Democrats have illusions about why they’re losing Hispanic voters
November is right around the corner, and Democrats have a problem: In key states like Texas, they’re losing Hispanic voters.
But rather than being honest about it, party leaders are deluding themselves about the nature of the problem. It is a lack of “investment”, they say. Indeed, it is a factor, but there is plenty of evidence to suggest that President Joe Biden’s results combined with Democrat ideology became a problem with a group of voters that tons of progressives and conservatives never expected. not to see turning red, or even getting curious about the GOP.
In June, a Hispanic Republican of Mexican descent, Mayra Flores, won a special election to replace a Democrat who took early retirement. This followed a 2020 election that saw surprisingly high Hispanic support nationally for former President Donald Trump, despite a series of comments that read as racist and an immigration policy that extended the hold. children in cages and the separation of children from parents as a supposed deterrent.
Nor did this support come solely from more conservative stereotypical Cuban Americans. The former president made big inroads in South Texas in 2020 (barely losing to Biden in three Rio Grande Valley districts).
The result also follows congressional Democrats capturing lower vote percentages than in previous years in those same three districts in 2020 — so it wasn’t just Biden.
In 2020, Rep. Henry Cuellar won 58%, Rep. Vicente González won 50.5%, and former Rep. Filemon Vega around 55.5%. But in 2018, those numbers were 84% for Cuellar and around 60% in the other two districts, respectively. In 2016, they were respectively 66%, 57% and 62% for these Democrats. And in 2014, a big year for Republicans, they were 82%, 54% (for González’s predecessor, Rubén Hinojosa), and around 60% again for Vela. And let’s not forget that in 2020, several Republicans won back Hispanic-dominated districts that the party lost in 2018.
It’s true that in last week’s special election, the Democrats didn’t invest a ton, while the Republicans pulled out their checkbooks. However, when very progressive Hispanic Rep. Chuy García (representing Chicago-area parties) dismissed the loss, saying, “I think our historic divestment has caught up with us… We are hot on our heels and we need to invest heavily,” he misses that in the races where his fellow Democratic Party left-wingers put in real time and effort in places like the Rio Grande Valley, they still haven’t prevailed.
That means it’s not just about money, it’s about politics and what happens in real life.
Rep. Cuellar — a moderate pro-life, pro-gun Democrat who has ruffled feathers criticizing President Biden’s handling of the border — was endorsed in 2006 by the conservative Club for Growth and opposes initiatives such as Garcia’s proposed 36% APR interest rate cap. on small short-term loans. He’s downright distasteful — even hated — by grassroots Democrats, while his challenger, Jessica Cisneros, has the Elizabeth Warren-Bernie Sanders profile that progressive voters love.
To boot, on the eve of his primary, Cuellar was also reportedly about to be engulfed in a major political scandal. All in all, he should have been a dead man coming in on election day. But he was not. And his triumph over Cisneros wasn’t about the money either – no matter what García may say about the Democrats and the “investment” in the race to replace González.
Garcia’s ideological ally, Cisneros, simply did not lack investment in his primary to oust the heretic Henry Cuellar.
As of May 4, we know that both candidates have raised over $3 million (Cisneros actually raised over $4.5 million at that time), and both had spent $3 million or more. (it’s hard to believe Cisneros didn’t spend it all). Cisneros was highly regarded for the energy and time she devoted to the campaign, as well as for the discipline of her message – she was not a “lazy” or “reckless” candidate like, say, the future outgoing Republican representative. Madison Cawthorn. But unless a huge amount of undiscovered ballots showed up, the fact is Cisneros lost, and politics and the day-to-day realities of voters mattered.
“The Democrats have had all the time in the world since noon on January 20, 2021 to act on immigration, and yet they voted nothing.”
Democrats continue to ignore the fact that for many people who have family or personal histories with countries where socialism hasn’t worked well, having a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist Congresswoman (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) is almost as visible in the national level than the actual party. leader (that would be President Biden) is a dog that just doesn’t hunt.
Other proverbial dogs that don’t work include: the seeming chaos due to what sees “ordinary people” as ideological mismanagement by Democrats in our literal backyard (the way the government’s handling of immigration Biden administration from Central America seems to be seen in bordering Texas neighborhoods); a position so pro-abortion rights that even pro-choice Republican senators could not support it when presented in legislative form; and out-of-control inflation that the president seems to view as a problem due to wage gains that may or may not keep pace.
Hispanic Americans aren’t as wealthy as their white counterparts (although Hispanic poverty rates have fallen under Trump) — so when inflation bites, it’s reasonable to expect them to be more upset about it. Nor is it surprising that Texans aren’t thrilled with the less than enthusiastic attitude the Biden administration seems to have taken toward the oil industry.
Following last week’s result, Rep. González said Democrats had “just forgotten about brown people on the border,” saying he hoped the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) would learn its lesson, but that the party “take South Texas Latinos for granted. Cuellar agreed, insisting that “the DCCC needs to sit down and take a serious look at South Texas…You can’t take Hispanics for granted, which they always do.”
As they say on Twitter, it follows.
Democrats have traditionally appealed to Hispanic voters by calling Republicans racist and pledging to implement immigration reform if they are put in office (and it’s worth noting that the two messages are intertwined) . But when Democrats controlled Congress and the White House during the first two years of Obama’s presidency, they offered no immigration reform, despite 58 votes in the Senate (and the presence of several moderate Republicans who would have supported immigration reform, at least while they were still in office).
The Democrats have had all the time in the world since noon on January 20, 2021 to act on immigration, and yet they voted nothing.
Ironically, the most recent cases where comprehensive immigration reform almost happened when Republicans were leading on the issue. The first was during the administration of President George W. Bush, where he championed the cause, and the next in 2013, when a bill passed the Senate — with the filibuster intact — although that former Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte, whom many DC insiders consider the now abdicated king of committee chairmen’s inaction, has predictably done nothing to advance him to the Bedroom.
It’s starting to look like many Democrats want to run on the issue, but not execute on the solution, when it comes to immigration (and not just for cynical pro-immigration Republicans like me either). Of course, it is also true that Democrats losing ground to working-class voters, overall. Hispanic attrition is, to some extent, an integral part of this, but also something that drives the trend and is driven by it as it progresses.
Democrats must abandon their illusions about Hispanic voters and do it now. If they don’t, 2022 will be even more brutal for them. As a bonus, we really could see a longer-term honest-to-God political realignment in America — a realignment that few Democratic presidential candidates will actually appreciate.