A dire prediction made by the founder of a Latinos for Trump group didn’t so much leave blue-blooded Americans shaking in their boots, as it left them hungry for more.
Unless Donald Trump is elected president, Latinos for Trump founder Marco Gutierrez said on MSNBC’s “All In With Chris Hayes,” Mexican culture will take over in the United States. Although Mr. Gutierrez’ comments were meant to inspire dismay, they appear to have backfired, instead provoking hilarity online.
“My culture is a very dominant culture,” Mexican-born Gutierrez said. “It is imposing and it’s causing problems. If you don’t do something about it, you’re going to have taco trucks on every corner.”
Not only did many critics immediately dismiss Gutierrez’ remarks as racist, but several also remarked upon the love that many Americans have for Mexican food. By midnight, the #TacoTrucksOnEveryCorner was the No. 1 hashtag on Twitter.
About a decade ago, it was reported that salsa sales surpassed ketchup sales, which might be another indicator of how American taste preferences have shifted. The fact that the "threat" of a taco track on every corner was greeted with glee by so many is another indicator.
In 2014, The Christian Science Monitor’s Randy Dotinga reported on the history of the rise of Mexican food in the US, writing that although meat wrapped in tortillas are an ancient food in Mexico, they were first brought to the United States by refugees of the Mexican Revolution in the early 20th century.
By the 1920s, Mexican restaurants had opened, run by people of Mexican descent who wanted to eat the food of their ancestors. Today, however, more and more people across the country are becoming aware of what authentic Mexican food tastes like. And they like it.
“When a new group arrives, there's always going to be tension. The first thing the majority group does is make fun of their food: Mexicans as beaners and greasers, the French as frog eaters, the English as limeys,” author Gustavo Arellano told Mr. Dotinga. “But the fact that Americans love Mexican food is really a start because at least you've embraced the food.”
That's why taco trucks are hard to swallow as a threat today.
Commentators on Twitter and other online platforms posted memes and comments, sharing visions of a bright, taco-flavored future. Others declared that perhaps election day ought to be renamed “Taco Tuesday!" That would certainly get voters to the polling stations.
Some even expressed a sarcastic combination of enthusiasm and concern for the logistical implications of so many taco trucks, questioning exactly how many taco trucks would grace each four-way intersection.
“I mean, look, this is the best idea to come out of the 2016 campaign,” said one Facebook commentator, according to RT, “but if we're all getting a taco truck, I want to understand exactly how many and where.”
The Washington Post "The Fix" blog took on that taco truck challenge, calculating that there are 3.2 million intersections in America.
"If you assume that three people work in each truck, that's 9.6 million new jobs created. The labor force in August was 159.4 million, with 144.6 million employed. Adding 9.6 million taco truck workers would help America reach nearly full employment — and that's just the staffing in the trucks. Think about all of the ancillary job creation: mechanics, gas station workers, Mexican food truck management executives. "
Meanwhile, the Republican candidate himself wasn't discussing taco trucks, but he has brought the always controversial question of immigration (especially from Mexico) into the spotlight this election season, promising to build a wall to keep illegal immigrants out.
After this week's visit to Mexico to speak with President Enrique Peña Nieto, Mr. Trump again came out strong for stemming immigration, vowing in a speech in Arizona to triple the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and create a new “special deportation task force.” That speech prompted many to reiterate that the candidate will have a difficult time winning over Hispanic voters.
“I was a strong supporter of Donald Trump when I believed he was going to address the immigration problem realistically and compassionately,” said Jacob Monty, a member of Trump’s National Hispanic Advisory Council who resigned after Trump’s Wednesday speech. “What I heard today was not realistic and not compassionate.”