With Donald Trump as the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, Democrats see a chance to turn Hispanic voters away from the Republican Party this election — and perhaps for years to come.
They are seizing on every opportunity to fan the flames, with an eye toward winning the White House, taking back the Senate and cutting into the GOP majority in the House.
Surveys indicate Trump has enormous ground to make up with Hispanics as he shifts toward the general election. In a recent poll by America’s Voice and Latino Decisions, 79 percent of Hispanics said they had an unfavorable view of the businessman, who famously launched his campaign talking about Mexico sending criminals into the U.S.
Ford O'Connell, a Republican strategist, said Democrats know their two largest voting blocs are Hispanics and unmarried female voters, so "they are going to do everything possible between now and the election to show that Trump is risky and dangerous" to those groups.
Split-ticket voting is precisely what the Democrats want to avoid, hoping a strong presidential showing will provide gains in the House and deliver the Senate.
"They are confident Donald Trump is going to go down like the Titanic," said O'Connell, who believes that split tickets are at an all-time low and "candidates running statewide are only going to be able to run within 5 points of Trump and Clinton."
"Whether Trump wins or loses this election, the Republicans have to realize that for long-term viability they have to make inroads with Hispanics," O'Connell said.
Although O'Connell believes Democrats will have the demographic's vote for at least the next two electoral cycles, he said the party risks overreaching.