OPINION

Rick Sanchez: Anti-Trump Latinos reaching record levels in Florida

Trump at a campaign rally March 7, 2016 in Concord, North Carolina.

Trump at a campaign rally March 7, 2016 in Concord, North Carolina.  (2016 Getty Images)

As a lifelong Floridian, I can say we’re used to being coveted. So when Donald Trump comes to town – salivating and losing his mind at rallies – neither I nor anybody else down here are surprised. 

Taking the big 99 delegates would be truly huge for Trump. Florida’s delegates are winner-take-all and, for the past month, Trump has been consistently on top in all the Florida polls — signaling that he will take them all and thereby be well on his way to the nomination.

[Bendixon and Amandi] pollster found that Trump would get only 16 percent of the Hispanic vote, proving that if you continually insult and offend a certain minority group they will eventually repel you like the plague. Who knew, right?

- Rick Sanchez

There is one problem though, the establishment GOP knows that and so does Sen. Marco Rubio. Both are trying to fight off the Trump victory in Florida that no longer seems inevitable.

But Trump’s lead in Florida is dwindling. Ever since he went even more off the rails – and that’s saying something for Trump – consistently and publicly engaging Rubio on his hands and penis size, Trump’s numbers have actually begun to slide. His margins here used to be consistently in double digits, now they’re in single digits. 

In the last couple of weeks, both Public Policy Polling and Quinnipiac showed Trump beating Rubio by 20 and 16 percentage points respectively. But a Monmouth poll this week shows Rubio (30 percent) closing the gap and now only eight points behind Trump (38 percent).

Knowing that, what can we expect from Trump? I’d say it’s a safe bet that he’ll go even more bat s—t crazy. Trump’s recent rally in Orlando may be just a precursor for what’s to come. While on stage he asked his followers, many who are proud and committed white supremacists and even neo Nazis, to raise their right hands and repeat an oath of loyalty to him. No, it wasn’t a heil Hitler salute, but it sure looked like one. It’s as if Trump was taunting us, he had to know what that image would look like, right?    

There is no question that Trump is desperate to take down the Florida Senator he refers to as “little Marco” and will do whatever it takes to do so. So when Rubio points out that Trump can’t beat Hillary Clinton, Trump goes after both he and former Florida governor Jeb Bush. 

“I used to listen to Jeb Bush ... say that I couldn’t beat Hillary Clinton, I would say to him — then what does that say about you? “You can’t beat me!” And the crowd roared. 

The irony is that Bush was right. Trump, by indulging the worst in GOP voters, made himself unbeatable to Bush. While Bush was trying to mend fences with potential GOP voters who have long felt the party had left them behind, Trump was mowing them down, insulting especially Latinos who by sheer numbers alone will likely decide who becomes the next president. That alone makes Trump all but a lock to lose the general election.

Here’s why. According to a recent poll conducted by the Bendixon and Amandi research group, Trump would get absolutely slaughtered among Hispanic voters. The premier Latino pollster found that Trump would get only 16 percent of the Hispanic vote, proving that if you continually insult and offend a certain minority group they will eventually repel you like the plague. Who knew, right?  

Think about it. Back when George W. Bush was getting more than 40 percent of the Hispanic vote, news reports talked about “the death of the Democratic party in presidential elections.”  But since then, the Latino vote in presidential elections has eroded. 

Senator and candidate John McCain got 31 percent of the Latino vote. Then it went down further when Mitt Romney got only 27 percent of the Latino vote, leading most analysts to conclude it had cost him the election. They were right. 

It’s virtually impossible to mathematically win the general election for president with less than 30 percent of the Hispanic vote — can’t be done! Now imagine a candidate getting only 16 percent of the Hispanic vote. Down here in Florida, that’s what we call “muerto.” Translation: Trump’s candidacy in the general election is as good as dead. 

Now add to that the enthusiasm factor and what you have is a likely landslide. Fueled by the recent GOP tendency toward immigrant bashing disguised as border security, and by Trump’s highly charged, offensive and downright insulting language, young Latinos are registering to vote in record numbers even in places like Iowa, Alabama and North Carolina.

It’s a double whammy for the GOP that promises to undo all the goodwill established by presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bush 43, who were all generally admired, respected and more importantly, supported by Hispanic American voters.

Can it get any worse for Republicans hoping to expand their base? At the rate things are going, and with Trump continuing to win primaries, the bad news is, yes it can. Hold on to your sombreros folks, the general election is going to get really bumpy.         

Rick Sanchez is a contributor for Fox News Latino.

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