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Tipsheet

The Driver Behind the Recent Historic Collapse of Hispanic Support for Democrats

AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

I’m sure you’ve heard about Joe Biden’s approval rating with a voter bloc the Democrats covet: Hispanics. They’re now Republicans. They’re drifted into our camp. The only people who don’t seem to know or care are…white liberals. For years, the narrative was that the GOP was too extreme on immigration enforcement. If only they moderated, they could clinch this voter group. Instead, the GOP stayed the same and the Left became so wild, so extreme, so gross, and so unpalatable that they become Republican voters. It’s all so delicious. The Democrats thought that demography was destiny. It’s not. Public opinion is shiftable sand, guys. You need to work at reaching voters, retool messaging, and in some cases, jettison policy positions because they’re too toxic. Getting cozy with pedophiles seems to be a debated topic among liberal academics. Making all the kids trans is another. Forcing everyone to wear masks is yet another policy position that is not polling well. Why do you think indoor mask mantes only came back in Philly and not anywhere else? Democrats know what’s up this year. It’s not hard to figure out. 

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It's also not like there have been canaries in the coal mines for Democrats about Hispanic voters. They’re not monolithic. They’re more conservative than liberal Democrats think—and they’re not too eager to back open borders. What about a pathway to citizenship? It’s not popular either. It barely cracks 50 percent, and that’s based on polling data from the past 10 or so years. Who know who mentioned this? It was a liberal data scientist, David Shor, formerly of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. He’s now crunching numbers for Blue Rose Research. Shor was adamant that Democrats doubling down on immigration was a losing proposition. That Democrats had lost the ability to connect with voters who weren’t like them. That liberals need to be aware that they are the minority, and that nonwhite voters, even those who have backed Democrats for years, were not as ideologically rigid as the white college-educated lefties that now dominate the party base.

In 2022, that has caused decay that is lethal to Joe Biden. Jorge Bonilla called Biden’s collapse with Hispanics “catastrophic.” Ben Domenech, the co-founder of The Federalist, zeroed in on a few of the main reasons why Hispanics are now GOP voters. The first is that white liberals believed that all Hispanic voters were the same on the immigrant experience. Second, the Democrats are led by “Ivy-League idiots.” Third, the white woman Instagram brigade isn’t real life.

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“The real question for Democrats is whether this White Woman’s Instagram Coalition they’ve created has any place for the pro-life Hispanic mom,” he wrote. “If it doesn’t, they’ll be the ones who look like they made the wrong bet.” Domenech elaborated more on his Substack (via The Transom):

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…Latino-interest media gave Democrats a constantly renewed false perspective on the relative priority of immigration, and that having a soft immigration policy was an unquestionably good way to reach Hispanic voters.

[…]

For years, smart analysts and consultants have maintained that the natural location of Hispanic was within the Republican tent. They also maintained, despite evidence to the contrary, that hardline policies and aggressive rhetoric about immigration policies was a key barrier to reaching these voters. Despite one indication after another that Hispanic voters do not view themselves as closely connected to the immigrant experience, and that their priorities were the same economic, education, health care, crime, and security concerns shared by most American voters, politicians continued to adopt this false frame of what mattered most.

A candidate who rejected this frame, as Donald Trump did, ultimately performed far better than anyone expected with Hispanics for that very reason. And lower down from the presidential, the performance of GOP politicians who paired their focus on kitchen table concerns with an attitude toward Hispanic voters that felt less like outreach and more like talking to any constituent reaped benefits at the ballot box.

This development belied the assumptions post-2016 that many observers had about Trump’s success: That it depended on a rapidly diminishing group of elderly voters who would soon depart the scene without being replaced by anyone new. This thought process suggested Trump’s coalition was a temporary thing, a bet on a declining stock, and that the old “bitter clingers” would depart the stage soon enough, with a natural leftist coalition ready to replace it.

This has quite obviously turned out not to be true.

There’s one more aspect of this that should not go unappreciated: The Left’s aggressive shift on culture war issues is absolutely a factor in the Hispanic move to the right. And this is important because it raises the potential that Democrats have exchanged their coalition of the ascendant, the demographic destiny that once was their guiding light, for a coalition of well-educated suburban white women whose cultural priorities look more like Wendy Davis and less like any Hispanic mother.

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So, who wants to guess what liberals will do with this poll data? Will they change or triple down? It’s going to be the latter. They can’t change course. This is the way of the Democratic Party. They live in a fantasy land of feelings over facts. Folks, they can’t define what a woman is to the public. Are we shocked normal people are leaving this clown show in droves? 

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