Latinos Are Co-Opting the 'Taco Trucks on Every Corner' Threat to 'Guac the Vote'
The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has started an initiative centered on taco trucks and called "Guac the Vote.”
Never again will the term "food fight" merely evoke images of summer camp dining halls, bar mitzvahs gone wrong, and John Belushi's distended cheeks. The 2016 presidential election has given the phrase ramifications never even fathomed before.
In a self-proclaimed effort to "Make Corners Great Again," the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has started an initiative centered on taco trucks and called "Guac the Vote." Javier Palomarez, the president of the organization, said the purpose of the campaign is to register voters as state deadlines approach.
But it's hard to believe that the drive, which centers on America's most popular Mexican food—tacos and guacamole—isn't a staunch middle finger waved in the direction of Donald Trump and his supporters. Trump, of course, has directed quite a bit of hostility at Mexicans, calling them criminals, drug dealers, and rapists—while later proclaiming his love of Hispanics and the bastardized taco bowls served at Trump Tower Grill.
And just last week, we told you about the vitriolic—and some might say self-loathing—comments made by one Marco Gutierrez, the founder of Latinos for Trump, who proclaimed on national television, "My culture is a very dominant culture. And it's causing problems. If you don't do something about it, you're going to have taco trucks on every corner." As if that would be a problem even in the wholly fictitious world in which mass culinary hegemony of the sort could actually occur.
So now the taco-truck contingency has taken matters into their own guacamole-encrusted hands and turned #guacthevote into what is certainly looking like the equivalent of #imwithher.
It's no secret that Trump has few fans among the vast majority of American Latinos, but according to the most recent New Latino Voice poll conducted by Florida International University—the poll was conducted after Trump's August 30 immigration speech and the whole "taco trucks on every corner" debacle—support nationwide among Latinos dropped to 10.7 percent. Just to put that in context for you, Mitt Romney had reached a pretty damn sizable 40 percent approval ratings among Floridian Latino voters back in 2012 and he still easily lost the state to President Obama.
The initiative may not stop at taco trucks. This week, after Colorado Democrats parked a taco truck outside of Donald Trump's campaign headquarters in Denver, Paul Lopez, a Denver city councilman, had another bright idea: "I'd encourage all the palateras" to register people to vote, he told NBC News. "You've got to get creative. You've got to go to the people," he added. Paletas, of course, are the fruit popsicles popular throughout Latin America.
Never before has a bunch of mashed up avocados, corn-based flatbreads, and frozen sugar water ever been so politicized.
2016: What a strange election cycle, indeed.