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Marlen Garcia: Prejudice against Mexicans? Trump’s still all in

On Tuesday, an artist known as Plastic Jesus constructed a six-inch high "'wall" around the Hollywood Walk of Fame star of Donald Trump in Los Angeles. By Wednesday, the wall was gone. (Photo by Nick Stern via AP)

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By now we’ve heard a lot about the plagiarized portions of Melania Trump’s speech and jeers for Sen. Ted Cruz over his refusal to endorse Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the GOP convention in Cleveland.

What also stood out for me was the official GOP party platform adopted this week. After noting the importance of securing America’s borders, the party doubled down on building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

“… We support building a wall along our southern border and protecting all ports of entry. The border wall must cover the entirety of the southern border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.”

All that was missing was a quote from Trump about making Mexico pay for it.


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This only served as a stark reminder that instead of backing off prejudiced remarks he made in June 2015 about Mexicans in America being rapists and engaging in criminal activities, Trump stayed all in.

U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, tried to soften Trump’s insistence on a wall by telling Illinois delegates that he doesn’t take Trump literally about building one, that it’s really about fixing immigration. But the party platform is clear.

Calling for the building of a wall might be good for the party’s morale in the vacuum of the GOP convention. It’s also fantasyland. Experts have weighed in on the logistics of building a wall and all that must be taken into account, such as building deep to prevent underground tunneling and protecting precious canals that deliver water from the Rio Grande River to southern Texas.

If Trump wins, no wall will be built. But he already has succeeded in driving away Mexican-Americans and other Latinos from the GOP. This week a poll by NBC News, the Wall Street Journal and Telemundo showed that Clinton leads Trump 76 percent to 14 percent with registered Latino voters. Eighty-two percent had an unfavorable view of Trump.

For perspective, in 2012, President Barack Obama garnered 71 percent of the Latino vote against Republican Mitt Romney. Romney’s meager 27 percent had Republicans briefly brainstorming about how to engage Latinos.

With his recurring offensive remarks, Trump has even alienated the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which for the first time has made an endorsement in a presidential election. Its choice is Hillary Clinton, but the endorsement is really more of a condemnation of Trump.

“On one side, we have seen a candidate who has openly mocked and marginalized women, Hispanics, veterans, African-Americans, Muslims and the disabled, while turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to the dangerous undercurrents of anti-Semitism and homophobia emanating from his campaign and his followers,” Javier Palomarez, the group’s president and CEO, wrote on Medium.

“We cannot stand silently in the face of a campaign that is intent on dividing our country by pointing fingers and assigning blame for America’s problems to entire creeds or ethnic groups. This is not our way … and it isn’t the American Way.”

The GOP for now has lost a group that is all about supporting small businesses. Republicans have long claimed to be advocates for small businesses and job growth, and the GOP platform touches on this.

But the message is lost amid Trump’s prejudices.


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