Republicans are winning more Latino voters because President Donald Trump’s populist, pro-American policies deflated pro-Democratic ethnic identity politics, according to surveys analyzed by a left-wing coalition.
“By the middle of 2020, neither views on immigration [curbs] nor the role of Hispanic identity were showing a major effect on [Latino] vote choice,” said the December 14 report by Equis Research.
“Among [Hispanic] independents and Democrats who voted for Trump, COVID was tops alongside economy: For Trump’s core Republican [Hispanic] following, economy was king,” the report added.
The report quoted one 33-year-old female Latino voter who voted for Barack Obama, sat out the 2016 race, and pulled the lever for Trump in 2020: “I’m super Mexican, but just the way he wanted to keep jobs here, and the way he wanted to promote the economy, that was something admirable… We were doing good as a country.”
Trump’s border policies won him unexpected Latino votes in South Texas and Florida, the report admits:
The story in South Texas: Republicans owned the border issue. In Texas, immigration stood out in a way it didn’t elsewhere in the country. Views on Trump’s immigration agenda powerfully sorted Hispanic independents between the two presidential candidates: hardliners with Trump, opponents with Biden.
Looking forward to the 2022 and 2024 elections, the report warned Democrats:
Who is perceived to be better for American workers? Democrats retain some natural credibility with Latino voters but have lost ground on workers, work and the American Dream; they’re also open to attack for taking Hispanics for granted; Republicans have some openings but are still held back by their image as the uncaring party of big corporations.
The report’s authors sought to downplay the economic appeal of Trump’s curbs on immigration, and to play up the GOP’s claim that the Democrats favor “socialist” policies.
That anti-socialist message is catnip for the GOP’s business wing, which wants to import more consumers and workers while loudly denouncing ‘the Democrats’ high-tax, high-regulation priorities as “socialism.”
The report describes Latino’s response to the GOP’s “socialist” talking point:
There isn’t one overriding concern about “socialism”— but a package of complaints usually rises to the top (around government control over people’s lives, raising taxes, and money going to “underserving” recipients). If a through-line exists, it is a worry over people becoming “lazy & dependent on government” by those who highly value “hard work.”
But the GOP has a core weakness among Latino votes, said the report:
The Republicans have a bigger albatross: for all their efforts to rebrand as a working class party, Hispanics largely identify the GOP as the uncaring party of big corporations and the rich.
In 2021, the corporate-funded GOP establishment has downplayed the pocketbook impact of migration on voters, including Latino voters. Instead, it has tried to focus attention on border chaos, drug smuggling, crime, and other non-economic burdens of the Democrats’ loose borders. As a result, only 41 percent of voters say they trust the GOP’s immigration policies, according to a recent survey.
Some GOP leaders, however, are pushing for migration reforms that would directly help voters’ pocketbooks.
A growing number of Democrats are warning the party to move towards the Trump center on economics and migration — even as the party is backing a massive increase in wage-cutting migration that is hidden in the Build Back Better legislation.
“The Democrats are steadily losing ground with Hispanic voters,” Democratic strategic Ruy Teixeira wrote December 10 on his substack blog, The Liberal Patriot. He continued:
The seriousness of this problem tends to be underestimated in Democratic circles for a couple of reasons: (1) they don’t realize how big the shift is; and (2) they don’t realize how thoroughly it undermines the most influential Democratic theory of the case for building their coalition.
It therefore follows that, if Hispanic voting trends continue to move steadily against the Democrats, the pro-Democratic effect of nonwhite population growth will be blunted, if not cancelled out entirely, and that very influential Democratic theory of the case falls apart. That could—or should—provoke quite a sea change in Democratic thinking.
Democrats “would be on much stronger ground [in 2024] if they became identified with an inclusive nationalism that emphasizes what Americans have in common and their right not just to economic prosperity but to public safety, secure borders and a world-class but non-ideological education for their children,” Teixeira wrote December 3.
The U.S. government’s post-1986, bipartisan economic policy of extraction migration is deeply unpopular because it damages ordinary Americans’ career opportunities, cuts their wages, and raises their housing costs.
The invited migration also curbs Americans’ productivity, shrinks their political clout, widens regional wealth gaps, radicalizes their democratic, compromise-promoting civic culture, and allows the elites to ignore despairing Americans at the bottom of society.