Bud Kennedy

Trump has a simple message, but Latinos say it’s not that easy

Donald Trump’s message is simple: America is great.

America should win.

America is only for Americans, and Americans’ sons and daughters.

I win, Trump says. Everybody but me is a loosah.

But governing isn’t that simple, and the tire-kickers in Dallas on Monday night aren’t all simple-minded.

You don’t handle global trade by saying, “We win now! You lose,” or solve problems by saying, “I’ll fix it. It’ll be the best ever.”

Despite his “Make America Great Again” buttons, barber Mark Ranne of Canton was realistic.

“We just want a fresh approach,” said Ranne, 48.

“We’re getting shafted in trade by everybody. I liked what he said about how we don’t win anymore. … We want to win.”

Some came to see a celebrity. Others came to loyally back a Republican.

But some also came from the party underworld of birthers, Birchers and Buchananites, suspicious of global trade, diversity and anything foreign.

Cheryl Surber of Fort Worth, a former nominee for justice of the peace, said she’s for Trump because he’s a “natural-born citizen, unlike [Ted] Cruz, [Bobby] Jindal, [Marco] Rubio or [Rick] Santorum.” In the conspiracy world, all are ineligible because both parents must be citizens.

Outside, rally guests exchanged words with local Latino groups and Democrats who came to protest.

Seth Gamez, 21, of Fort Worth, a University of North Texas film major, marched a mile with a sign: “Trump = Hate — We Are Not Rapists! — Don’t Vote for White Supremacy.”

On June 13, Trump said people from Mexico are “bringing crime — they’re rapists.” Later, he said he didn’t mean everybody. But he would end birthright citizenship.

“His rhetoric and his policies correlate with white-supremacist views because he’s disenfranchising an entire population of Hispanics,” Gamez said, referring to those American children born to noncitizen parents, regardless of legal status.

Dallas Democrat Domingo García told the 1,000 or so marchers that Texas is a “bicultural and bilingual state — we’re proud of our heritage, proud of our Tejano black and brown.”

Of Texas’ 9 million Latinos, 4 million are voters.

“The same hands that pick the food we eat, the same hands that build the skyscrapers, those are the same hands that are going to pick the next president,” García said.

Those hands also belong to Americans.

Bud Kennedy: 817-390-7538, bud@star-telegram.com, @BudKennedy. His column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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