Experienced political strategists estimate that the eventual Republican nominee needs to earn at least approximately 35 percent of the Hispanic vote in both Colorado and Nevada to compete for their Electoral College votes and at least 40 percent, if not 45 percent, of Hispanics in Florida. In 2012, Republican nominee Mitt Romney failed to hit these numbers, and lost all three states.

Republican insiders are worried they could be heading for a repeat defeat in these battlegrounds, despite all of the operational work the party did since 2012 to improve its standing with Hispanic voters. Why?

It’s not just that the summer front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, Donald Trump, sports a miserable 15 percent favorable, 82 percent unfavorable image with Hispanics nationally. It’s that his support for ending birthright citizenship and forcibly rounding up and deporting the 11-12 million illegal immigrants living in the United States has been dominating the campaign. This is a recipe for political disaster in the general election.

“It becomes a litmus test issue, if you’re so argumentative and visceral,” said Floyd Ciruli, a nonpartisan pollster in Denver.