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

Latina civil rights leader campaigns against Trump after 'year of hate'
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Latina civil rights icon Dolores Huerta is working to mobilize Latinos to keep Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden leads Trump by 36 points nationally among Latinos: poll Trump dismisses climate change role in fires, says Newsom needs to manage forest better Jimmy Kimmel hits Trump for rallies while hosting Emmy Awards 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.

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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 RyanKenosha will be a good bellwether in 2020 At indoor rally, Pence says election runs through Wisconsin Juan Williams: Breaking down the debates MORE and Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOcasio-Cortez to voters: Tell McConnell 'he is playing with fire' with Ginsburg's seat McConnell locks down key GOP votes in Supreme Court fight Video shows NYC subway station renamed after Ruth Bader Ginsburg MORE, and has even received words of warning from close allies like Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsGOP set to release controversial Biden report Trump's policies on refugees are as simple as ABCs Ocasio-Cortez, Velázquez call for convention to decide Puerto Rico status 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Few Republicans have withdrawn their endorsements, however.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 ClintonBiden leads Trump by 36 points nationally among Latinos: poll Democratic super PAC to hit Trump in battleground states over coronavirus deaths Battle lines drawn on precedent in Supreme Court fight 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."