America’s Hispanic community is thanking Donald Trump. Because of his racist, xenophobic, rhetoric, repeated by other GOP candidates, Hispanic voters will be showing up to the polls in droves to make sure the GOP doesn’t gain the White House.

From the beginning, Trump has done his level best to alienate the Hispanic community. Since June, he has portrayed Mexican immigrants as “rapists and drug pushers,” proposed deportation of over 11 million undocumented residents, and called for pressuring the Mexican government to build a wall along the border. In an interview with Politico, US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce CEO Javier Palomarez said:

I think the greatest thing to ever happen to the Hispanic electorate is a gentleman named Donald Trump, he has crystallized the angst and anger of the Hispanic community…I think that we can all rest assured that Hispanics can turn out in record numbers.

José Calderón, president of the Hispanic Federation, added, “he’s helping us out, the base is energized – I think people are really eager to stand up and say this is not who we are.” Calderón expects his organization to register as many as 600,000 Hispanic voters during this election cycle – ten times the usual number.

Amazingly, Trump still has some support among Hispanics. According to Politico, 13% of Hispanic voters continue to have a positive opinion of his candidacy, much less than the 40% most believe necessary for the GOP to win the White House. Trump will be meeting with Palomarez publicly in October in an attempt to rehabilitate his image with Hispanics. It’s not likely to do much good, however. Most Hispanic voters are concentrated in California and Texas. These voters are primarily of Mexican ancestry, and tend to vote Democratic in any event. Hispanic Republicans are mainly of Cuban descent, and favor Rubio and Bush.

It’s not the first time Hispanic voters have been motivated to turn out in large numbers. In 1994, California voters were presented with Proposition 187, which would have prevented children of undocumented immigrants from accessing educational and health care services. Hispanic voters turned out in record numbers in attempts to defeat the measure. Although the initiative passed, it was later overturned by the court – and Hispanics may have been instrumental in turning California into a “blue” state.

Trump has said “Hispanics love me!” His campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, continues to cling to that delusion. He says, “Poll after poll continues to show that Hispanics are supporting Mr. Trump at a disproportionate rate to any of the other candidates.”

Trump, as well as the rest of the GOP candidates, are likely to get a rude awakening. Henry Muñoz of the Latino Victory Fund sums it up quite well:

[Trump] is taking every single candidate in the Republican Party, marching them, they are following him down the road that is completely disrespectful of the fastest demographic in the country.

 

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K.J. McElrath is a former history and social studies teacher who has long maintained a keen interest in legal and social issues.