Why Latinos Can’t Dump the Trump

By Vicky Llerena, Ideas Press  


Unrelated to my usual daily grind of marketing and video promos, I felt compelled to write a blog posts on Trump . After being invited to serve as a guest panelist at New Jersey City University Latino Talk event, I started to consider my role as a Latino women and its representation in the presidential race. Here it goes — enjoy.

Let’s set the record straight: Trump, by no means is a threat to the Latino community. This emotionally reckless real estate tycoon turned reality TV star has transformed our evening news into a spectacle variety prime time show – welcome to American politics. His rants on Mexico sending rapists, drug lords, and criminals have landed him headlines on all national media outlets. And who can forget his infamous one line insult to Univision Host, Jorge Ramos, “Go back to Univision.” Ah yes, dear ol’ Trump, your name has become synonymous to the phrase “Latinos” – ay Dios mio!

Yet, his xenophobic Trump campaign has taught the Latino community some indispensable political lessons:

Wake Up the Sleeping Giant

Since Obama’s reelection in 2012, the Latino issue has moved to the back burner by both Conservatives and Democrats. Sure, we all remember Obama’s was a supporter of the DREAM Act back in 2010, but all it gave birth to was a watered down version known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which stipulated few of the provisions and benefits included in the original DREAM Act.

Trump, on the other hand, has recently ignited the fire for Latinos. Arguably, one can claim that Trump has made the Latino matter a hot button issue for this presidential election. His threats on deporting 11.5 million illegal immigrants, buildings fences that stretch across the frontier, and his provocative claims to make “America white again” have antagonized the sleeping giant: Latinos.

We know that the Hispanic vote was a crucial voting block for Obama’s presidential victories. In fact, pollsters consider the Latino vote the fastest growing segment of eligible voters. Consider the Latino voting influence: by 2016, we will have 26.7 million Latinos eligible to vote – a 58% jump from a decade ago. And although the Latino vote lagged behind the African American vote and the White vote in 2012, this powerful and influential electorate could result in a large voter turnout.

David vs. Goliath

In his self-proclaimed doctrine, Saul Alinsky (for all those polisci enthusiasts) asserts that social movements are successful when one is able to strategically identify the protagonist from the antagonist. Perhaps Trump is a perfect illustration of Alinsky’s argument. Love him or hate him, the multi-billionaire entrepreneur embodies the idea of power and white supremacy. His unfavorable comments to the Latino community, however superficial they may be, have painted him as the cynical one-eyed Goliath preying on the defenseless illegal Latino community.

More beyond than this, the phrase Latino – a unique identifying ethnic idiom – embodies a larger community that extends beyond illegal immigrants. As cliché as it may sound, Latinos stick together. Perhaps having Trump attack a sub-group of the Latino community has inadvertently made the Latino community more united. He’s even got political commentaries and celebrities jumping on the “I despise Trump” bandwagon. Singers Pitbull, Ricky Martin, Shakira, and former Miss Universe have openly voiced their disapproval against Trump.

Creating Social Movement Mobilization

The National Council of La Raza—political advocacy group helping Latinos in civic engagement, civil rights, education, and immigration– , held a conference in Kansas City , with the hopes of registering more Latinos to vote for this upcoming election. The Latino Victory Project, an organization founded by Eva Longoria aimed at helping Latino politicians win local, sate, and federal offices, produced a promo video with actors uttering anti-Latino racist slurs originally stated by Republican candidates.

Is an anti-immigration stance a political suicide? As paradoxical as this may sound, Trump’s political comments are conducive to the Latino voting power.

But as we learned with Don Francisco’s 53-year career (he was Chilean host of the longest running international Latino variety program in history), the show can’t go on forever. We must learn to use verbal attacks as attributes, insults as opportunities, set backs as comebacks. This may be the year for Latinos and Donald Trump is just the guy we need to help us get there.

20151026 PG9 LLERENAVicky Llerena is SVM’s host, content creator, and public relations strategist. No amateur to the media industry, Vicky brings with her over eight years of experience having worked at Univision WXTV-41, Hudson Media Group, and PRNewswire. She works with clients to manage all their media communications needs. Aside from managing SVM, Vicky is also an adjunct professor at Saint Peter’s University, New Jersey City Institute of Technology and Hudson County Community College. Vicky is a member of the New York Journalism Press Club.