- Support for the Republican Party among the US Latino population remains steady despite Donald Trump’s rhetoric against immigrants and ongoing fight to build a border wall.
- According to the Associated Press, 32% of Latinos voted for Republicans in November’s elections.
- This share frustrated Democrats. But many Republican Latino voters say they care more about religious liberty and pro-life policies than Trump’s harsh words against immigrants.
Latino voters have long been expected to vote Democratic, and around two-thirds of them do. It is the other third of Latinos who vote Republican that remain unreachable to Democrats, despite the harsh comments President Donald Trump has made about immigrants and several Latin American countries.
Data collected by the Associated Press shows that 32 per cent of Latinos voted for Republicans in November’s elections. This number is backed up by a Pew Research Center study that found that nearly one-third of Latinos support the GOP.
Many Democrats find this frustrating.
“The question is not are Democrats winning the Hispanic vote – it’s why aren’t Democrats winning the Hispanic vote 80-20 or 90-10 the way black voters are?” Fernand Amandi, a Miami-based Democratic pollster, told the Associated Press.
The same data collected by the AP shows that Latino voters are, like white vote res, split by gender. 61% of Latino men voted for Democrats in November, while 69% of Latino women voted for them. Nearly a quarter of Latino voters are evangelicals, the AP reported, and 13% were veterans.
Republican strategist Mike Madrid told the AP that these two groups have reliably provided Republicans with Latino voters for years.
“They stick and they do not go away,” Madrid said.
Though foreign-born Latinos are highly critical of the Trump Administration – 71% of them are likely to say the White House’s policies are harming Latinos as a whole – slightly less than two-thirds of US-born Latinos say the same, according to a Pew study.
For the remaining third of Latinos, Trump’s harsh rhetoric against immigrants and countries like Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras doesn’t dissuade them from voting for the party or supporting the president.
“Why do 30 per cent of Latinos still support Trump? Because of the Democratic Party’s obsession with abortion,” Sacramento-based Rev. Sam Rodriguez, one of Trump’s spiritual advisers, told the AP. Evangelical Latinos, he said, care more about about “life and religious liberty.”
But because the US Latino population is not a monolith, different Latino populations have other bones to pick with the Democratic Party. Though younger generations of Cuban-Americans are leaning left, The Guardian reported that older Cuban-Americans traditionally vote Republican after coming to see the Bay of Pigs invasion “as a symbol of treachery of American left.” According to The Guardian, the Republican Pb arty has depended on Cuban-American votes in Florida since 1980. To this day, Florida’s large population of Cuban-Americans, tends to vote Republican.
According to the Miami Herald, Cuban-American support for Florida GOP gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis might have given him the edge over Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum. The Herald estimated that DeSantis won 66% of the Cuban-American vote. DeSantis campaigned among Florida’s Cuban-American population by claiming Gillum was a socialist (he isn’t). In the Senate race, Democratic candidate Bill Nelson couldn’t defeat Spanish-speaking Governor Rick Scott.
It wasn’t, however, a bad year for Democrats trying to capture the Latino vote. 64% of Latinos voted for Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke in Texas, who ran against Ted Cruz. More than half of Latino voters in Texas voted for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lupe Valdez. The AP reported that Latinos voted at high rates this election, despite having among the worst midterm turnout rates historically.
Madrid told the Associated Press that that is why Republicans shouldn’t settle for the approximate third of a vote they get from the Latino block. They are still losing more than 60% of their vote.
“That is contributing to the death spiral of the Republican Party – even if it holds at 30 per cent,” Madrid said. “That’s a route to death, it’s just a slower one.”
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