Recent electoral results have shown an ill omen for Democrats, with evidence that their longtime hold over Latino voters is starting to crumble.
However, polling from both the 2020 presidential election and the California gubernatorial recall election last month shows that this may not be the case any longer. In the recall election, the state’s progressive base diminished and saw smaller numbers of Latino voters showing support for Newsom.
In the 2020 election, conservative President Trump gained support among Latinos in states like Florida and Texas when compared to the 2016 election. Indeed, Trump also received a greater share of the Latino vote in 2016 than previous Republican Presidential campaign predecessors.
The shift from progressivism was not limited entirely to just Cuban voters, with other nationalities under the Latino umbrella also moving rightward. Latinos, along with African American voters, have been a cornerstone of the Democrats’ electoral coalition for decades.
What is causing the shift? There are a number of possible explanations, but one may be that the Democrats’ 2020 electoral strategy is out of step with the social and cultural values of some Latino voters. As a voting bloc, Latinos skew heavily Catholic, which could be driving a wedge between them and the Democratic Party on the issue of abortion.
In addition, many Latinos who voted for Trump in 2020 were motivated by economic concerns. According to one extensive set of surveys, “fears that Biden would shut down the economy to fight COVID” were one motivating factor, and many Latinos even reported favoring “restrictive immigration policies.”
This shift has many prominent Democratic political strategists worried about whether Latino support will continue to erode in 2022 and beyond. If so, Democrats could find themselves in very dire straits indeed… while Republicans could reap a sizable electoral benefit.
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