Trump has Latino supporters. We know this because, well, the polls indicate as much, and the cameras at the RNC made sure to show off the few in attendance. So it’s not up for debate whether Latino Trump supporters exist, but the nagging question no one has been able to answer to any degree of certainty is:
Why do any Latinos support Trump?
In a recent interview with Bill Maher, America Ferrera attempted to explain this phenomenon, saying, “Latino Americans are Americans, and they care about the same things all Americans care about. So of course there’s going to be a portion of the American Latino population that is angry.”
If you’re angry, Trump is the perfect candidate.
Seems to me like some of these Texas delegates w/ Latinos for Trump signs are not Latino someone is passing them out pic.twitter.com/z8KuCdyqny
— Eliza Collins (@elizacollins1) July 22, 2016
Credit: @ElizaCollins1 / Twitter
At the risk of painting them with too broad a brush, Latinos leaning towards Trump tend to come from working class backgrounds, who have lived in historically Latino neighborhoods that are experiencing economic stress and the impending wave of gentrification. They work hard, they want relief, and they believe that Trump, who calls himself an outsider, is someone who can offer them their relief. And I get it. I’ve spent most of adult life at or below the poverty level. Relief sounds amazing, but not if it comes at the expense of human beings. Or as Trump calls them, “illegals.” And let’s be clear, Trump is not about relief. Trump is about cultivating a toxic mix of worship and fear-mongering.
In politics, the word immigrant is code for Latino.
Credit: Lucas Molandes
I’m not the most Latino person you’ll ever meet. I don’t speak Spanish well, and I just ate guacamole with peas in it. But let’s say Trump does get all the immigrants out of this country. Where do you think all that fear and anger he’s cultivated will be redirected to? The fact is in this country “immigrant” tends to be a stand-in for Latino, and when it comes to anti-immigrant rhetoric, having actual papers tends to be less relevant than having brown skin.