Tuesday, April 23, 2024

What’s Fueling The Shift Of Hispanics To The GOP?

The answer is more complex that just one or two things, but if you’ll consider some of the major highlights of recent American history you’ll conclude that it was always inevitable that the Latino community would eventually dump the Democrats.

And the inevitable is happening. Particularly after Mayra Flores won a special election last week in an 84 percent Hispanic congressional district in South Texas, the heart of what used to be Democrat strength in the Lone Star State.

On the eve of the Texas Republican convention, and after much investment from national and state GOP forces, Mayra Flores (R) defeated Dan Sanchez (D) in the Texas CD 34 special election, flipping an 84% Hispanic Rio Grande Valley seat.

Flores was declared with winner with just under 51% of the four-way field Tuesday night. Fellow Republican Juana Cantu-Cabrera and Democrat Rene Coronado finished with a little over 5% between the two.

From the hip: Democratic support was noticeably absent from this race. Now does that indicate that internal pollsters saw the writing on the wall weeks ahead of time — that simply replacing U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela with another Democrat was going to be an uphill battle?

Or were Democrats cutting their losses in hopes of a better showing in November? The latter may be the case, but don’t discount the former entirely. Republican support is on the rise, even in the RGV.

Flores’ victory might have been the result of a laydown by the Texas Democrat Party, seeing as though this district is to be the product of a redistricting merger and it’ll look a little different for the fall election. She’s going to be running against an incumbent Democrat in Vicente Gonzalez as of now – Gonzalez’ home in McAllen, Texas was drawn out of his old district and now he’s running in TX-34.

And he’s not happy about the fact that Flores is now going to be a fellow incumbent. While the left-leaning election prognosticators are still calling TX-34 blue, don’t forget that McAllen, which is 85 percent Hispanic, elected a Republican mayor last year. You can bet Gonzalez is well aware of that fact.

Less than 24 hours after the GOP flipped a congressional district in South Texas, several Latino Democrats cornered their campaign chief on the House floor with a fervent plea: It’s time for the party to make a crucial course correction.

Republicans blew up more than a century of almost uninterrupted Democratic control in that region Tuesday night, earning a special election win in a heavily Latino border district they had rarely even contested since its creation in 2012 — but where the GOP has made rapid gains in the last few years.

That trend has been on Democrats’ minds since former President Donald Trump cut deep into the party’s margins in the Rio Grande Valley in 2020. But national Republicans poured money into the special election in this 85 percent Latino district from the beginning.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and its allies, meanwhile, only made a small investment at the end, despite requests from members to get involved earlier.

“I hope the DCCC learns their lesson with this before it happens across the country,” said Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, who due to redistricting will face GOP Rep.-elect Mayra Flores this fall in a redrawn district.

“They have just forgotten about the brown people on the border,” Gonzalez continued. “And that’s basically what it is. I’m not going to try to sugarcoat it anymore. They are taking Latinos in South Texas for granted.”

The DCCC’s chair, Sean Patrick Maloney, tried to play it off as a one-off defeat.

“Look, I think the Republicans spent millions of dollars to win a seat that’s going away. We’re going to win this seat when it matters,” Maloney said in a brief interview. “You never like to lose, and I understand why people were upset by that. I think Republicans burned a lot of money, and we’re going to end up with that seat.”

But that’s not how this is playing with Democrats in South Texas. They’re terrified that this fall is going to be a wipeout for them. There’s an excellent chance Henry Cuellar whose district is to the west of the 34th District Flores just won, could fall victim to a challenge from Cassy Garcia, for example. And the current trajectory of Hispanic politics means Gonzalez is definitely not safe this fall.

As you can tell by his statements to POLITICO.

Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Florida, New Mexico, even Colorado – and parts of California are beginning to redden a little – all show movement from Hispanic voters away from the Democrats. Republicans are winning the generic congressional ballot among Hispanics in a number of recent polls. And Joe Biden’s approval rating with Hispanics is abysmal – just 24 percent in a Quinnipiac poll released a couple of weeks ago.

So why is it happening? Well, maybe this is a clue

President Joe Biden signed an executive order Wednesday to enhance protections for transgender children and take steps to ban conversion therapy as efforts continue in Texas and other states to restrict gender-affirming medical care.

The executive order calls on the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services to increase access to gender-affirming care and develop ways to counter state efforts aimed at limiting such treatments for transgender minors.

Biden signed the order Wednesday afternoon, joined by six LGBTQ teens who were reportedly from Texas and Florida.

“My message to all the young people: Just be you,” Biden said to a crowd of members of Congress, administration officials and LGBTQ advocates. “You are loved. You are heard. You are understood. You do belong.”

The federal health department will release sample policies for states to expand health care options for LGBTQ patients. The federal education department will release a sample school policy to achieve full inclusion of LGBTQ students.

Nobody likes the transgender stuff. But Latinos absolutely can’t stand it. Hispanic culture is a macho, traditionalist, religious culture. It has little room for the idea that gender can be detached from sex. In the Latin culture the plumbing God gave you defines who you are, and anything beyond that is loco.

And they don’t like loco.

What else they don’t like is Critical Race Theory.

The thing to understand about Latinos is that “Latino” is not a race. It’s a cultural affiliation. There are black Hispanics, lots of whom come from, for example, Brazil and the Dominican Republic and Cuba, and there are Mestizo Hispanics, many of whom hail from Central America and southern Mexico, and their ancestors were Mayans and other indigenous tribes who lost to Spanish conquistadors.

