Are Democrats Taking Hispanics for Granted? One Political Scientist Thinks So

The Hispanic vote is perhaps not the monolithic voting bloc that Democrats have hoped for.

Last month, political scientist Ruy Teixeira published a post titled “Did the Democrats Misread Hispanic Voters?” Teixeira took a deep dive into exit poll data and post-election surveys which indicated that Hispanics swung to Trump substantially across the nation. It wasn’t just confined to Miami-Dade or Florida in general. Some of the most notable swings were in areas as Texas Border counties and even large metro areas with significant Hispanic populations.

The million dollar question is: Why did Hispanic support for Democrats slip?

Teixeira argued that Democrats “fundamentally misunderstood the nature of this voter group and what they really care about.” In addition, Democrats’ lumping of Hispanics with “people of color” and their assumption that they would “embrace the activism around racial issues that dominated so much of the political scene in 2020, particularly in the summer” turned out to be a dubious strategy in Teixeira’s estimation. He made the following point about the profile of the average Hispanic voter in the Democrat coalition:

The reality of the Hispanic population is that they are, broadly speaking, an overwhelmingly working class, economically progressive, socially moderate constituency that cares above all, about jobs, the economy and health care.

He cited the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group (VSG) panel survey to demonstrate that “well over 70 percent of Hispanic voters rated jobs, the economy, health care and the coronavirus as issues that were ‘very important’ to them.”

Moreover, Teixeira found that “Crime as an issue rated higher with these voters than immigration or racial equality, two issues that Democrats assumed would clear the path to big gains among Hispanic voters.”

With regards to Black Lives Matter, Hispanics voters were not very keen on the radical leftist movement, which Teixeira outlined:

In this context, it is interesting to note that the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement did not rate very highly among Hispanics. In the national exit poll, Hispanic voters were split close to evenly about BLM, 47 percent unfavorable to 49 percent favorable. This significantly trails not just black voters, but also white college graduates, who rated BLM 61 percent favorable to 35 percent unfavorable.

According to VSG data, Hispanics were also in opposition to defunding the police, reducing the size of police forces, and giving out reparations to blacks. In a similar vein, there was a poll from ABC News/Ipsos that indicated fissures within the Democrat coalition on the issue of public order. Hispanic Democrats, 54% to be exact, were in favor of having the National Guard crush the Black Lives Matters riots that blanketed America’s urban centers last Summer. Overall, 60% of Hispanics, regardless of partisan leanings, back some type of military action during the protests. 

Texeira concluded with a powerful observation:

Clearly, this constituency [Hispanics] does not harbor particularly radical views on the nature of American society and its supposed intrinsic racism and white supremacy. Rather, this is a population that overwhelmingly wanted to hear what the Democrats had to offer on jobs, the economy and health care. But the Democrats could not make the sale with an unusually large number of Latino voters in a year of economic meltdown and coronavirus crisis. 

In sum, Hispanics don’t buy into the cultural Left’s agenda. This fact presents a unique opening that America First nationalists can exploit. By campaigning on strong law and order and anti-critical race theory messaging, the new generation of Republican leaders can make unprecedented inroads with this voting bloc without having to use the “Hispandering” of yore that plagued the Republican Party.

Nonetheless, consolidating white working class support should be the Republican Party’s main priority. Though Hispanic outreach can be a secondary strategy, if done right, that can build a new nationalist base.

It’s just a matter of activists picking upon new trends and acting on them.

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