Opinion writer

The damage radiating outwards from the epic slow-motion disaster otherwise known as Donald Trump is only just beginning. Or at least Democrats hope this will prove to be the case — and they are now taking new and active steps to make that happen.

If you want to get a sense of how Democrats hope to use the rise of Donald Trump to damage the GOP among Latinos — a project that will probably continue for many months, deep into 2016 — take a look at this new ad from the Hillary Clinton-allied Super PAC Priorities USA:

“Seventeen Republicans are running for president — with one message for immigrant families,” the ad intones. It then airs footage of Donald Trump calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” and calling for mass deportations; Jeb Bush defending his use of the term “anchor babies”; and Scott Walker seeming to agree that we should end birthright citizenship.

“This is the Republican Party,” the ad concludes. All of this rhetoric from the GOP Presidential candidates is helpfully translated into Spanish text that spools forth on the screen.

Maggie Haberman reports that the ad will start airing in states with large Latino populations, such as Florida, Colorado, and Nevada.

Here’s why this is so significant: It shows that Democrats are not taking for granted the durability of their recent gains among Latinos. As I reported the other day, some Democrats worry that those gains could prove fleeting, particularly if Jeb Bush (who is fluent in Spanish, has a Mexican wife and Latino American children, and could credibly make a cultural appeal to Latino voters) ends up as GOP nominee. Some have hoped for a more aggressive effort to seize on the astonishingly fortuitous arrival (for this purpose, anyway) of Donald Trump to try to inflict as much damage on the GOP brand among Latinos as possible. The new ad perhaps suggests we may see a new level of activity along these lines.

“The GOP has given Democrats the raw material, if used properly, to potentially take the Hispanic vote off the table in 2016,” Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg tells me. “These ads signal that Dems understand they can dig the hole so deep for the GOP with Hispanics now that they will never get out no matter who the nominee is in 2016.”

We really don’t know if Trump-ism — which consists not just of Trump’s vile rhetoric, but also the apparent need his GOP rivals feel to gravitate towards the Trump Death Star — will end up significantly damaging the GOP among Latinos. Recent Gallup polling suggested that other candidates are escaping his taint — for now.

But Dems apparently think they’ve been handed an opportunity to change this, and it looks like they’re leaning harder into exploiting it. We’ll see if they keep it up.

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* FIGHT OVER IRAN DEAL COMES DOWN TO WIRE: Politico reports that it may now be possible for Dems to filibuster the resolution disapproving of the Iran deal, avoiding a veto-override fight. Supporters are now pushing undecided Senate Dems to back it to avoid that fight, arguing it could damage the country. Dem Senator Chris Murphy:

“There’s a cost to the international credibility of the country and this president if a motion of disapproval passes the House and the Senate. There is some harm to the country’s standing if we have to go through the charade of the veto.”

You’ll be hearing more of this argument in the home stretch. To avoid the veto fight, 12 of the remaining 15 undecided Dems must support the deal — hard but not impossible.

* TRUMP’S LEAD GROWS: A new Quinnipiac poll finds Trump-mentum continuing to surge, with the Donald leading his rivals among Republicans nationally with 28 percent. Ben Carson has 12, and everyone else is in single digits. Note this about Trump’s lead:

This is the highest tally and widest margin for any Republican so far in this election.

This poll was taken before Trump tried to publicly humiliate well-respected Latino journalist Jorge Ramos. Who knows how much higher he’ll climb among GOP voters now?

* BIDEN STRONGER AGAINST REPUBLICANS THAN HILLARY? The new Quinnipiac poll also shows Joe Biden running (slightly) better against Republicans than Hillary Clinton. Biden beats Donald Trump by 48-40; Jeb Bush by 45-39 and Marco Rubio by 44-41. Clinton leads Trump by 44-41; Bush by 42-40, and Rubio by 44-43.

Of course, Biden is not even a declared candidate, so how much does this even mean? Nonetheless, this will further stoke the speculation that Biden will jump in.

* OBAMA TO LAMENT ‘STRUCTURAL INEQUALITY’: Today President Obama will commemorate the 10th anniversary of Katrina with a speech in New Orleans that laments the disaster as a “failure of government to look after its own citizens,” adding:

“New Orleans had long been plagued by structural inequality that left too many people, especially poor people of color, without good jobs or affordable health care or decent housing,” the president will say. “Too many kids grew up surrounded by violent crime, cycling through substandard schools where few had a shot to break out of poverty.”

It’s perhaps another sign that those who want the political conversation more focused on institutional racism are leaving a bit of a mark.

* GOOD ECONOMIC NEWS! The Associated Press reports:

The U.S. economy posted a much bigger rebound in growth during the spring than previously reported, thanks to improvements in a number of areas including consumer spending and business investment.  The economy expanded at an annual rate of 3.7 percent in the April-June quarter, more than a percentage point greater than the 2.3 percent originally estimated.

Must be confidence in the new GOP Congress.

* LEFT SLAMS OBAMA OVER ARCTIC TRIP: With Obama headed to Alaska to give a speech about climate change, the liberal group CREDO Action is launching a campaign slamming Obama for approving drilling in the arctic, calling this his “mission accomplished moment.” The group’s mash-up video of Obama quotes on climate is here.

Liberals are keeping up the pressure on Dems to remain hawkish on climate, and perhaps in part because of this, Clinton has come out against arctic drilling, too.

* AND DID GOP LEADERS CREATE DONALD TRUMP? E.J. Dionne takes a look at an argument we keep hearing on the right: GOP leaders created Donald Trump by making a lot of promises that they failed to keep. Dionne adds:

Republican leaders care primarily about a low-tax, pro-business agenda. But they have kept their most conservative supporters at a very high level of angry mobilization, exploiting anxieties about demographic and social change. They kept pledging they would really and truly repeal Obamacare, even when they knew they didn’t have the votes. Trump is the revenge of the party’s non-insiders who are tired of being used.

In other words, GOP leaders cynically kept base voters in a lather by misleading them about what was possible. That’s different from failing to keep promises that could have been kept.