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La Opinión: Trump and the Limits of Latino Power

Editors of La Opinión argue that NBC’s decision to end its relationship with Donald Trump is significant, but it doesn’t change the fact that immigrants are still treated as a “piñata” by Republicans.

While launching his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump insulted Mexican immigrants. This case is helping to show that the Latino community has economic influence and can successfully exert it when its members are outraged. On the flip side, in this same situation, the community’s political power is nonexistent if it’s measured by the same criteria.

NBC’s decision to end its relationship with the star of its show “The Apprentice” and the broadcasting of beauty pageants organized by Trump’s companies is a victory for dozens of Latino organizations and the 200,000 people who signed an online petition calling for the network to break up with the tycoon. In the end, it did. We can’t help but wonder whether the network would have done the same if it didn’t own Telemundo, whose image would have been damaged if its parent company continued its relationship with Trump after Univision had severed ties with him regarding the broadcasting of the Miss Universe pageant.

Trump’s style is noisy and smug. His political discourse is filled with falsehoods and exaggerations. Accusing the majority of immigrants who come to the United States to work and get ahead of being criminals and rapists is part of a strategy to promote himself.

While Trump’s ridiculous, malicious accusations had a counterproductive effect on his business relationships, the same didn’t happen in politics. This was an opportunity for a Republican rival to denounce Trump’s insulting discourse and say in public what is being talked about in the media: the negative impact that someone like Trump has on the Republican brand. However, that didn’t happen.

The problem is that, whether we like it or not, Trump’s message resonates with the Republican base. While all other presidential hopefuls remained silent to avoid alienating that recalcitrant base, Senator Ted Cruz seemed to be the most sincere. He supported Trump and validated the millionaire’s stance on immigration.

The victory that NBC’s decision represents is significant. However, let’s not fool ourselves into believing that it improves the political position of Latinos. Immigrants are still a piñata for Republicans.

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