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OPINION

On Election Day Eve, Hispanics Provide Hope for America

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Eric Gay

With the 2022 midterms around the corner, Hispanic Americans are poised to swing elections across America.

Ninety Hispanic candidates are on the ballot in this current cycle—55 Democrat and 35 Republican.  Recent polls confirm trends that Hispanic support for Republicans has been increasing and could continue to represent a game-changer with more and more Hispanics moving from the Democratic to the Republican party. In both local and national polls, issues like the economy, inflation and unemployment top the concerns for Hispanic voters. 

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Yet Hispanics are generally successful in America. Recent data on social mobility shows that Hispanics are one of the most upwardly mobile groups in the United States. Previous generations of immigrants came to the country to do more low-paid work and provide their kids with a better life—the hallmark of intergenerational social mobility. 

Hispanics are socially mobile voters that strive to work hard to achieve the American dream for both them and their kids. Overall, surveys on the American Dream show that 80% of Americans believe that they have either achieved or are on their way to achieve the American Dream. When it comes to Hispanics, the numbers are even better: 82% believe they have either achieved or are on their way to achieve the American Dream, while only 16% think it is out of reach. The American Dream is alive and well, and Hispanics feel it.

Hispanics still see America as the land of opportunity. In many cases, they’re even more bullish on America than natives. When asked if they have more opportunities, about the same, or less opportunities than their parents, 87% of Hispanics answered they have more or about the same opportunities than their parents. Only 13% said they had fewer opportunities. When asked about their kids, 69% answered they will have more or the same number of opportunities, with only 18% saying fewer opportunities. When it comes to how essential they think different ideas are to the American Dream, like the rest of Americans, freedom of choice on how to live and having a good family life scored the highest. 

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The American Dream represents equality of opportunity and strong institutions, unlike places where older generations emigrated from. They want to be treated with dignity and respect when it comes to issues around immigration, which still represents a key concern for Hispanics.

But that is not to say that the economy doesn’t top Hispanics’ concerns and that they didn’t emigrate from their own countries due to the promise of better opportunities abroad. If the United States continues to go the way that their own countries have gone in terms of stagnation and ever-present crises like Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, or even more historically prosperous countries like Argentina, their efforts and sacrifices would have been in vain. Hispanics will vote based on their pocketbooks, and that should be a warning for both Democrats and Republicans alike.

Given that Hispanic men and women have lower median incomes than most other groups, the impact of inflation and an economy headed into a recession will be top of mind on Election Day. Labor force participation levels among Hispanics remain below pre-pandemic levels and mortgage rates continue to climb, making the ideal of home ownership feel more remote for Hispanics. Fears of a recession loom large for three in four voters, meaning that more Hispanics are now exposed to the same ideas and results that they saw back home.

Which brings us to the bad news: Hispanics may be a bit more down on the future of America than other groups, with only 47% saying they are optimistic and 53% saying they are pessimistic. Is that why many are flocking to the right? Are they desperate for different leadership in the White House?

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Next week, American voters will find out, but the main worry to keep in mind is that Hispanics—just like everyone else—want to live the American Dream. They want to live better, richer, and fuller lives.

Which is why Americans should remain hopeful, and Hispanics represent a key component of that hope. Hispanics can be a major force for good. They can refuel the tank of the American Dream, with its promise of dynamism, opportunity, and the pursuit of happiness and flourishing.

The ethos of the American Dream should serve as a bonding and unifying narrative for all Hispanics and the rest of the country—on Election Day and in the years to come.

Gonzalo Schwarz serves as President and CEO of the Archbridge Institute. He is also General Manager of Atlas Network's Center for Latin America.



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