Wednesday, January 25, 2017

What Trump gets wrong about Hispanics in the U.S.

Toyota's Lexus luxury line is among the brands marketing toward Latinos, who injected $1.4 trillion into the U.S. economy in 2016, according to a new report (VidaLexus Presents: RPM – Reengineering Popular Music with Raquel SofĂ­a)

By Tracy Jan
Washington Post

President Trump, as he ran for office, portrayed Latino immigrants as a drain on the U.S. economy, saying "The Mexican government ... they send the bad ones over because they don't want to pay for them."
But Trump’s campaign rhetoric ignored this fact: The growing Latino population injected $1.4 trillion into the U.S. economy in 2016, according to a new report by the Selig Center for Economic Growth. That’s larger than the GDP of Mexico.
The rapid growth of Hispanic buying power in the U.S. is not a result of population growth alone. Per capita, the buying power of Hispanics in the country has jumped from $13,880 each in 2000 to more than $24,050 each in 2016 -- accounting for every man, woman and child.
Upper-income Hispanics are fueling much of that spending power as the proportion of wealthy Hispanic households in the U.S. expands. Those making more than $100,000 a year accounted for nearly 16 percent of all Hispanic households in 2015, double the percentage in 2004, according to the Pew Research Center. More than half of those households reside in California, Florida, New York and Texas.

Corporations have taken note. Industries from real estate and banking to luxury automakers and prestige cosmetics are expanding their marketing towards this rapidly growing demographic.
“There’s definitely money, and growing money, in this segment so you absolutely cannot ignore it,” said Brian Bolain, general manager for Lexus marketing.
Toyota, the No. 1 auto brand among Hispanic consumers for the past decade, has created a corporate department specifically targeting Hispanics for its various vehicle divisions, including its Lexus luxury line.
As a result, Lexus is now the top selling luxury automobile brand to Hispanics, said Sara Hasson, senior vice president in Univision’s strategy and insights group who works with auto manufacturers and dealers. Other elite brands such as Audi, Mercedes and BMW are also investing millions each year in Spanish-language advertising, with luxury auto ads on Spanish television and radio tripling since 2013, Hasson said.

One ad introducing the 2017 Lexus IS line, the brand’s entry-level sedan, features a car speeding through city streets spliced with scenes from a soccer match. A male voice-over says in Spanish, “No cheerleaders. No mascots. No halftime show. All thrills. Exhilarating performance in its purest form.”
Hispanics accounted for a quarter of Lexus IS sales in 2016. But Lexus markets a half a dozen cars at higher price points each year to Hispanics, through not only traditional ads but also music videos starring Latin musicians, short programs featuring Latin chefs and athletes, live concerts, and events inviting consumers to test drive various models around a track.
“One of the things we feel that’s key to their success is they are not making an assumption that you could only afford the entry-level vehicle,” Hasson said.
Companies especially strive to build brand loyalty early among wealthy Latinos because they tend to be younger and have larger families than the non-Hispanic upscale consumer. And while the majority of the target audience is bicultural and fluent in both English and Spanish, marketers say it’s still important to create Spanish-language ads that appeal to multi-generational Hispanic families.
“Parents and grandparents, you have to address the whole family,” Bolain said. “People who have a voice and a vote in that ecosystem.”
While affluent Hispanic households tended to be Cuban American or South American two decades ago, there is growing affluence among Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, said Gabriela Alcantara-Diaz, who owns her own advertising firm in Miami and who sits on the board of the national trade group AHAA: The Voice of Hispanic Marketing. The trade group, in partnership with Nielsen, a global information and measurement company, has identified Latinos earning $50,000 to $100,000 annually as one of the most influential consumer segments since the baby boomers.  
Hispanic wealth is also expanding beyond the traditional urban centers in Miami, New York and Los Angeles to secondary markets such as San Bernardino, Calif., and Jacksonville, Fla., Alcantara-Diaz said.
“There have been a lot of regional players more aggressive in pursuing the emerging upscale Hispanics” than national opportunities, said Alcantara-Diaz, whose firm began focusing on this demographic while working with Johnnie Walker whiskey and Publix supermarkets two decades ago. “We knew it was just a matter of time before this market would influence national trends.”