But two thirds of people who call themselves Hispanics are white. Their ancestors were the conquistadors. They’re of Spanish descent, maybe with various amounts of the other two groups sprinkled in here and there.

The point of all that is to say that when they’re exposed to Critical Race Theory and they’re told to “be less white,” they don’t just assume the woke crowd is talking about los gringos. They know it’s aimed at them, too. They know they sit below black people on the intersectional totem pole, and they’re not very bought in to that.

A Hispanic friend told me not too long ago that she saw the CRT stuff as nothing more than “making excuses for black people.” Perhaps a more polite way of saying that is it’s making excuses for the policy failures that have so negatively impacted the black community. But from a Hispanic point of view, politicians pandering to black voters when Hispanics are swimming a river to get here and then working their butts off to climb into the middle class are not friends of Latino voters.

So transgenderism doesn’t work, and CRT doesn’t work. What else are Democrats offering?

Mass immigration. Which Hispanics are supposed to love. Guess what? They don’t.

Last year in an American Spectator column I offered a theory for why

Let’s talk about the mythical Mr. Fernandez, who’s your Latino everyman in modern America. Let’s say Mr. Fernandez is a carpenter, or a plumber, a second-generation Mexican-American who lives in, say, the barrio in South San Antonio.

His neighborhood is a borderline slum, but he owns his house in it. There’s a rented house next door which is usually overpopulated with illegals. He wakes up to trash in his yard often. He worries that MS-13, or something similar, will take over the streets, with the crime attendant in that. The public school his kids go to and the emergency room at the hospital nearby are usually overpopulated, to varying degrees, with illegals or their children.

Mr. Fernandez doesn’t have anything against the illegals, but that doesn’t mean he’s willing to sacrifice his own quality of life for them. And he bristles at the idea that public policy ought to be made in order to coddle them because that’s the key to getting his vote.

For two decades, that was the Republican Party’s attitude, and he saw that as such a swing and a miss that he gave up on the GOP. He began voting Democrat, at least in federal elections. In state races, he’d pick a Republican here and there because Texas Democrats are often a lot loonier than he cares to support.

Along came Donald Trump, and Mr. Fernandez wasn’t much of a fan. He believed media reports that Trump was a racist who hated Hispanics because he said Mexico wasn’t sending America its best, and he swallowed the line that Trump was talking about Latino men as rapists and worse. He thought little of Hillary Clinton but voted for her.

Then he saw Trump get control of the border. MS-13 largely vanished from the streets. They started teaching a lot more English at his kids’ school. The ER all of a sudden didn’t have a five-hour wait because of so many illegals without health insurance. And the rent house next door only had four people living in it instead of the eight it had previously held. Not to mention that from 2017 until COVID hit and put everything into a tailspin, Mr. Fernandez was making more money than ever with all the construction going on in town.

Mr. Fernandez voted for Trump in 2020.

But now Biden is president, and that rent house has a dozen people living in it. Home construction has ground to a halt thanks to the skyrocketing cost of building materials, which means Mr. Fernandez now has money problems he didn’t have before. He had planned on moving out of the barrio into one of the middle-class suburbs adjoining San Antonio, but that’s on hold indefinitely. The gangs flex their muscles in the barrio, loaded up with recruits from across the border and parts south. And when his son broke his arm sliding into second last week, the wait at the ER was half the night — and it was miserable, thanks to COVID protocols arising from all the illegals who arrived carrying the virus.

Furthermore, Mr. Fernandez might claim Hispanic status, because there is an advantage in that and because it’s a cultural identity he’s proud of. Still, he doesn’t consider “Hispanic” to be a race. He believes, as do lots of folks like him, that there are three types of Hispanics — there are black Hispanics, Native American and mestizo Hispanics, and those who come from Spanish ancestry. He’s the third kind, which means Mr. Fernandez considers himself white, and he considers his kids white as well.

And when the Democrats now insist on teaching his kids that they’re privileged and worse than that, they’re born racists, Mr. Fernandez is utterly disgusted. He doesn’t understand this idea that everything has to be put aside for the benefit of black people when he knows his father arrived from third-world Oaxaca with absolutely nothing and worked his fingers to the bone just to climb into the lower middle class while the “oppressed” Americans spent their time complaining.

And as a staunch Catholic, he is really not a fan of this transgender business the Democrats keep pushing.

He’s telling people he’ll never vote Democrat again. Especially when he sees Biden’s flaccid response to the demonstrations in Cuba. Mr. Fernandez speaks Spanish exceptionally well, thank you, and he finds Patria y Vida to be muy inspirational. Mexico isn’t communist like Cuba, but he has a family history with bad government.

There are an awful lot of Mr. Fernandezes out there, and they’re the reason why the Democrats are beginning to panic about their numbers among Hispanics. Trump did noticeably better in 2020 than he did in 2016, and the GOP is starting to make a lot of post-election headway because of the exact scenario described above.

The Mr. Fernandezes in South Texas are driving the Hispanic exodus from the Democrat Party, and the Democrats know it.

But they aren’t changing the things that alienated Mr. Fernandez. They can’t. They’re locked in. They’re telling themselves this is all about messaging, which is why they’re buying Spanish-language radio stations in an attempt to hold back the flood.

But it isn’t about messaging. Mr. Fernandez will tell you the Democrats have left him, not the other way around. And he won’t be following them to the woke hell they’re settling in to.