There's something about prefacing a reference to a racial or ethnic group with the word "the" (see Donald Trump's discussion of his great relationship with "the blacks") that suggests to the listener that you have a long way to go before you actually connect with them.
Perfect example: On MSNBC's The Daily Rundown, John McCain explained to Chuck Todd that the Republican Party had to fix its problems with, not "Latinos," not "Hispanic Americans," not "the Hispanic community," but "the Hispanics."
What is it about this particular construction that always sounds so tone-deaf, and what makes people who are out of touch with the group they're discussing use it so sincerely? At least McCain admits there is work to be done.
Todd had asked McCain if Arizona was in play. The Arizona Senator took a long breath, pausing for five seconds to regain his composure before telling Todd it could be soon an electoral battleground.
"I think that if not this election cycle, the demographics are that Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, even Texas will all be in play," McCain opined.
"And if Republicans don't fix the problem?" Todd followed up.
"Yes, yes. We have to fix our problems with the Hispanics," McCain acknowledged.
"And it starts where?" Todd asked.
"It starts with a way to address the issue of immigration in a humane and caring fashion, at the same time emphasizing the need to secure our borders because of the drug cartels and the people who transport people across our border and treat them terribly," McCain replied.
Watch the video, courtesy of MSNBC:
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