Despite apparently insulting the Hispanic community in the Republican primary and the general election, president-elect Donald J. Trump actually outperformed former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney among Hispanic voters in the 2016 election.
At last count, Trump has secured around 29 percent of Latino voters, nationwide, compared to Romney’s 27 percent. This, according to Helen Aguirre Ferre, the head of the Republican National Committee’s Hispanic media, is proof that Hispanic voters are not monolithic and were able to look beyond the reported insults to support a candidate that promised bold change.
Speaking to Opportunity Lives shortly after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered her concession speech on Wednesday, Ferre said the Republican Party remains committed to reaching out to the Hispanic and immigrant community.
“Hispanics, like other voters, care about jobs and the economy,” Ferre said to Georgia weekly Post, adding that Trump’s message cut across racial and demographic lines.
Although Trump’s Latino support was well short of the 44 percent President George W. Bush secured in his successful 2004 reelection bid, the business mogul defied pollsters and pundits who predicted embarrassingly low support for the president-elect after a year marked by perceived insults and gaffes.
Ferre has spent the past year communicating the Republican Party’s message to a hostile Spanish-language media. She said Trump’s support for greater school choice may have played a role in the heightened Latino support for the business mogul turned politician.
“Hispanics support school choice…. President-elect Donald Trump is totally in favor while Secretary Clinton is against,” Ferre said at the Republican National Committee’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., just a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol.
Although there is scant exit poll evidence from the most recent presidential election to corroborate Ferre’s claim, there is overwhelming evidence that Hispanic voters care deeply about education policy, often more so than immigration. Several recent pollsconfirm high levels of support among Hispanic voters for school choice, including an expansion of public charter schools.
School choice advocacy groups such as the American Federation for Children, expressed optimism for school choice after Trump’s surprise victory and Republican maintaining control of both chambers of Congress. American Federation for Children, Betsy DeVos, expressed enthusiasm in a release:
“There is an education revolution underway in America. In election after election, voters have risen up to elect candidates who support bold school choice policies and that was evident on election night, from the statehouse to the White House.”
Still, there is palpable concern among the Latino community following the Trump victory, especially from immigrant advocacy groups like United We Dream, which sent out a release to Georgia Weekly Post and others following the election results warning of a “state of urgency.”
Ferre dismissed these concerns saying that Donald Trump is going to be a president for all Americans adding that the only ones that need to worry under a Trump administration are criminals. “If you are not a criminal, you have nothing to worry about… But if you are, watch out,” she said.