Are Hispanics Gravitating to the Republican Party?
The 2020 election, despite its disappointing finish, had a number of silver linings that the Right could take solace in. For one, the GOP made solid gains with Hispanics, specifically with Tejanos along Texas’ border.
The Daily Caller published an interesting piece titled “‘Things Have Shifted Dramatically’: Conservative Hispanic Leaders Explain Why Texas Voters Are Shifting Republican”, where Mary Margaret Olohan interviewed two female Hispanic Republican leaders, who were previously Democrats, about Republicans’ gains with Hispanics in the Lone Star State.
Adrienne Pena-Garza, the chair of the Hidalgo County Republican Party, and Monica De La Cruz-Hernandez, a Republican candidate who plans to challenge congressman Vicente Gonzalez of Texas’s 15th congressional district, were the two Hispanic republicans interviewed.
“I am starting to see this need to connect with the Hispanic community and let them know nationwide that it’s the Republican party that offers opportunities,” Adrienne Pena-Garza, chair of the Hidalgo County Republican Party, said to the Daily Caller.
Pena-Garza is a Texas native and the daughter of a Democratic elected official who changed parties around 2010. Pena-Garza recounted that her father’s community were livid about his party switch. People began to become hostile about his decision to become a Republican.
De La Cruz-Hernandez has an interesting race in front of her. Texas’s 15th district has been trending Republican lately. For example, Vicente Gonzalez won his seat handily in 2016, where he defeated his opponent 57% to 38%. However, in 2020, he only won by a 51% to 48% margin, thus indicating that this district is becoming more competitive.
De La Cruz-Hernandez informed the Daily Caller that she was originally a registered Democrat but went over to the Republican fold due to how her “values changed.”
“I grew up as a strong Catholic,” she stated. “This area has got strong Catholic roots today, Christian roots. Being pro-life and pro God was very important to me as an individual. And my family is a family that has served its country. My grandfather served in World War II and in the United States Navy, and my brother served 20 years honorably in the United States Air Force. I saw that the Democrat party was just moving quickly to the left and towards socialism. And those just did not did not align with my values any longer.”
“The Hispanic culture really aligns with pro-life, pro God, and pro country,” De La Cruz-Hernandez noted. “Those are the values of the Republican party. Democrats have just simply gone too far to the left and towards socialism.”
Both De La Cruz-Hernandez and Pena-Garza are against the Biden’s administration’s open border policies that have created a veritable crisis at the southern border.
“I love this country,” De La Cruz-Hernandez declared. “I want to see this country protected and that protection to come through strong borders and law and order. And what President Biden has done is essentially opened our borders down here in South Texas. And so we need to immediately implement the rules and policies of the previous administration, which includes to build the levee wall that the previous administration had, to re-install the Remain in Mexico Policy and to stop the Catch and Release System.”
Indeed, there is perhaps some potential for growth among Tejanos and other Hispanic groups that are witnessing firsthand the disaster taking place along the American border. Similarly, there are large portions of Hispanic voters that very likely don’t care much for woke virtue signaling and other petty forms of identity politics. Instead of using cringe-worthy Bush era appeals to Hispanics, Republicans would be better served by targeting low-hanging fruit such as Tejanos and using law-and-order and populist messaging towards Hispanic voters. There is definitely room for growth around the margins with these groups provided that Republicans are willing to adapt to the new political realities.