Hispanics have become key drivers of homeownership growth in the U.S., accounting for 69 percent of total net growth, according to a 2016 report by the Hispanic Wealth Project. They tend to accumulate wealth through real estate and small businesses but underperform in other assets like the stock market and retirements accounts.
“Hispanics are earning more money but not making up ground on the wealth side,” said Gary Acosta, chief executive of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, who created the Hispanic Wealth Project with the goal of tripling Hispanic household wealth by 2024.
Wells Fargo expanded its Hispanic sales force by 15 percent last year in hopes that more diverse loan officers and home mortgage consultants would better cater to its growing Latino clientele, said Brad Blackwell, an executive vice president with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.
The bank is also opening new mortgage offices in branches that serve large Latino populations in Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston and Phoenix. And it has made a commitment, in collaboration with the Hispanic Wealth Project, to lend $125 billion to Hispanic homebuyers by 2025 and invest $10 million from the bank’s foundation to educate and counsel Hispanic homebuyers.  
(Wells Fargo’s commitment follows a $175 million settlement in a lawsuit alleging that the bank discriminated against Hispanic and African American borrowers.)
In contrast to the many other companies pursuing wealthy Latino consumers, Sotheby’s International Realty, which focuses on high-end properties, does not specifically tailor its marketing toward Hispanics, let alone advertise in Spanish.
In Miami, where Sotheby’s average property sale price tops well over $1 million, Latino agents make up about a third of the real estate agents. But the nuances of language and cultural differentiation tend to disappear, said Michael Valdes, a global vice president at Sotheby's and the company’s highest ranking Latino.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Trump Voters Harbor Mixed Feelings Ahead of Inauguration

Voters like Deborah Forster, an independent in Michigan, are part of a pivotal group who harbored reservations about Donald Trump but helped put him in the Oval Office. PHOTO: FABRIZIO COSTANTINI FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Wall Street Journal

President-elect Donald Trump owes his election in 2016 in part to voters like Deborah Forster, an independent in Michigan who had deeply mixed feelings about the Republican nominee.

Ms. Forster, a 52-year-old attorney, voted for Mr. Trump mostly because she didn’t want Democrat Hillary Clinton to win. Now she is nervously watching as he prepares to enter the White House. She likes some of his cabinet picks, but isn’t pleased with his penchant for sending harsh tweets about everything from the U.S. intelligence community to actress Meryl Streep.

“I am hoping that Trump begins to speak and act like the intelligent businessman that I’m sure he is,” she said. “I’m hoping he stops tweeting like a 13-year-old boy and starts acting like an adult.”

Ms. Forster is one of a pivotal bloc of voters who harbored reservations about Mr. Trump but helped put him in the Oval Office. According to exit polls, 18% of voters had a negative view of both major party candidates, and nearly half of them voted for Mr. Trump.

Their evolving view of Mr. Trump—whether their qualms are relieved or exacerbated by his performance—could tip the balance of public opinion, affecting how much leverage Mr. Trump will have with Congress and his prospects for uniting the country.

The Wall Street Journal identified a pool of these voters, people who said last fall in Journal/NBC News surveys that they preferred Mr. Trump but with some reservations and concerns about his temperament. They will be interviewed periodically through the Trump presidency as a window into whether he is winning converts or losing support.

Despite complaints from supporters, Mr. Trump shows no sign of giving up his use of Twitter. In a weekend interview with the Times of London, Mr. Trump said, “the tweeting, I thought I’d do less of it, but I’m covered so dishonestly by the press, so dishonestly, that I can put out [on] Twitter” a fast response that is viewed by millions.

