Washington, D.C. – Democrats are completely out of touch with Hispanic families, who care about the real issues impacting them, not the Democrats’ woke ideology. This is a major blow to the Democrats’ hopes of retaining the Senate majority after the midterm elections.
For more than a decade, Democratic strategists have argued that social and demographic changes in the U.S. will inevitably deliver growing support for their party. After all, the white working-class population, which tends to vote Republican, is in sharp decline, while the nonwhite population, which is presumed to be politically liberal, keeps growing. On this theory of the “rising American electorate,” as it’s called, Democratic victory is simply a matter of getting this burgeoning nonwhite population to the polls.
“Democrats are so obsessed with wooing conservative white working-class voters that they fail to see the ever-increasing ranks of people of color who can strengthen their political hand,” wrote analyst Steve Phillips, author of the 2016 bestseller, “Brown Is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority.” More to the point is Julián Castro, a candidate in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, who has said that the Hispanic vote could deliver Texas, Arizona and Florida to the Democrats in 2024—“a big blue wall of 78 electoral votes.”
This slippage happened all over the country in 2020 and among all the different ethnicities lumped under the Hispanic label. The Democratic advantage among Hispanic voters in the presidential election declined 28 points in Florida, 18 points in Texas and Wisconsin, 16 points in Nevada, 12 points in Pennsylvania and 10 points in Arizona. Nationwide, the Democratic margin was down 26 points among Cubans, 18 points among Puerto Ricans, 16 points among Dominicans, 12 points among Mexicans and 18 points among other Hispanic ethnicities. Data sources agree that these shifts were primarily driven by working-class voters without a college degree, who make up the overwhelming majority of the Hispanic population.
Nor have the party’s fortunes improved since 2020. A number of recent polls show Democrats and Republicans essentially tied among Hispanics on a generic 2022 congressional ballot, in stark contrast to the 2018 midterm elections, when Democratic candidates won the Hispanic vote by an average of 35 points. President Biden’s approval rating among Hispanics in a recent Quinnipiac poll is a stunningly low 19%. Other polls have Democrats doing somewhat better among Hispanics but still running far behind traditional margins.
It seems clear that Democrats seriously erred in 2020 by lumping Hispanics in with other “people of color,” assuming that they sympathized with the racial activism that dominated so much of the political scene that year. In reality, Hispanic voters are not a liberal voting bloc, especially on social issues. In a Pew postelection survey, just 20% described themselves as liberal, while 45% were moderate and 35% conservative. Surveys show that Hispanics are overwhelmingly an upwardly mobile and patriotic population whose main concerns are jobs, the economy, healthcare, effective schools and public safety.
Patriotism is another dividing line. In the Echelon survey, 70% of Hispanics agreed that America is the greatest country in the world, while 66% of strong progressives disagreed. The typical Hispanic Democrat is less at home with many of today’s progressive ideas than with the patriotism of President Bill Clinton, who said, “There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.”
Hispanic voters also believe in the possibility of upward mobility in the U.S. In the Echelon survey, 55% of Hispanic voters agreed that “Most people who want to get ahead can make it if they’re willing to work hard.” But they certainly don’t feel like they’re getting ahead right now. In tracking data collected by the polling firm Civiqs in late July, just 12% of Hispanic working-class voters said their family’s financial situation had gotten better in the last year, while 50% said it had gotten worse. In general, Hispanic voters cite inflation and the economy as by far their top issues for 2022. A likely factor in their declining support for Democrats is the party’s strenuous efforts to focus voter attention on abortion rights, gun control and the Jan. 6 hearings.