As Trump evinces surprising staying power atop the Republican field, nervous party members increasingly fret that he is hurting the image of the GOP and damaging its eventual nominee -- who most assume will not be Trump. The most obvious problem is Trump’s outspoken opposition to immigration and immigrants, which has offended Hispanics -- a fast-growing voter demographic the party can’t afford to lose ground with -- and dragged other candidates into a discussion of inflammatory ideas like ending birthright citizenship.But so far there's no evidence that Trump is doing any such damage to the Republican Party's image, in the eyes of Hispanics or anyone else. It seems quite likely that most Americans, including Hispanics, believe the master narrative of the Republican race: that Trump is a rogue elephant whom the real Republican Party would dearly love to corral. Moreover, Trump's media dominance means that many Americans have only the vaguest sense of what the other candidates believe.
... As Democrats jeer that Trump has merely laid bare the true soul of the GOP, some Republicans wonder, with considerable anguish, whether they’re right. As the conservative writer Ben Domenech asked in an essay in The Federalist last week, “Are Republicans for freedom or white identity politics?”
And so we get this, from Gallup:
Hispanics Frown on Trump, but Not Rest of GOP FieldNow, Hillary Clinton does have a +40 net favorable rating among Hispanics. But Bernie Sanders is +5, Jim Webb is +2, Lincoln Chaffee is at par, and Martin O'Malley is at -2. Earlier polling of Hispanics suggests that Joe Biden polls well, but he's not in the race and we don't know if he'll enter.
U.S. Hispanics are still getting to know most of the Republican contenders for president. At this point in the campaign, less than half have formed an opinion of any Republican candidate except Donald Trump and Jeb Bush. Partly because of this, Hispanics' views of most GOP candidates range from mildly positive to mildly negative. The sole exception is Trump, whose favorable rating with Hispanics is deeply negative.
If you take away the two parties' front-runners, the approval ratings of the remaining candidates are roughly even. So there's no sense that Democrats win the trust of Hispanics because of party affiliation, and no sense of the opposite for Republicans. And there's absolutely no evidence that Trumpism is rubbing off on Bush or Rubio or Walker or Carson or Fiorina.
The GOP survived Watergate. The GOP survived the Gingrich impeachment. The GOP survived Bush-Cheney. The GOP will -- alas -- survive Trump.