Jacob Monty is not a RINO — a Republican in Name Only — even though some of his hate mail says otherwise. Mr. Monty, an immigration lawyer in Houston, has been deeply involved in Republican politics in Texas and nationally for much of the past 20 years. He was a fund-raiser for both of George W. Bush’s campaigns, and estimates that he has personally contributed more than $250,000 to Republican candidates.
But this year’s presidential race has pushed Mr. Monty to abandon his party’s presidential nominee.
On Aug. 20, Mr. Monty and a group of Hispanic Republicans on an advisory council to Donald J. Trump gathered at Trump Tower in New York to discuss Mr. Trump’s immigration proposals. They left with the impression that Mr. Trump had changed course and would put forward a plan that included a path to legal status for some undocumented immigrants. Mr. Monty said he felt that he’d just met “the real Donald Trump.”
“I connected with him — I think everyone at the table did,” he said. He added: “I’m not going to say who I think the real Donald Trump is. I think I met him on Aug. 20.”
Whomever he met then, someone else spoke at the end of the month, when Mr. Trump used a speech in Phoenix to double down on his hard-line position on immigration, call for a “new special deportation task force” and lay the blame for all of society’s ills — from crime, to joblessness, to an implicit loss of America’s cultural identity — squarely at the feet of immigrants.
That was the end for Mr. Monty and Mr. Trump. While Mr. Monty plans to support Republicans in state and local races, and hopes his party maintains control of Congress, he will not be voting for Mr. Trump. Neither will many Hispanic Republicans who say they cannot tolerate Mr. Trump’s policies, especially on immigration.
Many Republican strategists, donors and other members of the party establishment — especially minority men and women — have made their disgust with their nominee known. Mr. Trump’s candidacy has been especially frustrating for the people who have worked to bolster the party’s dismal outreach to black and Hispanic voters in recent years.
How does it feel to be a black or Hispanic Republican this year, and to see Mr. Trump rise to the top of your party?
“If I were to sum it up in one word, the word is depressing,” said Charles Badger, who oversaw outreach to black voters for Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign. Mr. Trump, he said, “has sent the party back to, I don’t know, the Stone Age — it’s that bad.”
In 2004, Massey Villarreal was the national chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly. His work helped President Bush earn 40 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004, a height unmatched by Republican nominees since.
Mr. Villarreal was another member of Mr. Trump’s Hispanic Advisory Council. And, like Mr. Monty and other members of the council, Mr. Villarreal resigned after watching Mr. Trump’s speech in Phoenix.
“It was a nativist, xenophobic speech,” Mr. Villarreal said in a text message. “The enforcement-only speech is of no real value to America.”
In conversations with disaffected Republican operatives, one question arose over and over: Who is the real Donald Trump? And does it matter if he acts one way in private, and another way in public?
“I don’t know whether Donald Trump is a racist or not,” said Mr. Badger. “What I know is that he plays a racist on TV, and that’s actually much, much, much worse.”
Mr. Monty said he found it worrisome that Mr. Trump acted one way in private and another way in front of a crowd.
“In person he’s humble — ‘I hear you, I want to learn,’ — but you can’t turn it off like that,” said Mr. Monty. “There’s clearly a pattern here, and that’s not good. That’s not leadership.”
Ron Christie remembers being one of the few black Republican staff members on Capitol Hill in 1991, when he worked for John Kasich, then a representative from central Ohio. He went on to work for Vice President Dick Cheney, and then as a special assistant to President Bush. He said Mr. Trump’s candidacy is a “disaster” for his party.
“The Republican Party that I started off with in 1991 died when Donald Trump received the nomination,” he said.
As Mr. Trump neared the nomination, the Republican National Committee experienced an exodus of black and Hispanic staff members. Orlando Watson, a spokesman who specialized in dealing with the black news media, left in March, as did Kristal Quarker-Hartsfield, the national director of African-American initiatives. Tara Wall, a senior strategist for media and engagement, who did black outreach for Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, also departed.
Ruth Guerra, the committee’s director of Hispanic media, left in June to work for a conservative “super PAC,” and was reported to have told colleagues she felt uncomfortable working to get Mr. Trump elected. The party hired Helen Aguirre Ferré, who had been a senior adviser to Jeb Bush’s primary campaign, to replace Ms. Guerra. Ms. Ferré had to delete negative tweets she had written about Mr. Trump during the primary.
Republican strategists are worried about Mr. Trump’s impact on their ability to win over Hispanics, and for good reason. From 2000 to 2014, the United States-born Hispanic population grew by 70 percent, to 36 million from 21 million. A recent poll found that only 19 percent of Latino voters (and just 1 percent of black voters) supported Mr. Trump.
Lionel Sosa is not in that 19 percent. This veteran political consultant said he became a Republican after watching Dwight D. Eisenhower accept his party’s nomination in 1952.
“He sounded a lot like my dad talking about personal responsibility,” Mr. Sosa said. “I thought, ‘Man, I’m a Republican!’”
Mr. Sosa has worked on eight Republican presidential campaigns, writing and producing political advertisements aimed at Hispanic voters. This will be the first Republican presidential campaign in 32 years that he hasn’t worked on, he says, because Mr. Trump doesn’t respect Latinos like himself.
“When he says ‘Make America Great Again,’ to me, it means, ‘Make America White Again,’ make it the way it used to be when there were only other people like ‘us’ in this country,” Mr. Sosa said. He plans to vote for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate, in November.
Mr. Badger said Mr. Trump’s candidacy would create a hole in the party “that will take generations to climb out of.”
“We are receding more and more and more into just being a white Southern party that’s really only viable in Western Plains states and the Deep South,” he said. “By definition, that makes you not a national party.”
After November, anti-Trump Republicans can only hope they will find a party they can take pride in returning to, and one that regains national ambitions. But even if Mr. Trump loses, and loses badly, it’s unclear whether party leaders will take this lesson to heart by renouncing their support for Mr. Trump or if they’ll simply shrug it off and expect voters — and the black and Hispanic Republicans who fled the party — to give them a mulligan.
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