Daniel Gallegos II, of Colorado, objects to Donald Trump criticizing corporations for moving jobs out of the U.S. PHOTO: THEO STROOMER FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

A Trump transition team spokeswoman said Mr. Trump “is always going to be clear about his principles, honest with the American people and committed to fighting for American jobs.”

As of now, voters generally are giving him the benefit of the doubt. Many are pleased with his cabinet picks, but are uneasy with his attacks on people and broad, often confusing, statements of policy that he circulates on Twitter.

“So far I think he’s doing a decent job,” said Matt Triplett, 47, a Republican salesman in Dublin, Ohio. “But I sure wish he’d get off Twitter. The guy is a loose cannon. I’m going to sit back and be entertained by what’s going to be transpiring. But it’s a little unnerving.”

Mr. Trump’s high-profile moves to pressure companies such as Carrier Corp., an air conditioning manufacturer, to keep jobs in the U.S. is speaking to people like Cathy Coats, a former Barack Obama voter in Raleigh, N.C., who has been out of work for three years.

“I am cautiously optimistic,” she said. “If he does what we want him to do—on immigration, jobs—then he will be an excellent president.”

She worries that he is already easing off his demand that Mexico pay for building a wall on the southern U.S. border and softening his tone on immigration policy.

“I may be jumping the gun a little myself, but I am wondering why we haven’t heard anything about deportation of illegal aliens,” said Ms. Coats, 59, an Army veteran who had worked in marketing.

John Brickner, 78, a Republican former school superintendent in Wilbur, Neb., is eager to see the new administration roll back regulations of the Obama era, but was uneasy about Mr. Trump’s postelection rallies. “When he comes on with those damn rallies, I turn the TV off,” Mr. Brickner said.

Mr. Trump’s decision to nominate Rex Tillerson, former CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp., to be secretary of state and Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama to be attorney general eases his concerns. “The more I read about his choices the better I feel about it,” Mr. Brickner said. “These are people who will do what needs to be done. I like it that they are not all career politicians.”

Mr. Trump hit it out of the park for Carol Jansson, 54, a former home-school teacher in Acworth, Ga., when he picked as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, a noted advocate for school choice.

Like many social conservatives, Ms. Jansson supported Mr. Trump because of his abortion policies. And one of her highest hopes for Mr. Trump is that he cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood, an issue that the president-elect has sent mixed signals about.

Polls indicate that Mr. Trump on Election Day benefited from some 11th-hour switches from people who had been backing third-party candidates like libertarian Gary Johnson.

One of them is Daniel Gallegos II, 53, of Commerce City, Colo., a post office worker and libertarian who now objects to Mr. Trump’s calling out of corporations over moving jobs out of the U.S. and his threatening to impose tariffs.

“Donald Trump appears to be economically ignorant,” he said. “I really don’t like the strong arm tactics on business.”

Mr. Trump’s success as president may also hinge on winning over voters like Beckie Toney, 49, of London, Ohio, an independent who was so turned off that she ended up voting for neither Mrs. Clinton nor Mr. Trump. Still, she is willing to keep her mind open to the new president.

“He is the winner and we have to give him a chance,” she said. “You are the president and I will respect it. We need someone who will bring us together. We needed to get an outsider.”

—Peter Nicholas contributed to this article.

Friday, January 13, 2017

How Republican's Can Pass Immigration Reform Now, Here's How

By Stephen A. Nuno


As President-elect Trump prepares for his term in office, Republicans in Congress have stumbled out of the gate with an ill-advised attempt to gut an independent ethics office that investigates House lawmakers and staff accused of misconduct. But if the GOP is looking for an easy victory that could put the Democrats on their heels, they may look no further than a compromise on immigration reform.

Immigration reform has been difficult, mainly because of one important disagreement between the GOP and the Democrats; what to do with the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. Democrats desire a pathway to citizenship for this population; they have touted the economic and social benefits and it doesn't hurt that new citizens also means new potential voters.

