Latina civil rights leader campaigns against Trump after 'year of hate'

Latina civil rights leader campaigns against Trump after 'year of hate'
© Getty Images

Latina civil rights icon Dolores Huerta is working to mobilize Latinos to keep Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump calls Sri Lankan prime minister following church bombings Ex-Trump lawyer: Mueller knew Trump had to call investigation a 'witch hunt' for 'political reasons' The biggest challenge from the Mueller Report depends on the vigilance of everyone MORE out of the White House and criticizing GOPers for not denouncing the candidate who she said is now “the face of the Republican Party.”

Huerta joined with People for the American Way (PFAW) and former Miss Universe Alicia Machado to launch "Donald Trump's Year of Hate" on the anniversary of Trump's campaign announcement. The program seeks to reinforce the idea that Trump, with the complacency of the party, has harmed Latinos in the United States through his campaign rhetoric.

ADVERTISEMENT

That rhetoric has waned Republican Party leaders' enthusiasm for the presumptive nominee in the past two weeks, following his racially tinted attack on federal judge Gonzalo Curiel and a heavily criticized response to the mass shooting in an Orlando nightclub that left 49 people dead, including many Latinos.

But Huerta, 86, told The Hill that although she's "always known racism exists," and she's never seen a major party candidate express it in such an "overt" way, Republicans are "not denouncing him."

Trump has been admonished by party leaders, including Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAppeals court rules House chaplain can reject secular prayers FEC filing: No individuals donated to indicted GOP rep this cycle The Hill's Morning Report - Waiting on Mueller: Answers come on Thursday MORE and Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Mueller report is a deterrent to government service Senate Republicans tested on Trump support after Mueller Anti-smoking advocates question industry motives for backing higher purchasing age MORE, and has even received words of warning from close allies like Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsAnd the winner of the Robert Mueller Sweepstakes is — Vladimir Putin The Memo: Mueller's depictions will fuel Trump angst Collins: Mueller report includes 'an unflattering portrayal' of Trump MORE (R-Ala.), his point man on Capitol Hill.

Few Republicans have withdrawn their endorsements, however. 

PFAW, a progressive policy group, is using the disarray in the GOP to hit conservatives while they're down, working off Huerta's argument that Trump is the true expression of Republican ideals, if somewhat more boisterous than professional politicians would normally allow.

PFAW realeased Spanish-language ads in eight states, warning that Trump would lead the country "down, down, down to a dark place where intolerance, racism, and hate rule."

"He’s going to continue to step on the little guy," said Lizet Ocampo, director of PFAW’s Latinos Vote Program "The GOP is giving [Trump] space to pivot. They should be pressuring him."

Ford O'Connell, a Republican strategist, warns the left could be overplaying its hand. 

"The best way for Democrats to win is to keep Republicans divided," O'Connell said. "If you tie the top to Trump and slam everyone, they may unite to win."

Israel Ortega, a conservative writer for Opportunity Lives said he believes Huerta is relying on "selective memory" to brand all Republicans together. 

"To suggest that Donald Trump is representative of the entire party is disingenuous," Ortega said. "A lot of Republicans have done a great job reaching out to the Hispanic community." 

Huerta says her short-term goal is "to make sure Donald Trump doesn't get elected as president of the United States of America."

O'Connell said the election results aren't in Democrats' hands, but rather will be determined by Trump's and "the way the wind blows."

To win, O'Connell said, Trump must talk about just two things: "what he’s going to do to improve the lives of all Americans and why Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonIt is wrong to say 'no collusion' 10 factors making Russia election interference the most enduring scandal of the Obama era And the winner of the Robert Mueller Sweepstakes is — Vladimir Putin MORE is not qualified to be president."

But for Republicans, O'Connell said, the question is "can Trump keep the car between the two white lines?"

Ortega said down-ballot Republicans can succeed in the election without their presumptive nominee. Evangelical Hispanics, he argues, are more and more concerned with who will fill the Supreme Court vacancy and its potential to direct judicial action on social issues for generations. 

"The GOP is not going to walk into the election, and even the convention, unified," Ortega said. "Anything is possible, but I’d be surprised if [Trump] is able to crack the 28 percent of four years ago," referring to the percentage of Latino vote garnered by Mitt Romney in 2012.

Huerta, meanwhile, will "organize, organize, organize," and make sure "we get people registered to vote, prepared, educated," because she has two words she wants to say to Trump: "You're fired."