Prominent Hispanic conservatives say they could back Donald Trump if the presumptive GOP nominee changes his tone and walks back some of his policy positions. Republican Latino leaders have chaffed at Trump's call for a wall on the southern border and statements from his campaign launch about rapists and criminals coming across the border from Mexico.... But prominent voices in the conservative Hispanic world say they're ready to move toward Trump if he can move toward them.
It's hardly a secret that today's Republican Party faces serious demographic challenges: in a country that's increasingly diverse and multi-cultural, the contemporary GOP is increasingly white and homogeneous.
But Republicans are not literally devoid of diversity. There are, for example, some prominent Hispanic conservatives who are nearly always aligned with GOP candidates up and down the ballot. Given that Donald Trump is the party's presumptive presidential nominee, what are they thinking right about now? The Hill had an interesting report on this the other day.
Alfonso Aguilar, a former White House official under President George W. Bush who now leads the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, said, "If in the process of unification, he were to seek my support and show he's willing to change his tone and be open to some form of legalization, I would be willing to reconsider my position."
Former Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), who's also a former RNC chair, was asked a few months ago about Trump. "If there is any, any, any other choice, a living, breathing person with a pulse, I would be there," he said at the time. Last week, however, Martinez said he's undecided on whether to endorse Trump and he'll be "continuing to see how things develop."
The Rev. Sam Rodriguez, head of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, added, "Is it too late to redeem the narrative with the Latino and Hispanic community, even the Latino and Hispanic pro-faith community? I don't know.... No one is beyond redemption."
The Hill also reported that the Trump campaign has dispatched an adviser to "quietly" open backchannels "within Muslim and Middle Eastern communities in the U.S. in an attempt to win over a small but increasingly important voting bloc." The report added, "Some Muslim Republicans and conservative Middle Eastern activists have also engaged with other top campaign officials about furthering Trump's outreach to those communities."
No, seriously, that's what the article said.
Let's be clear about an unavoidable truth: if Donald Trump can run on a platform of mass deportations, a border wall, and a ban on foreign Muslims entering the country, and still receive support from Hispanic Republicans and Muslim Republicans, these constituencies within the party need to understand they're creating a precedent for unconditional partisanship.
As MSNBC's Benjy Sarlin noted the other day, in reference to the GOP's Latino wing, "If they accept Trump, Republicans can take for granted they will accept literally anything from now on."