Aleman: Republicans insult Latinos at their Peril

The nomination of Donald Trump has unleashed a nasty and vicious political storm on this country. Trump has called fellow Republicans ugly, a reporter a bimbo, Mexican immigrants rapist and women pigs. In fact, just this week he insulted a judge by claiming that the judge was a “Mexican” and thus was unable to effectively handle his lawsuit. This campaign has shown that Trump replaces ideas with sophomoric name calling and insults. Trump has brought out the worst resentments and bitterness in our politics to the forefront.

As the son of immigrants, I saw my parents fight every single day to achieve the American dream. I identified as a Republican but quickly became deeply disenchanted as anti-Latino, anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ voices took over the party. These forces directly led to the nomination of Donald J. Trump. He began his campaign stating that Mexican immigrants were rapist and now he insults a federal judge by claiming that his ethnicity (he is “Mexican” according to Trump) is a barrier to his decision making abilities. This bravado is not new to Trump as he has consistently denigrated minorities and women.

Trump has taken aim at Latinos, women, Asian American, African Americas, Americans with disabilities and LGBTQ Americans. Trump’s approval ratings amongst these groups is universally horrendous across the board. Even so, Republican officials across the country and Orange County rally to the banner of Trump. When local officials fail to condemn Trump’s hateful rhetoric their silence is a tacit endorsement of that language. Republicans claim that they aim to increase their outreach efforts towards Latinos even as Latinos are registering in record number in order to vote against the Republican standard bearer. Trump’s nomination could make Latinos abandon the Republican Party for a generation.

Latinos overwhelmingly have a negative opinion of Trump. A recent poll stated that 8 in 10 Latinos have an unfavorable opinion of Trump. His response to these dismal numbers has been to insult a federal judge, propose a wall, propose intercepting remittances to other countries, propose the establishment of a deportation task force, and eating a taco bowl. He claims to oppose illegal immigration even as fellow Republicans pointed out the fact that Trump has employed undocumented immigrants. Trump routinely mocks Latino protestors by asking them if they are from Mexico or employed by the Mexican government. He seems to think that all Latinos are Mexicans and that we are all illegal.

Trump offers no concrete solutions to the problems facing this country, instead he seeks to blame the defenseless. His economic policies would cause a trade war and recession while his foreign policy will embolden our enemies and abandon our allies. If Republicans are serious about reaching out to diverse groups, then they must stand up to Donald Trump and denounce his rhetoric. When Trump insults immigrants and Latinos, he insults my family, my friends, my loved ones, coworkers and my community. Republicans should be focused on tearing down walls between communities, not actively building walls between us. A party that nominates a man like Trump has no place for my family and I.

Luis Aleman is the Orange County Young Democrats Political Director

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