Donald Trump doubles down on Hispanic feud
Donald Trump is taking his marbles and going home. Or maybe, he's just losing them.
Within a week of Trump's appallingly offensive comments about Latinos and his equally stunningly tone-deaf refusal to apologize for calling Mexicans rapists and drug dealers, Trump's Latino business base started to collapse. A Mexican pageant official, (and former Miss Universe herself), Lupita Jones, suggested Mexico might not participate in Trump's Miss Universe" contest this year. Then, Univision, the influential Spanish-language network, announced it would not show the Miss Universe pageant – a huge blow for Trump, as the pageant is extremely popular in Latin America and has had a disproportionate number of Latina winners.
And it's a pretty bad way to connect with Hispanic voters in the U.S., where Univision is the fifth most watched network, in any language, in the country, and which frequently out-delivered all other U.S. networks among 18-34-year-olds in the first quarter of this year. And Hispanic leaders in the U.S. urged NBC to cut ties, as well. And inside Mexico, former president Felipe Calderon called Trump a "hypocrite"; other influential Mexicans called him a racist and an "imbecile," and locals peddled a Trump piñata, with an unflattering yet recognizable depiction of the real estate mogul, ready for children to bash open.
One might think that the reaction would cause Trump to re-think his behavior and boorish comments. Instead, the world-class self-promotor went into full whiny bully mode. He threatened to sue Univision for breach of contract for refusing to air the pageant (who know how that will turn out, but it's fair to assume Univision had a little chit-chat with its own lawyers before making the decision, and it's even more likely that the brand damage Trump suffers from Univision's bolt can't be made up with money; after all, Trump has reminded us that he's "really rich" – so this can't be all about cash).
Then, he declared that no Univision employee would be allowed to use his Trump National Doral, the golf club nearby Univision's offices. And finally, he announced an open spat with respected Univision host Jorge Ramos, saying Ramos and others were "begging" for interviews with him, and publishing Ramos' cell phone number, just to be an irritant.
Thank God he's only running for president, and not putting himself up to be the next president's secretary of state. But what's more striking than Trump's pure bad behavior is his utter cluelessness about politics, governing and campaigning.
So Ramos wants an interview? That doesn't mean he likes you, pal. It means he wants to ask you, on camera, why you would so willingly and willfully insult the fastest-growing and increasingly powerful vote in America. And considering how many journalists were dying for an interview with escaped New York prisoner and convicted murderer David Sweat after authorities shot and captured him Sunday, a request for an interview is not necessarily a compliment.
Then there's Trump's rather dim and naïve understanding of how American government works, with its three branches and all. In his note to Univision, which sounded more like a middle-schooler's Facebook taunt to a classmate, Trump closed:
Nope. You don't get to make such unilateral actions as president. This isn't "The Apprentice," and you can't "fire" NAFTA or Congress or all the other things that presidents have to tangle with. Oh, and no one's building a wall between the two countries without the support of Congress and a massive cash commitment from taxpayers who elect them. In other words, that ain't happening.
Trump seems to think he's got a chance, or a base, or a calling. None of those things is true, despite the breathless coverage of polls showing Trump in second place in the New Hampshire primary. The poll, at this stage in the contest, means nothing – or at least, it means nothing good for the GOP. It's not a sign of support for Trump or anyone else, but a repeat of the problem the party had in 2012 – that no candidate is getting the primary electorate to rally around him or her, and nearly every contender will enjoy a time at or near the top.
After all, pizza man Herman Cain topped the polls at one point in the 2012 campaign, as did Newt Gingrich. Neither came close to winning the nomination, and the ultimate, last-man-standing pick, Mitt Romney, lost to President Barack Obama despite the fact that the country was still struggling its way out of a bad recession.
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