Some controversial statements.
Some Hispanics who supported Donald Trump this past election they ignored the current president’s anti-immigration rhetoric because of his position on issues such as abortion.
That is what former US President Barack Obama said this week in an interview, which generated controversy in the country.
Exit polls showed that Trump obtained a higher percentage of the so-called “Latino vote” in 2020 – a concept that groups some 32 million people – than in the 2016 elections.
The Republican president won the support of about 32% of voters from this diverse demographic in 2020, up 28% from 4 years ago.
In an interview with the podcast The Breakfast Club on Wednesday, Obama spoke of that support for Trump by Latinos.
“People were surprised that many of the Latino friends will vote for Trump ”, Obama pointed out, while speaking of the president’s harsh immigration policy, which made it one of the pillars of his government.
“But there are many Hispanic evangelicals for whom the fact that Trump says racist things about Mexicans or puts detained undocumented workers in cages is less important than the fact that he supports their views on gay marriage or abortion“, I consider.
Obama participated in the program as part of the promotion of his new book “A Promised Land”, which sold 1.7 million copies in North America in its first week.
The former president also considered in the interview that Trump’s Republican party has encouraged white men to see themselves as victims.
“In Republican politics, you see how the idea has been created that white men are victims (…) That they are the ones under attack, something that obviously does not fit with history, nor the data, nor with the economy” .
Obama vs. Trump
It is unclear what exactly Obama was referring to when he alluded to same-sex marriage.
A week after being elected in 2016, Trump said he agreed with the Supreme Court’s decision to allow same-sex marriage, even though he had told CNN a year earlier that he advocated for “Traditional marriage.”
Early in his run for the presidency in 2008, Obama actually opposed gay marriage, although in 2012 he said he was in favor.
In these past elections, Trump won 28% of the LGBT vote, the highest percentage that a Republican presidential candidate has won since George W. Bush in 2000.
Another of the most controversial parts of Obama’s statements was his reference to the cages”, Alluding to the facilities on the border where hundreds of children who had been separated from their parents were locked up in 2018 under Trump’s policy, the toughest to date in that regard.
However, these types of enclosures were built during the Obama presidency. Some 60,000 unaccompanied minors detained on the southern border of the United States with Mexico were transferred to those enclaves and kept there during the summer of 2014.
The Obama administration also separated migrant children from adults at the border, although only in exceptional circumstances.
Trump, for his part, has been harshly criticized for his words during the launch of his presidential campaign in 2015, when he said the following about Mexican migrants: “They bring drugs. They bring crime. They are rapists. And some, I suppose, are good people. “
“A vague analysis”
Criticism of Obama’s comments, especially from Republican ranks, was not long in coming.
Republican pollster Frank Luntz considered that Obama’s statements reflected a “Vague analysis” of the situation, which “will surely become the general opinion of his followers: ‘The people who don’t support us are fanatics.”
Steve Cortes, one of the advisers to this recent Trump campaign and a strategist specializing in the Latino vote, considered that Obama had insulted this demographic group.
“Despite how important the fundamental questions about life, it was economic factors that led the majority of working-class voters to vote for Trump, including Latinos. “
“Some Democrats believe that they can criticize the religious values and beliefs of Hispanics and still win their vote by playing the race card,” Texas Governor Greg Abbot tweeted.
“The Latino vote”
As the BBC Mundo correspondent in Los Angeles and specialist in issues affecting Latinos, Patricia Sulbarán, wrote, “the narrative of the Latino vote has accompanied electoral cycles for decades, but experts point out that the term encompasses myths that in this election were clearly dismantled ”.
“The experiences of Latinos in the United States are vast and very diverse depending on factors such as educational level, socioeconomic status, and geographic location,” the journalist explained.
“Despite strong and common ties such as the use of the Spanish language, identity definitions also vary according to other elements such as religion and family upbringing (…) and since all these factors form political opinions and positions, it is normal that there are Latinos who support candidates of both parties ”.
And it is that speaking of the “Latino vote” as a single one implies that it is a group of people who share the same points of view, “and although there are coincidences, not everyone thinks the same ”, BBC Mundo was highlighted by Mark López, director of Global Migration and Demographic Research at the Pew Research Center, based in Washington.
Among the total of Latinos with the right to vote in the country, 59% are Mexican or Mexican-American, 14% are Puerto Ricans, 5% of Cuban origin and 22% of other Hispanic origins, according to figures from the Pew Center of 2016.
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