Democrats Warn: In California Recall, Latino Vote Still Moving in ‘Wrong Direction’

Radio talk show host Larry Elder, center, poses for selfies with supporters during a campaign stop Tuesday, July 13, 2021, in Norwalk, Calif. Elder announced Monday that he is running for governor of California. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Democrats are sounding the alarm after preliminary results in the California recall this past Tuesday show Latino voters continuing to move to the right, after support for incumbent Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) dipped from previous levels in 2018.

Newsom won in a landslide, and he earned 60% of the Latino vote. But that was down from 64 percent that Newsom won when he first ran for governor in 2018. And early polls had shown a majority of Latino voters actually backing the recall.

NBC News reported on the “canary in the coal mine”:

“We’re seeing something happen in blue state California, where a certain segment of the Latino population is trending in the wrong direction,” Trujillo said.

California Latino voters sided with Newsom and against the recall 60 to 40 percent, according to an NBC News exit poll — a slightly smaller margin than Newsom and other Democrats have won by in the past in California, especially among Latino men, and nearly identical to the 59 to 41 percent split among whites.

By comparison, Black voters broke 83 to 17 percent in favor of Newsom, while Asian Americans backed the governor 64 to 36 percent, according to the exit poll.

In being elected governor three years ago, Newsom won 64 percent of Latino voters, according to NBC News exit polls from the time.

The Wall Street Journal noted that the trend in California continues the shift that happened in 2020, when a significant number of Latino voters chose President Donald Trump:

Tuesday’s electorate in California, according to exit polls at CNN, was 24% Latino. Sixty percent of them opposed the recall, preferring to keep Gov. Gavin Newsom in office. That’s a good margin, but it’s also down four points. Mr. Newsom won 64% of Latinos in 2018.

The numbers are more intriguing for Latino men, 55% of whom opposed the California recall. Three years ago Mr. Newsom won 61%. It isn’t an exact comparison: Tuesday’s ballot was a yes-or-no question about booting a politician in the middle of his term. The 2018 race was a head-to-head matchup, and that year’s Republican nominee fared poorly overall.

But the Democratic dip is interesting particularly because it follows a trend. Exit polls from 2020 say that Mr. Trump, while losing the election, improved his share of the Latino vote by four points. He won five Texas counties where the population was at least 80% Latino, all of which he’d lost in 2016, according to the L.A. Times.

Another data point: Javier Villalobos won an election this June to become the Republican mayor of McAllen, Texas, a border town of about 140,000 that is 85% Hispanic. No one is predicting a total realignment, and the effect Tuesday wasn’t big enough to make Larry Elder the next Governor of California. But in a country that’s about evenly split, a little shift can matter, and it’s no longer easy to dismiss this as a fluke.

One prominent Latina leader, former State Senate Democratic leader Gloria Romero, endorsed Newsom’s main opponent, Larry Elder. She sided with Elder on the issue of school choice, which is increasingly important to Latino communities.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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