However, Republicans have been opposed to a pathway to citizenship, saying this would reward illegal immigration and sidestepped the legal system, despite the many incentives businesses provide to undocumented labor. Some in the party have also used thinly veiled racially charged arguments against a pathway to citizenship because these immigrants would dilute the social fabric of the country, ie. they may be less likely to assimilate into American culture. And frankly, given the GOP's performance with minority voters, the party knows they have a demographic disadvantage with new Latino and Asian voters that would only be made worse by extending this population with the right to vote.

Immigrants without documentation are faced with daily struggles. It is difficult to work without proper identification. They are susceptible to human and labor rights violations because of their status. Their status is also a source of extreme stress for their families, many of whom are citizens. An undocumented immigrant may be pulled over for a traffic infraction and be taken to a detention facility without any notice to their family which can last weeks or months.

Moreover, many undocumented immigrants were young when they migrated to the United States and had no idea that they were not processed properly until later in their lives. Recall that Senator Ted Cruz, who is married to a corporate banking executive and who has a law degree from Harvard University, did not discover that he was a Canadian citizen until he announced his candidacy for President. Cruz was also the longest serving Solicitor General of Texas who argued nine cases before the Supreme Court.

However, a key compromise exists between the two parties that is both acceptable to the majority of voters in the country and would humanely solve the immigration issue. Perhaps as important, immigration reform would be beneficial to the economy and to Donald Trump's investment portfolio.

Marco Rubio floated an immigration reform plan that addressed the most important issues outlined above in 2012; a plan that granted undocumented immigrants a pathway to legalization without a special pathway to citizenship. His proposal became the basis for a compromise under the "Gang of Eight" proposal the following year, which died when an upswell of dissent rose from the Republican grassroots. But while Rubio's plan was also cast as unacceptable to Democrats because it did not provide an explicit path to citizenship, President Obama was praised for implementing a temporary reprieve program for Dreamers, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which was essentially the same as legalization without a special path to citizenship.

For undocumented immigrants, the economy, and Donald Trump, the benefits are immediate.

"Increasing immigration is a guaranteed way to boost economic growth. Immigrants boost the supply and the demand side of the economy," says economist Alex Nowrasteh with the conservative Cato Institute. Even for immigrants already here without status, formally integrating them is a boost to economy, says Nowrasteh.

Legalization brings undocumented immigrants out of the shadows so that they may work, take their kids to school, go to church or participate in society without fear of being torn from their families.

Research from the social sciences shows that greater social integration increases immigrants' assimilation into American culture, like speaking English and gaining the education they need to maximize their contribution to the economy. And as Pew Research has shown, many immigrants do not desire to be citizens even if offered.

Legalizing undocumented immigrants who can then freely participate in the economy brings them formally into the community. For Donald Trump, a real estate mogul, the benefits are obvious. Nowrasteh of Cato says, "The smallest estimated effect of immigration on rental prices is that a 1 percent increase in population from immigration increases rents by 1 percent. A huge impact."

The case for immigration reform that includes a path to legalization without an explicit path to citizenship is obvious for all except those who either see immigrants as a threat to cultural purity in the Republican party or those in the Democratic party who see their value only in what they can provide in votes.

But a great majority of voters in the 2016 wanted undocumented immigrants to be offered legal status. Exit polls during the election showed that 70 percent favored legal status, and these data have been consistent for years. Voters are not resistant to legal status, except that the real point of disagreement is over what "legal status" actually means.

Politically, a Republican solution to immigration reform would put Democrats in a difficult spot. Obama enjoyed a majority in Congress in his first term in office and could not get immigration reform through, largely because the GOP was united against it and a few Democrats in red districts defected against the party. Obama had also largely expended all of his political capital on health care reform. But the inability to get immigration reform passed was one of the biggest failures of the Obama administration. The GOP can start by settling an issue that is long overdue.