SAN DIEGO – Given how intensely Latinos detest Donald Trump, many Democrats probably assumed that America’s fastest-growing group of voters would flock to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton – and by such margins that Democrats running for Congress could ride her coattails.
This is not happening. With just a few weeks until Election Day, Democrats must look at the level of enthusiasm that Latinos have for Clinton and wonder: “Where’s the love?”
According to a recent article in The Washington Post, with support lagging among Latino voters for Clinton and congressional candidates in key races, Democrats are worried that they’re squandering the opportunity to lock down the Latino vote as a permanent part of the Democratic coalition.
Clinton still holds a roughly 4-to-1 lead over Trump in polls, with nearly 80 percent of Latinos disapproving of the Republican nominee’s words, deeds, policies and character.
But what has Democrats concerned is that Clinton isn’t measuring up to where President Barack Obama was with Latino voters in 2012. And that enthusiasm gap could translate into a lower-than-expected turnout among Latinos that would really hurt Clinton in battleground states with substantial Latino populations such as Florida, Nevada, Arizona and Colorado.
When it comes to selling Latinos on her candidacy, Clinton just can’t close. Here are six reasons why:
Democrats are learning a hard lesson. They assumed that the fact that Latinos hated Trump would translate into them loving Clinton. But, in politics, it does not always follow that those who oppose your adversary are necessarily your allies.
You make allies by treating people with respect, and not approaching them as an afterthought. Votes are earned. Like other Americans, Latinos don’t like being taken for granted. And, before they give their support, it’s always nice to be asked.
Which brings us to the main reason that Hillary Clinton isn’t getting a warmer reception from Latino voters. Look around. She hasn’t earned it.
Ruben Navarrette’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.