Why the Alicia Machado Story Is Hurting the Trump Campaign with Latinos

Sep 30, 2016
11:00 AM

We are now in the fourth day since Hillary Clinton dropped Alicia Machado’s name near the end of the Monday’s presidential debate and from the looks of it, Donald Trump’s Twitter profile just won’t let it go, as you can see from these early Friday morning tweets:

Understanding that this is Trump we are talking about, all this talk about Machado’s alleged porn star past and a sex tape is mostly not true. The other claim that she is a convicted fugitive on the run from Venezuela is also not so cut and dry.

These are just desperate moves by the Trump campaign to detract people from this reality: on Monday, Hillary Clinton’s campaign knew that this first presidential debate was not just being broadcast on English-language networks, but also on Spanish-language Univision. We venture to guess that Trump’s people didn’t know this or didn’t even understand that the national audience wasn’t just English-speaking. The Machado story had all the perfect ingredients for Spanish-speaking viewers: Miss Universe, pop culture, machista behavior, fat shaming and a new citizen story. It worked, no matter what you think of Machado or whether you think Clinton’s campaign was completely manipulating the story. Trump never saw it coming and as much as his campaign is spinning that Machado is not perfect, the damage was already done on Monday night.

Now there are more Alicia Machado Google searches than Kim Kardashian searches. And, as The New York Times reports:

Google trends data indicates that the searches for voter registration have surged over the last week — and that the highest rates of searches have been in disproportionately Hispanic areas.

By Wednesday evening, all of the top markets for searches for “register to vote” came in heavily Latino markets in Texas, California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. The same pattern held into Thursday.

Will the trend last? Who knows, but you should keep this in mind from Pew: notice how large Clinton’s lead is over Trump with Latinas as well as Spanish-dominant or bilingual Latino voters:


You don’t think the Clinton campaign doesn’t know this? Let’s just say this: we will not be surprised if vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine speaks Spanish at next week’s vice presidential debate.

But don’t get us wrong: Machado, who is now peddling her line of perfume, is not the savior of the Clinton campaign with Latinos. She does have a past, but who doesn’t. Just ask Trump. Nonetheless, you have to admit that the Clinton campaign took a big risk by featuring a Latina in the debate and it did make Trump look stupid. People noticed too. Will it be enough to create more Latino enthusiasm for Clinton? Probably not, but it didn’t hurt the campaign, and if this means that more Latinos registered to vote because of a former Miss Universe, then maybe Clinton knows more about Latino voters in this country that we gave her credit for.

By the way, looks like Machado’s got this, both in English:

"The Republican candidate and his campaign are, once again launching attacks, insults and are attempting to revive slanders and false accusations about my life, in order to humiliate, intimidate, and unbalance me. These attacks are cheap lies with bad intentions. This, of course, is not the first time the candidate insists on discrediting someone or insists on demoralizing women, minorities, and people of certain religions through his hateful campaign. This is definitely one of his most frightful characteristics. Through his attacks, he's attempting to distract from his campaign's real problems and his inability to be the leader of this great country. When I was young, the now candidate, humiliated me, insulted me, disrespected me both publicly and privately in the cruelest way. The same way this happened to me, it's clear that throughout the years, he's continued his actions and behavior with other women. Therefore, I will continue to stand on my feet, sharing my story and my absolute support for Secretary Clinton, on behalf of all women — my sisters, aunts, grandmothers, cousins, women within the community. I want to thank all of my Latinas and those who have supported me and given me love and respect for my career, and as a human being. I became a United States citizen because my daughter was born here and because I wanted to exercise my rights, among them, I wanted to vote. I will continue standing firm in my lived experience as Miss Universe and even stronger with your support. I've been so pleased and honored by so many kind and heartfelt words. I'm focusing on my career and my work as a mother, and I will continue taking positive steps for the Latino community. I will continue being an activist for women's rights and fighting for the respect we deserve. I appreciate all your love and thank you again for your support." Many blessings, ALICIA MACHADO ???

A photo posted by Alicia Machado (@machadooficial) on

And in Spanish:

"El candidato republicano y su equipo de campaña nuevamente están generando ataques, insultos e intentando revivir difamaciones y falsas acusaciones sobre mi vida. Todo eso con la finalidad de intimidarme, humillarme y desequilibrarme una vez más. Los ataques que han surgido son calumnias y mentiras baratas generadas con malas intenciones, que no tienen fundamento que han sido difundidas por medios amarillistas. Ésta, por supuesto, no es la primera vez que enfrento una situación así. Por medio de su campaña de odio, el candidato republicano insiste en desacreditar y desmoralizar a una mujer, lo que definitivamente es una de sus características más aterradoras. Con esto, busca distraer la atención de sus reales problemas y de su incapacidad para pretender ser el líder de este gran país. Cuando era apenas una jovencita, el ahora candidato, me humilló, me insultó, me irrespetó públicamente, como lo hacía usualmente de forma privada de la forma más cruel. Así como esto me pasó a mí, es claro a través de los años, que sus acciones y conductas se han repetido con otras mujeres durante décadas. Por lo tanto, seguiré de pie, compartiendo mi historia, mi apoyo absoluto a la señora Clinton en nombre de las mujeres, de mis hermanas, tías, abuelas, primas, amigas y la comunidad femenina. A mis latinas y en general, quiero agradecerles todo el apoyo, el amor y el respeto, a mi carrera, a mi persona como ser humano y a mi familia. Yo me hice ciudadana de este gran país porque aquí nació mi hija y porque quería ejercer todos mis derechos, entre ellos votar. Continuaré de pie, firme en mi experiencia vivida como Miss Universo y ustedes conmigo apoyándome. He estado tan complacida por tantas palabras amables, por tanto amor. Yo estoy centrándome en mi ocupada carrera, en mi labor de madre y voy a seguir dando pasos positivos para la comunidad latina, seguiré como activista en pro de los derechos de la mujer y el respeto que nos merecemos. Aprecio todo su amor y todo su apoyo nuevamente, gracias". Miles de bendiciones.

A photo posted by Alicia Machado (@machadooficial) on