Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush held a “Veterans Forum” in Colorado today and tried once again to explain his comments about anchor babies. Yesterday in Texas, Bush tried to explain his earlier statement that the term was not offensive to Latinos. In the process, he alienated some Asians by saying that he was referring to Asian babies, not Latinos. Asian-American politicians have denounced Bush’s remarks.
Bush spoke at a VFW hall in Englewood, a Denver suburb Tuesday. Colorado was chosen because of its large Latino population. The event was orchestrated to announce Bush’s endorsement from 75 veterans to pivot the discussion away from immigration. The venue was risky because many older Veterans are more aligned with Trump on immigration than Bush.
“It’s an incredible honor to have the support of these heroic individuals,” Bush said of his new supporters, trying to stay on message. “I am committed to a safe America through a strong military, and having a strong military includes having policies that will keep our country’s commitment to our veterans.”
Nevertheless, thanks to Donald Trump, immigration dominated local coverage of Bush’s remarks. Trump had blasted Bush in a Tweet for speaking “Mexican” telling Bush to speak English. Bush responded with a jab at his fellow GOP candidate, implying that Trump “talks a good game” but might not be able to back it up. “I’m a doer, not a talker,” Bush asserted. “There’s (sic) a lot of talkers running for president. One in particular,” he said, referring to Trump.
The last thing Republicans wanted this election is for the campaign to be a contest to see which candidate can infuriate Hispanic and Asian voters more. After the last election, the GOP hired a consultant that told them the Party had a problem with Latino voters because of its policies and especially its tone. Republicans do not want to change their policies; they did want to change their tone to keep their policies out of the headlines. Then along came Trump.
Recent research points out that the changing demographics, coupled with the Republican proclivity for insulting Latinos, make it a long shot to win the White House in 2016. To win the popular vote in key battleground states, Republicans would need to nearly double the percentage of the Latino vote Romney received last election. Given the anti-immigrant vitriol spewed by so many Republicans this year, that is not likely.
Latino Decisions, an opinion research organization, released a report that examines the threshold of the Latino vote Republicans would need to win the election. The news is bad for Republicans. Even if the white turnout is high and the Latino turnout low, a Republican would need to get 42 percent of the Latino vote nation-wide to win the popular vote. The reason is that Republicans lost the African-American vote long ago, and are losing the women’s vote now. Romney only received votes from 23 percent of Latinos last election.
Since the election is not decided by the popular vote, but rather by electoral votes, Latino Decisions analyzed various scenarios in key battleground states Republicans need in order to win the White House. The news is even worse.
In Colorado, Latino Decisions found Republicans need 44 percent of the Latino vote; in Nevada, they need 45 percent. Republicans need 42 percent in New Mexico, 42 percent in Ohio, and 46 percent in Virginia. Obama carried all of these states twice. In Florida, Republicans need 47 percent, but they must win young Cuban-Americans to do well in Florida. Republican opposition to restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba is hurting their chances with young Latinos in Florida.
Republicans know Trump is a huuuuge problem, to use a Trumpism. This is why FOX News and the RNC tried to whack Trump in the first debate. The problem is, the base agrees with Trump. He was not punished even for insulting the idol of the right, Megyn Kelly. Trump is preventing any of the other 16 Republican candidates from getting any coverage unless they say something that further ruins the Party’s brand with minorities. It is beginning to look like this election is the Democrats to lose.