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Yes, the GOP Really Is Making Gains Among Hispanic Voters

AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File

We mentioned this trend in the context of our Texas primary results analysis last week, as Republicans made tangible gains among Hispanic voters in counties that have long been Democratic strongholds. But the liberal party's grip is loosening on these voters, a phenomenon that we've been tracking in recent months. It's been happening in Texas, yes, but also elsewhere – as seen in Virginia and New Jersey last fall. 

In Florida, recent polling has shown Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis enjoying a strong job approval rating and a commanding re-election lead. Buried within the latest survey we highlighted, DeSantis' approval includes 57 percent of Latinos in the state, among whom he holds an approximately 20 point head-to-head lead against potential Democratic opponents. Even if he experiences some erosion, and his numbers come back down to earth a bit, it looks entirely probable that he will win Hispanics outright in November. 

According to exit polls, DeSantis lost Latinos by ten points four years ago, en route to a razor-thin (0.4 percent) upset victory. Just a few days ago, The New York Times wrote about how the issue of immigration is pushing Hispanics into the GOP column: 

Mayra Flores, the daughter of Mexican immigrants, has done much of her campaigning in South Texas in Spanish. She has heard one phrase repeatedly from voters as she and other candidates try to become the first Republicans to represent the Rio Grande Valley in Congress. ¿Y nosotros? And what about us? “I hear every day that they’re tired — they feel that there is so much attention and help being given to the immigrants,” Ms. Flores said. “The attention’s on all these illegal immigrants, and not on them.” ... Donald J. Trump’s brand of populism has been widely viewed as an appeal to white voters: Republicans around the country continue to exploit the fear that the left is attacking religious values and wants to replace traditional white American culture with nonwhite multiculturalism. But similar grievances have resonated in the Rio Grande Valley in a profound way, driving the Republican Party’s successes in a Democratic stronghold where Hispanics make up more than 90 percent of the population. The difference is in the type of culture believed to be under assault. Democrats are destroying a Latino culture built around God, family and patriotism, dozens of Hispanic voters and candidates in South Texas said in interviews. The Trump-era anti-immigrant rhetoric of being tough on the border and building the wall has not repelled these voters from the Republican Party or struck them as anti-Hispanic bigotry. Instead, it has drawn them in.

Read those last two sentences again. The piece goes on

For decades, conventional wisdom held that the more Hispanic voters showed up to the polls, the more precarious the political future would be for Republicans. But the inverse has lately been reshaping South Texas politics: As tens of thousands of new voters have gone to the polls, Republicans have gained more than Democrats. In Hidalgo County, which includes McAllen, Mr. Trump received nearly twice as many votes in 2020 as he did four years earlier. Mr. Trump’s performance in these border counties was one of the big surprises of 2020, rattling Democrats who had assumed that Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric would alienate Latinos. In this year’s midterm elections, South Texas is the setting for the only competitive House race in the state, and both parties now consider Hispanic voters across the country a potentially decisive swing vote.

Republicans have won a major mayoral race along the border in an overwhelmingly Hispanic community, as well as a significant state legislative race. Another state legislator flipped parties. And the GOP has now recruited three Latinas to carry the torch in South Texas ahead of the midterm elections – the embodiment of news stories like these: 

Democrats were caught off guard by Donald Trump’s numbers in South Texas in 2020. The Hispanic Republican women who live there were not. Many of them have played a leading role in urging their neighbors in majority-Hispanic South Texas to question their traditional loyalty to the Democratic Party. Hispanic women now serve as party chairs in the state’s four southernmost border counties, spanning a distance from Brownsville almost to Laredo — places where Trump made some of his biggest inroads with Latino voters...Hispanic GOP women in the Rio Grande Valley don’t have one specific reason for why they ultimately switched parties, according to interviews with several Hispanic GOP women officials across South Texas and GOP operatives. They want more border security or are staunchly against abortions. They feel their husbands, family members, neighbors and friends that are Border Patrol agents or are in law enforcement are being unfairly villainized by Democrats. They worry Democrats are hostile to the oil and gas industry, which provides many good-paying jobs in the state. They worry the left is forgetting family values and the value of work.

Political analyst Harry Enten writes that Republicans' gains among this key and growing demographic (how well would the GOP need to perform among Hispanics before "progressives" start excluding them from "people of color" statistics?) don't appear to be a flash in the pan, nor are they limited to Texas: 

The Democratic Party's early 2000s dream of an emerging majority based on a diversifying electorate has run into reality. Democrats lost the 2016 presidential election, and they barely won in 2020. Part of their problem was declining support among White voters. But the 2020 election also pointed to another problem: Hispanic voters (who are growing as a portion of the electorate) moving toward the Republican Party. Recent polling -- and now this week's Texas primaries -- show that these Republican gains don't seem to be going away anytime soon. Texas is a heavily Hispanic state relative to the country as a whole. There are 16 counties in Texas where Hispanics make up at least 80% of the citizen voting age population, according to the latest data available from Census Bureau. The county with the highest percentage of Hispanic adult citizens (Starr County) backed now-President Joe Biden by 5 points in 2020, after voting for Hillary Clinton by 60 points four years earlier. (That's not a misprint. It really was a 55-point swing.) ...On the national level, Texas does not seem to be that much of an outlier. While it's not clear that Hispanic Americans have moved even more toward the Republicans relative to how Americans overall are shifting, it's clear that Republicans are holding their gains from 2020.

I'll leave you with this

Hispanic Americans don't want open borders chaos, and they aren't interested in the insulting rhetorical games enforced by woke white leftists. 


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