When 17-year old Ceci Cardelle asked her older sister Annie, both second-generation Cuban-Americans, to go with her to a campaign event for Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, hosted by Trump’s son Eric in their hometown of Salisbury, N.C., the elder Cardelle sister wasn’t enthusiastic.
“I was against it,” Annie Cardelle, 23, told BuzzFeed News this weekend. “I didn’t want to go hear Eric Trump speak, but she really wanted to, so I couldn’t just go without making a little bit of a statement.”
So taking a marker to a white T-shirt, Annie Cardelle wrote “Latina Contra Trump” — or “Latina Against Trump.” In case you’re not up on your high-school Spanish, “contra,” like “contrary” in English, does not imply an affinity for something. Then, off she and her sister went.
Although she initially wore a sweater over her homemade statement tee, Annie Cardelle nervously removed the sweater halfway through Eric Trump’s speech — but no one seemed to notice the message her shirt was putting out there.
At the end of the event, though, the sisters were shocked when Eric and his wife, Lara, beckoned the two forward and let them snap a picture.
“I couldn’t wrap my brain around it,” Ceci Cardelle told BuzzFeed News, “so I just stood there and smiled.”
Immediately afterward, she says that she and her sister “looked at each other and just screamed.” Next, the two tweeted photos of themselves from the event — and then watched Annie’s shirt, and the Trump family’s seeming failure to understand what it meant, go viral.
“We weren’t protesting the fact that he’s a conservative or a Republican,” Annie told BuzzFeed News. “We were protesting their particular treatment of Hispanics and Latino immigrants in this country.”
Added Ceci to BuzzFeed News, “We were kind of in disbelief that no one understood this protest. It really goes to show the lack of diversity in their team.”
Now the sisters are selling “Latinas Contra Trump” shirts so that anyone can have one, without even having to bust out a Sharpie, a most notable addition to an election cycle that has already thrown up some A+ shirts carrying political statements.
According to an analysis done this summer, Democratic nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has an advantage over Trump among Hispanic registered voters of 66 percent to his 24 percent. And her support is even stronger among Hispanic millennials, with 71 percent voicing support for Clinton, over a mere 19 percent who say they are voting for Trump. Hispanic women in general express preference for Clinton by the exact same margins. She also leads 80 percent to 11 percent over Trump with Hispanic voters who are bilingual or Spanish-dominant.
The Pew Research Center reports that the top voting issue for Hispanic voters is essentially the same as that expressed by all registered voters, with 86 percent of Hispanic voters citing the economy as a crucial factor in their voting decisions, compared to 84 percent of those in the general electorate who say the same. After the economy, Hispanic voters list health care, terrorism, immigration, and education in filling out their top five policy priorities. Hispanics are more likely to rate environmental issues, the treatment of LGBT individuals, immigration, and health care as priorities, by comparison with the general electorate.
Voters were polled by the Pew Research Center as to which candidate would do better on a set of 12 separate policy issues, ranging from race relations to abortion to foreign policy to gun policy to trade, Clinton won on each issue with Hispanic voters.
Latina voters are set to become a particularly important voting block in the upcoming presidential election: A survey commissioned by American Women, Voto Latino Action Network, and America Action found that while 59 percent of Latinas reported voting in 2014, 81 percent of Latina voters polled that they are “almost certain” to vote on Nov. 8. And 84 percent of those surveyed said they viewed Trump negatively.
Given the role that the allegations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and groping that have been leveled against Donald Trump by an ever-growing number of women, it’s worth noting that 32 percent of all Latinas and 38 percent of millennial Latinas say they or someone they know has experienced sexual harassment or sexual assault in the workplace.
But like Hispanic voters across the board, millennial Latina voters are also primarily focused on the economy — and particularly optimistic about their economic futures. While Latina voters — including 45 percent of Latina millennials — are more likely than any other voters to earn less than $15 an hour, compared to 21 percent of all registered voters, 76 percent of millennial Latinas say they believe their financial situation will get better over the next five years. In contrast, only 60 percent of all registered voters say the same.
It’s not surprising, then, that 83 percent of millennial Latina voters say that they would be much more likely to vote for a candidate who made college affordability a policy priority. Another 83 percent said the same of equal pay, and 87 percent voiced this opinion about paid family leave.
Trump outlined his college affordability policies for the first time at the end of last month; while a detailed plan was not revealed, the candidate said that colleges with large endowments should be forced to spend more on their students or risk losing their tax-exempt status. Clinton, however, has made one of the principal tenets of the platform of her former rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont — tuition-free public higher education for middle- and lower-income students — a part of her own platform.
Clinton and Trump have very different ideas about equal pay and paid family leave as well. Clinton has outlined detailed policy proposals on her campaign website about both addressing income inequality and promoting comprehensive paid family leave. Trump has yet to offer specifics on the gender wage gap and has proposed only paid maternity leave for biological birth mothers.
Trump launched his presidential campaign In June of 2015 with his now infamous statement, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”`