Why does ThatMexicanThing.com redirect to Hillary Clinton's website?

A phrase uttered by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence became a hashtag and then a website following Tuesday's vice presidential debate.

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (r.) the Republican candidate for US vice president, debates Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia on Tuesday night at Longwood University in Farmville, Va.

Those who missed Tuesday night's US vice presidential debate or did not follow the hashtags trending on Twitter may be perplexed to see a newly created domain name, ThatMexicanThing.com, redirect to a donations page on Hillary Clinton's campaign website.

The domain, which was registered by a supporter of Mrs. Clinton, references a phrase uttered by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who said he is proud to run on a ticket with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, despite persistent criticism of Mr. Trump's comments about immigrants from Mexico and elsewhere.

"I absolutely found Pence's comment offensive," says Danilo Alfaro, who created the domain. The Portland, Ore.-based writer, whose father emigrated from El Salvador five decades ago, created the domain following the debate, according to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

"Honestly I didn't know it would trend, and I literally grabbed the domain and pointed it at Hillary's site during the time it took my son to brush his teeth, and the deed was done in time for his bedtime story," Alfaro tells The Christian Science Monitor in an email. "I didn't even know anyone had noticed or cared until after he was tucked in and I checked my email."

Mr. Trump, who launched his campaign in June with provocative claims of pervasive criminality among those who illegally cross into the United States from Mexico, has promised to build a wall along the nearly 2,000-mile US southern border. He also claimed that a federal judge born in Indiana cannot rule objectively because of his ethnic heritage

Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia mentioned Trump's record Tuesday, prompting Governor Pence's comment, as the debate veered sharply away from abortion policy.

"Donald Trump and I would never support legislation that punished women who made the heartbreaking choice to end a pregnancy," Governor Pence said, prompting Senator Kaine to ask, "Then why did Donald Trump say that?"

Pence then said Trump is "not a polished politician" and occasionally says things he does not mean. Kaine responded with an allusion to Matthew 12:34.

"From the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks," Kaine said. "When Donald Trump says women should be punished or Mexicans are rapists and criminals ... or John McCain is not a hero, he is showing you who he is."

Then came Pence's now-famous retort: "Senator, you've whipped out that Mexican thing again."

The phrase blew up on Twitter, where thousands began using the hashtag #ThatMexicanThing. Some shared snippets of stories about Mexican immigrants.

Pence went on to note that Trump said not all Mexican are rapists – a fact Kaine has previously misrepresented, as Politifact reported.

"He also said 'and many of them are good people,' " Pence said. "You keep leaving that out of your quote."

In fact, after Trump said, "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists," in his June 2015 campaign kickoff, he continued, "and some, I assume, are good people."

Within hours of the debate, Twitter users began noticing someone had registered ThatMexicanThing.com, redirecting visitors to a donations page on the Clinton campaign website. Although some praised the quick registration and called for pay raises on Clinton's digital team, it was actually Mr. Alfaro's unilateral action. 

Alfaro, who says he's been personally offended throughout Trump's campaign, tells the Monitor that his contribution came at a small price, considering the potential payoff.

"I'll certainly be gratified if dropping $12 on a domain can help register Latinos across the country (or anyone for that matter), to vote for Hillary, and stand up against the intolerance and racism of the Trump/Pence campaign," he says.

Even after the headline-grabbing hubbub of Trump's campaign launch, Hispanics remained optimistic about this election, as the Monitor's Story Hinckley reported in July.

"If you're Hispanic, and you see a headline that someone said something racist about Hispanics, that's kind of old news," Stephen Nuño, a professor of American and Latino politics at Northern Arizona University, told the Monitor. "For most Hispanics, it's not a total shocker that the Republican Party is supporting racist comments."

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