Hispanic Vote May Be Key to Trump Victory
The president's support among minorities might just shock a lot of Democrats.
A decade ago, political talkingheads were claiming that “demography is destiny.” A political neophyte named Barack Obama had won the presidency, the first black man to do so. Longtime Clinton friend and Democrat campaign strategist James Carville famously prophesied an age of Democrat dominance, even writing a book entitled 40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation.
And who could doubt him? The Democrat juggernaut — a coalition of black, Hispanic, women, and liberal white voters — looked unstoppable.
Then the Democrats, thanks to the Tea Party revolution, suffered historic losses in the 2010 midterms and again in 2014. And then, in what is arguably the biggest upset in American political history, Donald Trump defeated the powerful Clinton political machine and won the presidency.
But Democrats are banking on that being an anomaly — not to mention a side effect of an unfair and “racist” Electoral College. After all, if demography is destiny, then destiny is on their side. The share of the white vote has been steadily shrinking, replaced primarily by a growing Hispanic vote. As the Hispanic population grows, Republicans will be ushered into political obscurity.
A recent article in The Atlantic argues that Democrats should not assume that they will continue to dominate the Hispanic vote. Moreover, viewing Hispanics as a monolithic voting bloc and focusing only on the immigration issue is an enormous mistake.
The article notes that the first “warning sign” of the year came in the first week of January, in the form of a rally at the King Jesus International Ministry in Miami, where 5,000 Christian Trump supporters gathered to hear and cheer their president.
Huge rallies with Trump supporters, including Christians, are not unusual these days. So why was this one notable? Because King Jesus is home to the largest Hispanic evangelical congregation in America.
During the rally, President Trump declared, “The day I was sworn in, the federal government war’s on religion came to an abrupt end.” He also warned, “A society without religion cannot prosper. A nation without faith can not endure.”
And this, says Domingo Garcia, the national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, is what Democrats are overlooking.
By assuming Hispanics will always vote Democrat and are driven primarily by immigration, Democrats are making little effort to understand the other issues that are important to Hispanic voters. Those include good jobs, a decent education for their children, the rising cost of college, affordable housing for their families, etc.
They also overlook that Hispanics, who are heavily Catholic, may not be fully on board with the agenda of a Democrat Party that has veered far left on issues like abortion, marriage, and gender itself.
When several candidates began speaking Spanish at a Democrat presidential primary debate, they were accused of “Hispandering,” speaking Spanish as a cheap way to ingratiate themselves to a voting bloc, similar to Hillary’s cringe-worthy display at a black church in Selma, Alabama, on the 42nd anniversary of Bloody Sunday, screeching, “I don’t feel no ways tired…” in a horribly affected black accent, quoting lines from a Negro spiritual.
When it becomes obvious that Democrats are taking the Hispanic vote for granted, it opens the door for Republicans to get their message through.
According to Garcia, “Latino conservatives in Florida and in Texas, by the way, are amenable to the Republican message and are willing to forgive Trump’s anti-immigrant, anti-Latino rhetoric to a certain extent. … That’s a small minority. But, you know, the difference between 20 and 30 percent could mean the difference of winning Texas or Florida or losing them.”
Setting aside the fact that Trump is not anti-immigrant (he has long praised legal immigration) or anti-Latino (he has often praised the work ethic and family strength of Latinos), Garcia has a point.
In 2016, Trump won 29% of the Hispanic vote, and in 2018, 32% of Hispanics voted for Republicans nationwide. And in states Democrats are hoping to flip, 2020 results may surprise many people.
In Georgia, the Hispanic vote more than doubled between 2014 and 2018, and Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp of Georgia made an impressive showing (39%) among Hispanic voters in 2018. Greg Abbott of Texas (42%) did even better. Right now, President Trump is polling around 32% with Hispanics.
The Atlantic reports that many Latino leaders are very unhappy with the poor level of outreach they see from Democrat candidates, as well as poor campaign strategy. One of the political organizers referred to the anemic Democrat effort as a “master class” in “political malpractice.” Many Hispanics are feeling unappreciated and neglected by Democrats.
This could spell huge trouble for the Democrats in the November elections.
Several major polls in recent months show Trump’s approval rating among black voters surging to 30% or higher (Trump got just 8% of the black vote in 2016), likely as a result of record-low black unemployment, criminal-justice reform, and record funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
If Republicans can hold firm or increase its percentage of the Hispanic vote, while doubling or tripling their percentage of the black vote, the 2020 elections may be even more of a shocking, crushing defeat for Democrats than 2016.