There's a saying in Spanish that goes "dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres" — that is, "tell me who you walk with and I'll tell you who you are." So it shouldn't surprise anyone that Donald Trump surrounds himself with people who seem to also share his often politically incorrect views. However, one adviser to his campaign made a comment this week that we just cannot ignore.
As we try to teach our kids compassion and understanding about those different from us, we're trying to look inward, too, to understand what would make Trump adviser Michael Cohen say something so bone-headed and incorrect. But we're coming up empty-handed.
"The truth, yeah, I'm trying to coordinate it because I am mindful of the fact that, you know, there are coalitions and I'm talking about now like Hispanic coalitions that … will not support Trump," Cohen told Yahoo News Dec. 9. "And that's OK because the ones that don't like Trump aren't even here legally and they can't vote, so it doesn't really matter, right? And I understand their point of view. They're — they do not want to be asked to leave, right? And go back where? Go back to their homes? You know they don't want to. So I understand."
Yes, you read that correctly. Trump's camp doesn't care about the Latino vote because they think Latinos who don't like Trump must all be undocumented immigrants who don't want to be deported. And the fact that he's surging in the polls after all this? Mind-boggling.
However, Cohen and the rest of Trump's camp are missing out on some critical facts about the actual demographics. According to data from the Pew Research Center, about 76 percent of the country's 54 million Hispanics were U.S. citizens in 2013. By 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau predicts there will be more than 58.1 million Hispanics living in the U.S.
There has been a large demographic shift among the Hispanic population since 2000, when U.S.-born Hispanics began to grow at a faster rate than the Hispanic immigrant population. It's estimated that around 800,000 U.S.-born Hispanics turn 18 every year, according to Pew Research — meaning they're eligible to vote. However, about 12 million Hispanics who were eligible in the last election did not vote. With a growing share in eligible voters, efforts are underway from multiple organizations to both register and ensure Hispanic voters will exercise their right to vote in the 2016 election.
Our biggest question: Who will Trump and his campaign manage to offend or alienate next?
In addition to backlash from some Hispanic Republicans in October who said they wouldn't back him in the general election if he continued with his bigoted rhetoric, several candidates and other GOP leaders have publicly denounced his comments on banning Muslim immigrants from entering the country, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
Now, Trump's political strategy has changed course to focus on courting African-American voters, despite the fact that he's often been in the hot seat for his "racially charged rhetoric." Trump recently hosted a meeting on Nov. 30 with religious leaders from the African-American community to drum up support.
After all, "you can't win a general election if your mindset is on the Southern white Christian coalition," Cohen told Yahoo News. "You need them, but you need the minority communities as well."
A new WSJ/NBC News poll released this week reveals that it may be tougher than Trump's advisers thing to convince minority communities to support him as a candidate after his most recent comments. Among those polled, 57 percent — regardless of political affiliation, race, ethnicity or gender — said they were against Trump's idea to ban Muslims from entering the country. Only 16 percent of those ages 18-34 who were polled agreed with Trump on the ban. The poll also showed age and gender gaps with disparate views on Trump and his campaign statements. Not surprisingly, Trump is most popular with older men, while 46 percent of the women in the poll agreed Trump's comments are "frequently insulting" and that they don't agree with his approach to many issues.