Former President Donald Trump’s gains among Hispanic voters in the 2020 election came as a surprise to Democrats and legacy media, but recent data shows the far-left rhetoric and policies increasingly embraced by Democrats is driving Hispanics away.
The rightward shift among Hispanic voters last November was especially pronounced in crucial states like Florida and Texas. Trump won 45% of the Hispanic vote in Florida, an 11-point increase from his 2016 performance, mainly due to support among Miami’s Cuban-American community.
Trump also won around 41-47% of the Hispanic vote in traditionally Democratic border counties in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley region, where up to 90% of residents are Hispanic. Counties in Texas with the highest percentage of Hispanic residents also shifted toward the Republican Party between 19 and 55 points in the 2020 election, The Washington Post reported.
David Shor, head of data science at the left-leaning OpenLabs R&D, told NPR in an interview last month that Republicans’ gains among Hispanics “was a national trend that happened basically everywhere.”
“There were counties that had voted for Democrats solidly in the 70 to 80% percent range since the 1890s that Trump either won or came very close to winning,” he said.
Short further argued that ideological changes among the Hispanic electorate and both political parties is “the simplest way to look at” this shift among Hispanics. He noted “the clout of college-educated white people in the Democratic Party has increased,” and in turn, Democrats have become more associated with cultural liberalism in a way that doesn’t resonate with Hispanics.
The growing use of “Latinx” as a gender-neutral alternative to Latino or Latina is one such example of the Democratic Party’s cultural liberalism. The term is rarely used among Hispanics and many have never even heard of the term, polling data shows.
A Gallup poll published earlier in August found only 4% of Hispanic adults prefer to use the term “Latinx” to self-identify. The poll also asked which term they lean toward if they had to choose, and 57% of respondents preferred Hispanic while 37% chose Latino.
Gallup’s findings confirm an earlier poll conducted by the Pew Research Center in August 2020. According to that poll, only 23% of Hispanic adults had even heard of “Latinx” and just 3% were using it. Among older Hispanics, just 7% of respondents age 65 or older had heard of the term.
The term “Latinx” has been mocked even by some liberal commentators like talk show host Bill Maher, who said after the 2020 election that the term was only used by “pandering white politicians who mistake Twitter for real people.”
Democrats’s leftward shift on economic and social issues further consolidated Hispanic voting blocs for Republicans, according to The Washington Post.
Republicans’ historical anti-communist message has resonated with Cuban Americans who fled Fidel Castro’s regime, and the party’s newer anti-socialism message has also drawn in Venezuelan Americans who oppose Nicholas Maduro’s regime. (RELATED: Leaders From America’s Largest Socialist Organization Met With Venezuelan Dictator Maduro)
Many Hispanic Catholics and Evangelicals are conservative on abortion and other social issues, according to Pew Research Center going back multiple election cycles, and those voters have long supported the Republican Party.
Trump not only held onto those traditional Hispanic Republicans in the 2020 election, but he also gained new voters among working class and politically moderate Hispanics, according to The Washington Post.
Around 80% of Hispanics do not have a college degree, according to the Census Bureau, and Trump spent much of the 2020 campaign touting his administration’s economic polices and its impact on working class and non-college educated voters, at least before the pandemic.
The “law and order” rhetoric of Trump and other Republicans in the 2020 election likely appealed to moderate Hispanics, especially as major cities were swept by riots and civil unrest last summer following George Floyd’s death. Democrats’ embrace of “woke” politics and association with “Defund the Police” and Black Lives Matter may likely have further moved Hispanics away.
“Wokeness doesn’t appeal to us,” Daniel Garza, director of the right-leaning Libre Institute, told The Washington Post. He added that progressive ideas like “defunding the police, abolishing ICE, stopping the development of cheap and reliable energy [and] this weaponizing of race that’s dividing America” is turning off a lot of Hispanics. (RELATED: ‘They Don’t Buy Into That At All’: Are Far-Left Policies Behind Hispanic Voters’ Rightward Shift?)
A Heritage Action poll conducted in March found that 58% of Hispanic respondents oppose President Joe Biden’s rollback of Trump-era immigration policies and 66% oppose ending funding for the border wall, even though Democrats had long claimed such policies were racist against Hispanics.
Internal polling of Hispanic likely voters in battleground by the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) in May found those voters largely aligned with Republicans when it came to their values and political priorities. A majority of respondents were supportive of market economics, border security, voter ID and traditional family values.
NRSC chairman Sen. Rick Scott said in a statement that the polling results demonstrated that Hispanic voters largely reject the pillars of the Democrats’ agenda.