush. Mexican Americans loved George W. Bush. They do not like Donald J. Trump and because they don’t -- he has no chance to win in November.