Terrible news for Democrats: Hispanics could help throw the 2020 election to President Trump.
The New York Times announced it was shutting down its Spanish-language edition, "NYT en Espanol," which launched in 2016. The venture, management explained, did not prove a financial success, in part because their readers were “less engaged than they were with our core site, and we did not see a path to converting them as subscribers.”
Translation: Spanish-speaking readers perhaps didn’t buy what the anti-Catholic, anti-Trump, pro-abortion New York Times was selling. Who is surprised? The Times, along with other liberal media outlets, imagine Latinos to be a monolithic group both culturally and politically.
Democrats make the same mistake, taking the Hispanic vote for granted. In 2020, with Hispanics becoming an ever-more important factor in key swing states like Florida and Pennsylvania, that presumption could cost them the election.
In their fealty to tightly bound identity politics, liberals simply cannot imagine that Spanish-speaking people who live in the United States might vote for Trump. And yet, indications are that many will, despite the all-out effort by the Times and other liberal outlets to portray the president as racist.
In 2016, Trump received 28 percent of the Latino vote, slightly more than the 27 percent garnered by Mitt Romney in 2012, shocking those who thought his promise to build a wall would alienate Latino voters.
Since then, as the debate over immigration has become more heated and the president has stepped up efforts to prevent a flood of undocumented people from Central America from crossing the southern border, attacks from Democrats have only intensified.
And yet, Hispanic support for the president appears to grow.
In 2018, Hispanic voters gave Republican congressional candidates 29 percent of the vote, or slightly above Trump’s take in 2016, even as white voters defected from the GOP. The number of Hispanics identifying themselves as Republicans climbed from 24 percent in 2016 to 27 percent in 2018, according to Pew polling. Meanwhile, the president’s approval rating among Hispanics ranges in recent polls between 29 percent and 37 percent.
A New York Times reporter was clearly baffled by this turn of events as she ventured to cover the president’s recent rally in New Mexico, where 47 percent of the electorate is Latino. Jennifer Medina was shocked to find large numbers of Hispanics who had waited in the sun to greet the president, and whose "identity was something of an afterthought."
She met Latino Trump supporters who backed his position on illegal immigration, and who felt that "We need to take care of the people who are already here." They were not, she reported, "single-issue voters," which seemed to surprise the Times writer. Those proudly announcing themselves as Latinos for Trump also tended to favor his position on abortion, his appointments of conservative judges, and defense of gun rights. (Take that, Beto!)
That said, the common theme among those she spoke with was their opposition to people entering the country illegally. Apparently Democrats' rants about “children in cages” and their push to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement have not swayed these voters.
A recent Harvard/Harris poll confirms this. Some 58 percent of Hispanics said they would vote for a president that stood for “strengthening our border to reduce illegal immigrants” while only 46 percent said they would support “opening our borders to many more immigrants.”
Though Medina confidently concluded that Trump is "deeply unpopular with most Hispanics in New Mexico," she admitted that “brown faces were not hard to find" at the rally. She offered no proof of Trump’s low approval within the state, but perhaps thought it was a foregone conclusion since the president lost the state by eight percentage points in 2016. She may be right.
But Democrats do themselves no service by underestimating Hispanic support for the president. Or, as they frequently do, assuming that all Latinos think alike.
Many of the Trump supporters interviewed by Medina came from families who had been in the country for more than one generation; they do not, she said, identify with the caravans from Central America or with those crossing illegally. One person told her she had no problem with the more recent arrivals as long as "they come in, blend in, speak our language." That language is not Spanish.
Many derided the casual application of the “racist” label to the president, with one person calling the charge of bigotry a “frenzy made by the media.”
As they pursue the Hispanic vote, the Trump campaign will talk up the economic gains made by Latinos and other minorities under the president. Coincident with the New Mexico rally, for instance, the GOP tweeted that 34,600 jobs have been added in the state since 2016, the unemployment rate has dropped from 6.5 percent to 4.9 percent and nearly 15,734 people have gotten off of food stamps.
More broadly, since 2016 the country has added 5.2 million jobs, of which 4.5 million went to people of color. The Washington Post reported that this is the first time in the country’s history that minorities were winning most of the new jobs being created. Hispanic unemployment is currently 4.2 percent, the lowest ever recorded.
Because the jobs picture has improved markedly under Trump, the Wall Street Journal reports that “ The poverty rate among female households declined 2.7 percentage points for blacks, four percentage points for Hispanics and 7.1 percentage points for their children.”
Against these achievements, Democrats are campaigning on open borders and on-demand abortion up until birth. These and other positions which could threaten our robust economy, like the Green New Deal or raising taxes on middle-class voters to fund single-payer health care, will alienate those who are increasingly benefiting from our capitalist system.
In 2020, Hispanics could shock Democrats by reelecting a president who is making life better for them. Even if he doesn’t speak Spanish.