Minorities Within Republican Party Look to Trump for Unity

Take a walk through the exhibit hall at the Texas State Republican Convention in Dallas and you'll see signs of a divided party.

Supporters of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who are still yearning for a brokered convention, sit side-by-side with supporters of Donald Trump, who are working to unite the party behind their candidate.

Unifying the party will take more than courting Cruz supporters. Trump must also make inroads with the GOP's minority voters.

"We're looking for a complete-180 when it comes to the current rhetoric of Donald Trump," said Artemio Temo Muniz, chairman of the Federation of Hispanic Republicans.

Though Trump's blunt rhetoric has endeared him to many in the GOP, Muniz said minorities have been mischaracterized and attacked by the Republican frontrunner, whose policies could harm his election chances.

"He's looking to deport 11 million undocumented workers. That's a non-starter with us. We believe that if you're going to have a chance at winning the presidency you have to repair that. We need to hear something that's reasonable, something that's free-market based. It's really up to him whether he's going to accomplish that," Muniz said.

Muniz said the party as a whole needs to do a better job of attracting minority voters.

"They're just twiddling their thumbs, and to me it's discouraging," he said.

For African-American voters like Linda Drain, having a likely nominee will give the party a chance to focus its efforts on expanding its brand and being more inclusive of minorities. She said part of that responsibility now falls to Trump.

"It's our party. (African-Americans) have conservative values," she said. "I'd want him to unite everybody and not divide by talking about different races and sending different people home and building walls."

Linda Smiley originally supported Cruz. She takes issue with the way Trump attacked her candidate and with some of the remarks he's made about minorities. But her biggest concern about a Trump nomination is his stance on key conservative issues such as abortion. Trump's conservative opponents say he has flip-flopped on the issue for several years.

"He is going to be representing the Republican Party, and as a party I don't think many of us feel that way," Smiley said. "He needs to make it clear what he's going to do when he becomes president."

Clarity is what members of the LGBTQ-wing of the party are looking for from Trump. He has said little throughout the primary season about issues important to their coalition.

"He has an opinion on everything and everybody, and I'm very surprised that he has not made any statement about the LGBT community," said Jeff Davis, chairman of the Log Cabin Republicans of Texas. "He hasn't said anything adversarial, which makes me hopeful. At the same time we're starting with a blank slate with Trump."

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