Fabiola Santiago

Donald Trump says Hispanics love him. Survey says: Wrong!

Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at West Chester University in West Chester, Pennsylvania, on Monday.
Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at West Chester University in West Chester, Pennsylvania, on Monday. Bloomberg

“The Hispanics love me.” — Donald Trump

There he goes, thinking and spinning again.

Despite the hoopla over a freakish figure in Nevada — that Trump won 44 percent of the Hispanic vote, according to exit polls — most polling of Latinos nationwide shows we can’t stand The Donald. Still, in a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, Trump insists: “That was the single greatest vote ever cast for President Trump!”

But here’s a reality check: A nationwide survey by Latino Decisions of registered Hispanic voters finds that 87 percent have an unfavorable opinion of Trump. In a poll by the Washington Post and Univision, 8 out of 10 Latinos viewed Trump unfavorably. And Trump calls the media dishonest?

In swing-state Florida, where the Republican Party’s leadership has wholeheartedly endorsed Trump, the dislike for the billionaire mogul dips a little. But the negative numbers are still high and show that the love Trump thinks he inspires in the heart of America’s largest minority group is one of the most delusional of the GOP front-runner’s statements. And he has quite a record on that score.

No matter what you call us, Hispanics or Latinos, or our geography, it’s simply not true that we like Trump.

In Florida, where Cuban-Americans are more conservative than other Latinos, a whopping 73 percent of Hispanic voters say they view the Republican presidential front-runner unfavorably. Another 11 percent view him “somewhat unfavorably.

So which Hispanics love him?

A tiny minority of 9 percent nationwide and 16 percent in Florida.

Most think Trump is toxic and is pushing the Republican Party in the wrong direction. Why does it matter? Because against Hillary Clinton, Trump would lose Florida’s Hispanic vote in nothing short of an embarrassing smack-down — 69 percent to 18, according to the poll conducted by the political research group Latino Decisions and commissioned by the pro-immigration reform group America’s Voice.

Short and long-term, the Republican Party will pay for Trump’s divisive campaign, for rallying nativists and pitting them against minority groups without any regard to the damage he’s inflicting on the country. When a group of people is attacked, they retrench, regroup, recharge. And that’s what’s happening with Hispanics, who are registering to vote in high numbers, according to activists. They’re becoming a more powerful voting bloc — and in Florida, which has made a big difference in previous elections, Hispanics already have tremendous political and economic power. They count and they vote.

The GOP’s problem with Latinos pre-dates Trump — and nowhere is that more true than in Florida.

The Florida GOP and Donald Trump are a match made in policy.

Xenophobia explains their chemistry. But fear of immigrants isn’t the only bonding element. Trump can’t stop saying nasty things about women. The GOP-dominated Florida Legislature can’t stop legislating against women’s rights — this session it passed the strongest anti-abortion laws seen post Roe v. Wade. And there’s not an anti-immigrant move by Texas or Louisiana that Republican Gov. Rick Scott and his attorney general, Pam Bondi, don’t imitate or join. That includes the Texas case against the president’s protective executive actions on behalf of DREAMer kids and their parents, now under Supreme Court review.

There’s not a whole lot of mystery about Republican leadership support of Trump when the state’s GOP vice-chairman, Joe Gruters, is co-chairman of the Trump campaign in Florida. How much more official than that can the GOP endorsement of Trump’s campaign get?

Trump’s rhetoric has been the Florida GOP’s agenda — only Scott, Bondi, and other GOP leaders aren’t bombastic like Trump. But they’re just as lethal to immigrants and other minority groups.

And about that “greatest vote ever” for Trump in Nevada, it was only a tiny subset of Latinos — 8 percent of Republicans voting in the caucus. The Trump claim that he’s “No.1 with Hispanics” is based on 125 Republicans.

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