Shane Goldmacher points out that Donald Trump is running an English-only presidential campaign.
Isn’t that a good thing?
It was just over a year ago, at a nationally televised debate, when Donald Trump chided Jeb Bush for speaking another language on the campaign trail. “This is a country,” Trump said standing at the lectern next to Bush, “where we speak English, not Spanish.” The crowd at the Ronald Reagan presidential library applauded. Ever since, Trump has stayed true to his word.Trump’s English-only campaign By Shane Goldmacher, September 23, 2016
According to Goldmacher, Trump is not running any Spanish language ads.
With 46 days until the November elections, and as early voting begins in a handful of states, Trump is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish.
Let’s see, we’ve been in the twenty-first century for sixteen years. But it sounds more impressive to say “this century” than “sixteen years” or even “four presidential election cycles”.
Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition.
Good for Trump. Politicians should not be campaigning in a foreign language.
“He’s not willing to give into anything that shows that he wants to cater to us,” said Juan Hernandez, a Hispanic Republican and former adviser to President George W. Bush. “And he believes that he doesn’t have to. He believes he can still squeeze out a few more white, over 50 [year-old] votes.”
For more on this Juan Hernandez, now the Hispanic point man the campaign of Gary Johnson, click here
While the majority of Latino voters are English-speaking, Trump’s refusal to campaign in Spanish is a powerful symbol of how little heed Trump has paid to America’s shifting demographics. Latinos now make up about 10 percent of the national vote, with electorally potent concentrations in crucial battlegrounds such as Florida, Colorado, Nevada and even North Carolina.
OK, so Goldmacher admits that “the majority of Latino voters are English-speaking”. (Actually, they all should be).
But it’s all about symbolism, says Goldmacher, “Trump’s refusal to campaign in Spanish is a powerful symbol of how little heed Trump has paid to America’s shifting demographics”.
Yes it is “symbolism”. It’s symbolic of the fact that Trump knows this is an English-speaking country and should remain so. As for the use of Spanish in our political campaigns, that too is symbolic, of the growing power being exerted by Hispanic culture over traditional Anglo-America.
So it’s highly symbolic however you look at it.
Adolfo Franco, a veteran Republican strategist who served as a top Hispanic surrogate for Mitt Romney and John McCain, said he had “a more cynical view” of Trump’s studied avoidance of campaigning in Spanish. “I think they’ve made a calculation that going on Spanish TV in a more concentrated fashion and also placing ads in Spanish would upset his base,” Franco said.
So should Trump not appeal to his base?
Trump’s bid for the White House has been powered by working-class white voters and summed up by his slogan — Make America Great Again — that appeals to a bygone era of prosperity whose disappearance is blamed on immigration and globalization. Trump called illegal Mexican immigrants rapists and drug-dealers in his announcement speech, and chants of “Build that wall!” are among the loudest at his rallies. That has left a growing number of prominent Latino Republicans on the sidelines in 2016, backing Hillary Clinton or even Libertarian Gary Johnson, whom Hernandez has endorsed. Multiple members of Trump’s National Hispanic Advisory Council resigned after his heated anti-immigrant rhetoric following his trip to Mexico.
Trump’s immigration proposals are totally reasonable, so if these members of Trump’s “Hispanic Advisory Council” saw fit to resign over them, the Trump Campaign is better off without them.
And one of the co-chairs of Romney’s Hispanic outreach operation, former Bush Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, has starred in a Spanish-language ad this cycle — for Clinton.“Votar por Trump? No puedo,” Gutierrez says. (Translation: “Vote for Trump? I can’t.”)
So Gutierrez was a co-chair of Romney’s “Hispanic outreach operation”? Now there’s a successful campaign we can learn from, the 2012 Romney campaign.
Well, I guess we can learn from it how not to run a winning campaign.
Romney, McCain and Bush all operated Spanish-language versions of their websites. Romney dispatched his Spanish-speaking son, Craig, as an ambassador in TV ads and on the trail (“Somos una nación de inmigrantes,” the younger Romney said in one ad). McCain and Bush, who both hailed from border states, ran Spanish-languages ads. Bush himself narrated some, memorably beginning them, “Soy George W. Bush” with his distinctive Texas accent.
McCain and Romney both lost. The Bush administration helped set the stage for Obama’s triumph in 2008. So I question what great examples these guys are.
