(UnitedVoice.com) – In the 1990s, Democrats believed the way to political dominance was to build a supermajority on the backs of Hispanic voters. For decades, the Democratic Party promoted open borders, amnesty, and government benefits for illegal immigrants. Yet, the embrace of identity politics may not have worked among the Hispanic community the way they hoped.
In 2000, the media warned George W. Bush could make real inroads to securing Hispanic votes for the GOP. In 2004, he earned what many thought would be an abnormal but sizable 44% of the Hispanic vote. In 2012, some thought they were right as Mitt Romney only garnered 27% of the Hispanic vote. In came Donald Trump, and despite all the talk saying he was anti-immigrant and a racist, he made significant inroads into the Hispanic community in 2016 and improved on it even more in 2020.
Now, polls show the Hispanic preference is evenly split between the two parties. Yet, Republicans give contrasting reasons why there is a shift underway.
Why Are Hispanics Suddenly Voting More Republican?
That question is perceived differently between the two parties. Let’s look at what they say and ask who’s right.
In 1984, President Ronald Reagan ran for election. He made a fervent pitch for the Hispanic vote. He said Hispanics were already Republicans, they just didn’t know it. Fast forward to 2022, Republicans in Texas say they have the roadmap to earning the Hispanic vote. The GOP has aggressively increased its presence in Hispanic communities across the state, especially in areas that aren’t Republican. The GOP opened community outreach centers that don’t focus primarily on political issues. Instead, they host faith-based events, cryptocurrency training, and movie nights.
Republicans say engaging with the Hispanic community non-politically opened doors of understanding as party officials listened intently to concerns among Hispanic voters and what motivates them to vote.
What the GOP says happened in 2020 was no fluke. Hispanic voters massively shifted in their direction. They say President Trump’s positions on immigration, the border wall, supporting police, and backing law and order tipped the scales. Now, Republican leaders in Texas say many Hispanic voters are unhappy about President Biden’s border policies and are switching their party affiliation to the GOP. Additionally, many work in the oil and gas energy industry, which Democratic policies threaten.
Democrats Offer a Different Take
Democrats say their policies aren’t why Hispanic voters are fleeing their party. Instead, they blame Democrats’ lack of focus as the cause of their woes with too many Hispanic voters. Activists say the Democratic Party is too busy chasing suburban soccer moms. They also allege Democrats are talking too tough on lenient immigration policies that help working-class Hispanics.
Democrat strategists say they are the problem. It has nothing to do with Republicans taking advantage of the Democrat’s neglect. In addition, Democratic activists say the party isn’t doing much for Hispanics who tend to vote for more conservative Democrats on economic and social issues.
Both Sides Are Right, Neither Is Wrong
Here’s the point… both are right. In fact, the two party positions are talking past one another. If Hispanics tend to vote more conservatively, why would they vote for a party going farther and farther to the Left?
Could it be that Democrats aren’t engaging with Hispanics because they know this group is more conservative and aren’t persuaded by the Left as it takes over the dominant presence in the party? Is it possible Hispanics want to be seen as Americans, not a unique voter block that can be taken advantage of for political gain by either political party?
In the end, the issues affecting Hispanic Americans are the same ones that affect all Americans. Immigration, crime, inflation, education… The problems don’t know race, ethnicity, or gender. People know which side of the issue they are persuaded by, and they vote accordingly. Over time, they reward or punish politicians at the polls based on the outcomes of their policies.
So, yes… Republicans are earning the Hispanic vote, and Democrats are losing them.
Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst
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