A rough guide to getting national media attention during a heated presidential election: paradoxically back a candidate who has repeatedly denigrated your ethnic heritage. Print bright T-shirts. Invite the TV crews.
That was the game plan this week for a small Miami group called Latinas for Trump, and in this upside-down campaign season, it paid big dividends. The group held its first rally in Brickell this past Tuesday and drew reporters from as far away as Boston.
"We were almost ashamed to admit we were all leaning toward Trump," the group's organizer, Denise Galvez, tells Fox Latino. "We were talking about establishment politicians taking us for granted and not putting this country first.”
But does the group herald a widely unreported secretly Trump-loving Latina underground in Miami? Eh, probably no. Polls have consistently found upward of eight out of ten Latino voters dislike Trump nationally. In Florida, Trump is losing the Hispanic vote by around 70-30.
There's little mystery behind that fact. The guy has called Mexicans "rapists" and waged an all-out war on the federal judge handling a civil case against Trump's for-profit university because the judge's ancestors were Mexican. Even his party's leadership has called those comments outright racist. And then there are his policies, such as building a massive border wall in Mexico and hiring a huge deportation force to remove around 11 million immigrants.
Even in Miami, where Cuban-American voters have traditionally leaned toward the GOP, that act has worn thin. Neither of Miami's Cuban-American mayors backs Trump, nor do South Florida's Cuban-American congressional reps.
So what's the story with Latinas for Trump? The group claims membership around 250, but photos from Tuesday's rally show about a dozen people in red Trump shirts. (News reports pegged turnout at "several dozen.") Update: In an email to New Times, Galvez says "We checked in over 80 and I have the names to back it."
The group is the brainchild of Galvez, who runs a PR firm called Go To Marketing Inc., and Ileana Garcia, a TV presenter on AméricaTeve Canal 41 (and also a "Vlogger/#Influencer/Creative," according her to LinkedIn page). Galvez didn't immediately respond to a message from New Times.
The group's Facebook page is mostly a mishmash of Trump memes taken straight off your uncle's news feed:
screencap via Facebook
In interviews this week, the group's leaders offered little substance behind their love of Trump. Garcia, the
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“It’s not about him. It’s about him coming and breaking up the establishment,” Garcia told the Boston Globe. “I like his attitude. We call him ‘Macho Trump.’”
There's a long and canny political history in Miami of drawing in the national media to circle around a very vocal minority. Just ask the dwindling group of sign-clutching anti-Castro diehards who are often outnumbered by the TV crews that flock to talk to them at Versailles every time Fidel sneezes.
Latinas for Trump looks to be the latest in that proud tradition. More power to them! Just don't mistake their message for an actual movement in the Magic City.