Donald Trump’s visit to the U.S.-Mexico border dominated the airwaves on Thursday — in English and Spanish.While the national newscasts on ABC, CBS and NBC covered Trump’s visit to Laredo, Tex., coverage of the GOP presidential candidate dominated the national news broadcasts on Univision and Telemundo. Republicans fearful of how Trump is hurting the party’s image with the nation’s fast-growing Latino voting population need only play back Thursday night’s broadcasts as proof….“The magnate said that the United States needs a wall that divides it from Mexico,” co-anchor Jorge Ramos told viewers at the top of his “Noticiero Univision,” the more popular of the two newscasts…Jose Diaz-Balart, the co-anchor of “Noticiero Telemundo,” anchored his newscast live from Laredo and told viewers that “Trump declared to the press that he’s certain of the Latino vote and insisted that he hasn’t insulted anyone.”…During one of the two news conferences Trump held in Texas, Diaz-Balart reminded the candidate that 53,000 Hispanics turn 18 each month and that many are offended by his suggestion that Mexicans crossing the border are rapists or criminals.
That demographic reality is pretty daunting, and the projected growth of the Latino vote share over time has some Republicans calling on the party to change course and get serious about broadening its appeal.
The key point here is that these demographic realities will far outlast the Trump media boomlet. Indeed, I’d venture to predict that if Trump doesn’t run as a third party candidate, his impact will fade and could ultimately not matter in 2016 at all. What will continue to matter to the demographics of 2016 is the GOP’s stance on immigration. Trump is merely drawing attention to the two parties’ differences on immigration in a particularly unflattering way. Yes, Trump speaks in ways that most Republicans probably disagree with. But the basic divide between the parties over what sort of posture to adopt towards the undocumented is deep and intractable, Trump or no Trump, and could well remain a problem for the GOP after Trump takes his bluster back to private life (though it is certainly possible for Republicans to win the White House next year without moderating).
This goes beyond immigration, too: A recent poll of 1,400 Latinos showed the GOP’s favorability in the tank with those voters, who overwhelmingly see the Democratic Party as preferable on not just immigration, but on the economy.
The Latino media has long covered Republican intransigence on immigration and the more strident voices in the GOP very harshly. That has gotten very little attention from the political classes. But perhaps the very rough treatment of Trump in the Latino media will give fodder to those inside the GOP who are arguing for a higher awareness of how Republican policy positions and pronouncements are perceived among Latinos. One imagines that a number of Republican strategists, too, would like to see that heightened awareness.
* GOP CANDIDATES PREPARE FOR TRUMP HIJACKING DEBATE: Reuters reports that the GOP hopefuls are privately debating how, or whether, to take on Donald Trump at the upcoming debate. The campaigns are hoping Fox News keeps him in check. Also:
Several Republican strategists said [Scott] Walker and Texas Senator Ted Cruz have the most to lose by taking on Trump since they are courting many of the same conservative voters who have responded to Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric. In this line of thinking, they could go easy on Trump and let others take him on and hope that, if and when Trump falters, they can pick up his supporters by tapping into their frustration with Washington.
Helps explain the hands off approach to The Donald. Which GOPer will be lucky enough to inherit his supporters?
* CRIMINAL PROBE SOUGHT IN CONNECTION WITH HILLARY EMAIL: The New York Times scoops:
Two inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into whether sensitive government information was mishandled in connection with the personal email account Hillary Rodham Clinton used as secretary of state, senior government officials said Thursday.
At issue is whether Clinton sent any email from her personal account that was marked classified at the time. But Politico reports that the Times story was quietly revised from suggesting that the IGs want a probe of Clinton’s use of email to saying they want a probe “in connection” with the handling of her emails, seemingly removing the idea that she’s necessarily the central focus.
* THE CLINTON CAMPAIGN RESPONDS: From spokesman Nick Merrill:
Contrary to the initial story, which has already been significantly revised, she followed appropriate practices in dealing with classified materials. As has been reported on multiple occasions, any released emails deemed classified by the administration have been done so after the fact, and not at the time they were transmitted.
The Times story is based on IG documents asking for a probe; one would very much like to read them to fully grasp what exactly is being alleged.
* NO WRONGDOING BY CLINTON? The Associated Press, writing about the Times account, adds this nugget:
One U.S. official said it was unclear whether classified information was mishandled and the referral doesn’t suggest wrongdoing by Clinton herself.
* CLINTON PUSHES BACK ON LIBERALS: The Wall Street Journal reports:
Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner for president, said she would not be pushed by liberals in her party to advocate for a breakup of big banks or the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall law that separated commercial and investment banking. In response to a question about Glass-Steagall, she said: “I think it’s a more complicated assessment than any one piece of legislation might suggest.”
As I’ve been telling you, it’s far from clear that Clinton will adopt the Warren-Sanders inequality agenda. Keep an eye on this.
* AND CLIMATE GROUP PRODS DEMS: Billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer is pledging to only support presidential candidates who vow to achieve 50 percent of electricity generation from renewal or non-carbon energy sources by 2030. Steyer’s NextGen pledge along these lines is right here.
Given that Steyer spent $74 million last cycle, this is a big deal. Some climate advocates believe Clinton may not prove enough of a climate hawk, and Steyer’s pledge may help push climate issues to the fore in the Democratic primary (such as it is), which can only be a good thing.