The year 2016 will always be remembered as the most astonishing and unlikely political victory in the history of the United States. Against all odds, the American Electoral College gave New York billionaire Donald Trump the number of votes needed for him to succeed President Barack Obama in the White House, making the former reality television star the first candidate elected without having held public office or even served in the military.Trump’s campaign gained notoriety early on when he publicly spoke out against Mexican people who immigrate to the United States, calling them drug traffickers, criminals and rapists. The now President-elect of the US initially tried to backtrack on these comments, but he ended up making matters worse. By promising to build a fortified wall along the US-Mexico border, Trump essentially doubled down on his original comments, which would resurface time and again during the campaign.
As expected, the reaction by the Latin American community against Trump’s comments was swift. The immediate effect was not lost on Trump, who lost the rights to the Miss Universe pageant when television networks such as Univision and NBC stopped doing business with him. Lawsuits and protests would follow along with strong rhetoric against Trump and his global business empire. Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric extended to foreign Muslims, whom he still plans to either keep out of the US or scrutinize to the point of discouraging them to visit or immigrate. Hispanic Americans voted overwhelmingly against Trump, who ended up receiving the smallest percentage of the Latino vote than any other U.S. President-elect in history. The turnout among this ethnic group was strong, and 71 percent of them voted against Trump.
Protests against Trump’s electoral victory were intense and somewhat violent in the days after the election. Hispanic American and pro-immigrant organizations were prominently represented at this protest rallies, which have continued for more than a month although without as much intensity. In Mexico, the national currency has fallen deeply due to investors’ lack of confidence in the future of the country’s relations with the US. The holiday season has tapered the protests, but major groups such as Congreso Latino are planning massive protests on January 20th, the day Trump is scheduled to be inaugurated.
Political leaders in Latin America have mostly followed protocol in the wake of the US election, but some early economic resentment has already appeared in the form of diminished purchases of US bonds and other debt instruments. If Trump follows through with his campaign promise of reversing the diplomatic work that the Obama administration has accomplished with Cuba, US relations with Latin America could suffer significantly. Another immediate effect has been that Latin American nations are already planning greater trade with each other and with China.
Latinos Who Voted for Trump
It is estimated that Trump may have actually received a higher percentage of the Hispanic American vote than the last Republican Party candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Political analysts believe that the 29 percent of Latino voters who cast their ballots for Trump may include Cuban Americans who detest the Castro regime, law enforcement officers who believe Trump can give them job security with his promise of mass deportations, wealthy families who may benefit from proposed tax breaks, and business people who believe Trump will deliver on his promise of infrastructure projects that would create substantial construction jobs.
Another factor that may have helped Trump secure some Latino votes is that the Republican party has been gaining Hispanic American lawmakers in recent years, and these are adept politicians who are skilled in the Latin American style of courting votes. If anything, Trump has shown that he is loyal to those who supported his unlikely race to the White House, and some Latino politicians may be hoping that their loyalty will pay off in the next four years.