Four years ago, a total of $23 million was spent on Spanish-language ads in the 2012 presidential race by Obama, Romney and their backers; so far in 2016, Trump has spent zero. Trump’s campaign declined to comment for this story.
Good for Trump.
The Trump campaign’s most notable dabbling in Spanish consisted of a single word — and it was misused. At the Republican convention in Cleveland, officials handed out signs that read “Hispanics Para Trump,” which both didn’t translate Hispanics [sic] and used the incorrect Spanish word for “for” (para instead of por).
See how complicated it can be? And that’s just two pronouns.
Of course, the Clinton Campaign is campaigning in Spanish.
In recent weeks, Clinton has begun airing hundreds of thousands of dollars in Spanish-language ads in Nevada and Florida. A trio of supportive super PACs, meanwhile, have announced a $3 million Spanish-language buy, so far in those same two states, as well as Colorado. In addition, Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, spoke in Spanish at both his vice-presidential announcement and convention speeches. Her website prominently features a half-dozen buttons atop the homepage; one of them “En español” is the portal to her Spanish-language site.“We have some voters that really want to communicate in Spanish,” said Lorella Praeli, the Clinton campaign’s Latino outreach director, describing a three-pronged approach to wooing Hispanic voters — in English, Spanish and a blend of both languages
So one prong of Hillary’s campaign for Hispanic voters is “a blend of both languages”? Spanglish?
Of Trump’s approach to Latinos, Praeli said, “He has insulted us and he has tried to demonize our community from the beginning.”
Is she saying that call for a secure border, and a recognition that crimes are committed by illegal aliens are insulting to what she calls “our community”? So does she consider illegal aliens who rape and murder part of “our community”?
How about the well-being of the “American community”?
In a sign of Trump’s toxicity among Hispanic voters, he’s already being attacked in Spanish by a fellow Republican. Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois unveiled an ad last week touting that, “Yo no apoyo a Trump,” which translates as “I don’t support Trump.”
Senator Kirk has a D- from Numbers USA, see here
Behind the scenes, Trump’s campaign has done some quiet outreach to Latino Republicans — and been repeatedly rebuffed. Several top Hispanic Republicans, including Hernandez and Franco, told POLITICO they were recruited to join Trump Tower as surrogates or advisers. They refused. Franco said he turned them down because of Trump’s “gross generalizations, xenophobia and a number of comments that have absolutely crossed the line.” “I didn’t even answer,” Hernandez scoffed.
I’d say if they turned Trump down the campaign is better off without them.
Trump’s Hispanic outreach has been run mostly by Helen Aguirre Ferré of the Republican National Committee, who is respected by her peers, many of whom were surprised to see her take the job. She replaced Ruth Guerra, who reportedly resigned over objections to working on behalf of Trump. (Unlike Trump, the RNC has produced some materials in Spanish.)But few other prominent Hispanic Republicans have come on board. That has hurt the Trump campaign’s presence on Spanish-language television programs, where the surrogate program has been weak, said Alfonso Aguilar, who who mobilized Hispanic supporters for Trump in July before rescinding his endorsementin protest over Trump’s immigration speech after his Mexico visit.
Once again, Trump’s proposals delivered in Arizona on that day were totally reasonable so if Aguilar didn’t like them, he has no place on the campaign.
Aguilar said he told the campaign, “You’re leaving a vacuum for the opposition to define the narrative in Spanish-language media and that’s exactly what’s happening.” When he was a surrogate, Aguilar said, there were no talking points or fact sheets, as there had been in the Romney, McCain and Bush campaigns. “You can run a campaign that’s different,” Aguilar said. “But you still need a professional operation.”
It’s now irrelevant, as Aguilar quit the campaign over Trump’s proposals given in Arizona.
Lionel Sosa, who cut ads targeting Hispanic voters for Ronald Reagan, including in Spanish, said he was among those contacted by Trump’s team this year. He said he told them he would only help the campaign if Trump apologized for his past offensive remarks. “I just can’t stomach Donald Trump,” Sosa said. Instead, he’s backing Johnson.
So Sosa wind up working for an open borders “libertarian” who opposes freedom of association? Trump is better off without such an advisor.
Kudos to Trump for his English-only campaign.