Republican Strategist Who Warned GOP They Need Latinos Quits The Party Over Trump

by ESTHER YU-HSI LEE –

sally bradshaw

A longtime adviser to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — and the co-author of the Republican National Committee’s infamous 2012 “autopsy report” that focused on making inroads with Latino voters — has left the Republican Party. She cited the nomination of Donald Trump, who she calls a “misogynist” and a “bigot,” as her reason.

Sally Bradshaw, who has advised both Bush and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, officially switched her registration to unaffiliated. She told CNN that she would vote for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton if the presidential race in Florida is close, though she also suggested that she may vote for Gary Johnson or a write-in candidate.

“This is a time when [the] country has to take priority over political parties. Donald Trump cannot be elected president,” Bradshaw wrote in an email interview with CNN.

“This election cycle is a test,” Bradshaw said. “As much as I don’t want another four years of Obama’s policies, I can’t look my children in the eye and tell them I voted for Donald Trump. I can’t tell them to love their neighbor and treat others the way they wanted to be treated, and then vote for Donald Trump. I won’t do it.”

Bradshaw also said that Trump’s shocking criticism of Gold Star Muslim parents of a soldier killed in 2004 made her “sick to my stomach.”

“Donald Trump belittled a woman who gave birth to a son who died fighting for the United States. If anything, that reinforced my decision to become an independent voter,” she said. “Every family who loses a loved one in service to our country or who has a family member who serves in the military should be honored, regardless of their political views. Vets and their family have more than earned the right to those views. Someone with the temperament to be president would understand and respect that.”

Bradshaw helped write the RNC’s 2012 autopsy report, which took stock of the party after Romney’s resounding loss in 2012. The report concluded the GOP needed to grow past their traditionally white, older base and reach out to young people, women, Latinos — an essential group of 27.3 million eligible voters — and other voters of color who make up the fastest growing voting blocs. It recommended the GOP embrace immigration reform, cultivate a high-profile presence on Latin media outlets, and hire Latino staff “to build meaningful relationships” with the community.

Bradshaw’s departure sheds a harsh spotlight on just how little of her advice the GOP has taken since the rise of Trump.

Trump has claimed that Latinos love him. But recent polls show that he trails far behind Clinton — an online NBC News/Survey Monkey poll from June found that Trump had support among 32 percent of Latino voters while a Washington Post/ABC News poll from June found that he had an 87 percent unfavorable rating among Latinos. And Trump has frightened immigrant communities so badly that thousands of immigrants are naturalizing this year so that they can vote against him.

Since the start of his presidential campaign, Trump has drawn a line in the sand against Americans of color. He launched his campaign in a speech proclaiming that Mexican immigrants are rapists, drug dealers, and criminals. He has condoned violence against black protesters at his rallies. He argued that a Mexican judge was biased against him solely on the basis of his race. And he most recently landed himself in hot water after disparaging the death of a Muslim American hero.

The party has already bled several high-profile hires over Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric. Last month, Republican National Committee’s director of Hispanic media relations, Ruth Guerra, left because defending Trump had made her “increasingly exhausted.” Orlando Watson, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee and the Communications Director for Black Media, left in March. Kristal Quarker-Hartsfield, the Republican National Committee’s Director of African-American outreach, also left soon after.

“If and when the party regains its sanity, I’ll be ready to return,” Bradshaw said. “But until Republicans send a message to party leadership that this cannot stand, nothing will ever change.”

 

Reprinted with permission from Think Progress, a branch of The Center for American Progress