Democrats move to the left behind Hispanic move to GOP
Democratic strategists were euphoric after President Barack Obama’s historic victory in 2008. They had helped elect an African American president and believed they were witnessing a fundamental change in their coalition.
The Democrats had replaced the culturally conservative working-class White voters who helped elect President Bill Clinton with minorities, millennials and socially liberal White voters. These rapidly growing demographic groups supposedly gave Democrats a permanent majority.
After Obama’s reelection in 2012, the Republican National Committee commissioned an “autopsy” to supposedly explain how the party could appeal to an increasingly diverse nation. The Establishment responded by advocating joining Democrats in espousing identity politics.
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Elites in both parties saw the election of President Trump as a temporary setback fueled by the last gasps of a shrinking opposition. The election this month proved them wrong. Republicans proved they can build an aspirational, multi-ethnic, culturally conservative, working-class coalition.
Republicans must compete by communicating how conservative values benefit all Americans and protect the freedoms that attract immigrants here in the first place.
Hispanics are following generations of immigrants before them, assimilating into American culture and voting based on their beliefs, not ethnicity. Democrats want Hispanics to vote on the circumstances of their arrival, but they are increasingly voting based on the reasons for their coming.
The Democratic coalition requires strong majorities among Hispanics, the nation’s fastest-growing group, to replace the working-class White voters they are leaving behind.
Republicans’ increase in Hispanic support proves Democrats were premature in declaring demographics as destiny.
In the presidential election campaign this year, Joe Biden noted the diversity of the Latino community, citing different attitudes about immigration in Florida versus Arizona, while denigrating African Americans as monolithic.
Most in the media focused on Biden’s bizarre comments about African Americans, for which he apologized, but Biden revealed an important political truth concerning Hispanics.
Conservatism appeals to voters on their cultural and economic interests, not their ethnicity, and many Hispanic voters found Trump’s working-class message appealing.
The election saw a notable shift in heavily Hispanic counties. Compared to the 2016 presidential election, Trump’s support rose by 5% in Yuma County, Ariz.; 8% in Imperial County, Calif.; 7% in Luna County, N.M.; and 28% in Starr County, Texas.
Trump especially improved his performance in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. In addition, Trump won Florida by nearly 4 percentage points.
Most of the Hispanics in the Rio Grande Valley are not immigrants. They are native Texans and have just been a little slower in switching to the Republican party, but they appear to be making the move. Trump's policies had a lot to do with that. His policies favored small businesses and the oil and gas business. Hispanics are active in both. Biden's threat to the oil business got their attention.