Turning the Hispanic Tide
Tuesday’s election results indicate a subtle shift by Latinos toward the party of Donald Trump.
For decades, the Hispanic vote has been defined as the Holy Grail of American politics: Whichever party was more effective at attracting this constituency would likely gain the dominant position among the electorate. “Demography is destiny,” Democrats argued, and they believed their open-borders policy was the route to the voting heart of the Latino population.
So it was somewhat surprising when a preliminary check of Tuesday’s results found that President Donald Trump’s tough immigration stance may have made inroads on the traditional Democrat dominance of the non-white population. In fact, Trump’s share of that vote appears to be the highest attained by a Republican in more than six decades. And while he was still well short of a majority, the estimated 31% of the Hispanic vote he did gain may be an indication that this group is shrewdly avoiding the political box that blacks have been in for decades due to their near-unanimous devotion to the Democrat Party.
Democrats have long argued that most of the Republican appeal within the Hispanic community comes from disproportionate support from the Cuban-American population (think Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz). But the theory that Trump’s hardline stance on immigration touches the third rail of the Hispanic electorate may have been disproven by the results from Zapata County, Texas, which is on the Mexican border and may be the most heavily Hispanic county in the nation. After losing it by 33 points in 2016, President Trump carried the county by five points over Joe Biden, 52-47. That helped secure Texas for the Republicans, and it particularly galled Democrats who’ve been salivating about the Latino vote finally creating an unbreakable electoral triumvirate of 122 electoral votes between California, Texas, and Florida.
As the Heritage Foundation’s Mike Gonzalez opined in The Wall Street Journal, “The progressive cobbling of pan-ethnicities that dates to the 1970s — a way to instill members of minority groups with grievances and push them to overthrow the American constitutional system — took a hit this Election Day.”
There are two key reasons for this.
First, Hispanics have the same economic concerns as working-class members of other races and ethnicities. Our Louis DeBroux pointed this out in January, noting, “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.” Call us crazy, but it’s almost like the color of their skin doesn’t determine their political and economic interests.
Second — and more important — they may be sick of the pandering Democrats seem to push their way. The folks at The Babylon Bee had plenty of fun pondering what it would take for Democrats to support a border wall and skewering the fake term “Latinx,” but to lump these disparate groups of Hispanics together does them a disservice. While the root language for most of the group is Spanish, their culture and worldview varies by their ethnic origin and plenty of other factors.
With that slight but noticeable shift to the GOP by Hispanics being coupled with a slight loss of support among upper-class white voters, it’s possible a long-term realignment of the political population is beginning, as the Republicans become the party of the middle American working class, including people of color, while the Democrats become whiter and more coastal elite.
President Trump is the first Republican to expand the working-class element in the party since Ronald Reagan and his Reagan Democrats. At that time, however, the white working class was large enough to carry Reagan’s electoral majority by themselves. But the demographics of our nation no longer support a monochrome movement such as that, which is why the Republican Party is happy to welcome freedom-loving Patriots of all sorts.
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