Donald Trump
Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

I wrote earlier today about Trump’s apparent 42% ceiling in public polling, which is a bad sign for him. But it’s Trump’s numbers among Hispanics that spell doom not only for him, but also the future of the Republican Party:

Donald Trump remains overwhelmingly unpopular with Latinos, a new NBC News/ Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll shows, with only about one in seven Latino voters say they support the presumptive GOP nominee.

A whopping 76 percent of the 300 Latino registered voters in the poll said they back Hillary Clinton in a head-to-head race, while just 14 percent said they back Trump.

What’s more, 82 percent of Latino voters say they have an unfavorable view of Trump, while just 11 percent view him positively.

Keep in mind that in order to win the presidency, Trump will likely need at least 30% of the Hispanic vote–and maybe even closer to 40%. It’s Trump’s bet that he can maximize the white vote and reduce his need for minority voters, but the problem is that Trump trails among white college-educated voters and that is not likely to change. His direct appeals to racism, his rejection of basic science on issues like vaccines and climate change, and his anti-elitist common-man shtick make him an anathema to educated people of all races. There’s a cap on how many white votes Trump can win.

Which means that there is no realistic universe in which Trump can give away four out of five Hispanic voters and still win the election.

But the bigger problem for Republicans is that they have been giving away increasingly large percentages of the Hispanic vote, which only happens to be the fastest growing voting bloc in the nation:

Mitt Romney won 27 percent of Latinos in 2012; John McCain – a champion of immigration reform – garnered 31 percent support; and George W. Bush won around 40 percent in his re-election effort in 2004.

Republicans in leadership know what an existential problem this is for them. That’s why the post-mortem after the 2012 election was clear on the need for immigration reform and outreach to the Latino community. But as as the 2016 primary amply demonstrated and Eric Cantor learned to his dismay, it wasn’t possible for the Republican Party to put the racist genie back in the bottle after years of winning elections by telling its base that Latino immigrants were out to destroy their way of life.

Now the GOP is stuck with Trump–and not just for this election cycle, either. Trump has paved a road for similar candidates in walk successfully in future GOP primaries, and there are dozens of conservative talk radio hosts ready to help them do it.

And that spells certain demographic doom for the GOP.

David Atkins

Follow David on Twitter @DavidOAtkins. David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.