Seth McLaughlin, Washington Times, October 27, 2015
Facing the growing threat of Donald Trump capturing their party’s presidential nomination, Hispanic Republicans are hitting the panic button and taking a unified stand against the bombastic billionaire.
On the eve of the third GOP debate, about two dozen Hispanic leaders emerged Tuesday from a closed-door meeting in Colorado with a stark warning for Republicans: They can kiss the Hispanic vote, and their chances of winning the White House, goodbye if Mr. Trump is nominated.
“Our message to Trump is, ‘You’re done,’ ” said Alfonso Aguilar, director of American Principles Project’s Latino Partnership and former official in the administration of President George W. Bush. “‘We think if you are the candidate that Republicans will lose the White House.’”
Mr. Aguilar and the other Hispanic leaders said they plan to monitor the rest of the GOP field over the coming weeks and months, and could decide to write off others based on their immigration views.
“We’re going to hold you accountable,” he warned.
Given Colorado’s deep pool of Hispanic voters, Wednesday’s debate could focus more on immigration, which polls show–and activist say–is a threshold issue for many Hispanics who won’t even look at a candidate that comes out against robust legalization.
The Hispanic “summit” Tuesday was billed as the first of its kind, and attendees said they’ve scheduled another meeting a day before the Dec. 15 debate in Nevada, which is also home to many Latino voters.
Mr. Trump has pledged to support whoever wins the GOP nomination. Hispanic leaders, however, said they won’t support Mr. Trump.
“We still have hope that we can help elect a Republican candidate, but we are 100 percent united behind the fact that Mr. Trump is not our guy,” Massey Villarreal, former head of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said before the meeting.
“We are not going to shy away from the fact that if Mr. Trump is the nominee, we will encourage Latinos to write their own candidate in,” he said.
Mr. Aguilar said he would “leave the ballot blank,” and also said that it would be “naive” to suggest that Mr. Trump is the only GOP candidate who could jeopardize the party’s chances of winning over more Hispanics.
“Trump is in a league of his own, but there is a concern about the way Cruz has been handling the issue,” he said.