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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

 
Waking the sleeping giant

by digby


























I've been waiting for this story:
Latino organizers sensed an opportunity when they heard Donald Trump was bringing his presidential campaign to Marshalltown, a small farm city that is home to an increasing number of Latino immigrants and their children.

So they organized protests at the high school gymnasium where Trump spoke Tuesday, with about 50 young Latinos marching silently outside as a smattering of Trump supporters hurled insults and laughed at them.

But the protest was only the beginning. Down the street, advocates held a drive to register voters and educate immigrants on the complexities of next week's Iowa caucuses, the kickoff for the presidential nominating process.

"We want to turn his negativity into a positive for our community," said Joe Enriquez Henry, whose group, the League of United Latin American Citizens, helped organize the event.

In Iowa, where voters have been exposed to the presidential campaign at a level of intensity that most Americans won't experience until fall, Latinos have already begun to counterpunch Trump, prompted by his calls for a massive border wall to keep out immigrants whom he has described as rapists, drug dealers and carriers of infectious disease.

Advocacy groups have launched unprecedented voter registration efforts aimed at the state's small but rapidly growing Latino population. The nonprofit Henry works for earmarked $300,000 for outreach in Iowa shortly after Trump got into the race, and the group's field workers have led Spanish-language caucus training sessions for voters in most of the 11 counties where Latinos constitute more than 10% of the vote.

Democratic and Republican campaigns have also been wooing Latinos angered by Trump's rhetoric. When Jeb Bush's Latino outreach workers field questions about Trump, they often tell voters that caucusing for Bush is the best bet to combat the real estate mogul.

Whether a similar movement takes shape across the country remains to be seen, but many Latino leaders are hoping Trump could be the catalyst to push their growing but chronically underperforming electorate to the polls. There is talk of a "Trump effect" rivaling Proposition 187, the anti-illegal-immigration measure that jolted California Latinos to action 20 years ago and is credited with helping create the state's current Latino power structure.

"My gut is that it'll be substantial," Democratic consultant Bill Carrick said of Latino turnout in November. "They have been activated."
[...]
Latino Republicans face a different battle — and one that could have long-term consequences for their party.

Juan Rodriguez, 43, a prominent Colombian immigrant in Des Moines who owns a restaurant, an insurance agency and a Spanish-language radio station, said he decided to support Bush in part because Bush has stood up to Trump. Rodriguez also likes that Bush speaks Spanish, is married to a Latina and called Rodriguez personally to win his endorsement.

Rodriguez has been working hard to persuade fellow Latino business owners to caucus for Bush. A few have agreed. But others, like his brother, say they aren't willing to consider Republican candidates because of Trump.

"Why should we vote for Republicans? They're going to deport everybody," his brother, a barbershop owner whose clientele is largely in the U.S. illegally, told him recently. "They're going to deport my customers."

I don't know what will happen with this. All I know is what happened in my home state 20 years ago. I wrote about it in depth here. Let's just say it didn't work out well for the Republican Party.

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