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Are Democrats giving up on Hispanic voters?

Voter registration efforts could help the GOP. Credit: Getty

April 5, 2024 - 8:00pm

Hispanic voters have been slowly moving to the Right, such that Republicans are focusing voter outreach efforts on the demographic as Democrats shift away.

A confidential memo from a Democratic strategist warned donors in January that voter registration efforts could actually help Donald Trump, including among racial minorities. Among non-white voters, “only African American registration is clearly a prime opportunity,” since many non-black racial minorities now vote Republican, the memo reportedly read. When it comes to Democrats’ voter registration efforts, the average black vote costs $575, while the average non-black minority vote costs $1,200, since the latter demographic now includes many non-Democrats, according to the document.

Meanwhile, Republicans have numerous Hispanic outreach efforts underway, with Florida Republican Rick Scott spending millions on an ad campaign targeting the group. The state has jolted to the Right since 2020, but Hispanic voters are drifting Right even in areas seeing a broader shift in the other direction. Texas, for example, has become increasingly blue in recent years, yet Texas Hispanics are increasingly voting Republican.

The Republican National Committee launched a Spanish-language ad campaign to encourage early in-person voting in September, and plans to have dozens of Hispanic, Asian Pacific American, Black and Native American-focused community centres open this election year. 10 centres were closed amid recent RNC budget cuts, but the party plans to reopen several in swing states as part of its Hispanic outreach efforts.

A New York Times/Siena poll published last month found Trump leading Joe Biden by six points among Hispanics in a two-point race. A Quinnipiac poll from late March found Trump ahead of Biden by three points among Hispanics, a lead which grew to seven points in a five-way race, with RFK Jr pulling 15% of the Hispanic vote.

Biden won 59% of the Hispanic vote in 2020 compared to Trump’s 38%, marking a considerable shift from 2016, when Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton won 66% and Trump 28%. Eligible Hispanic voters have increased by 4 million since 2020, according to Pew.

As polls pour in revealing Democrats’ shrinking lead with Hispanics, the party’s headliners are embracing more restrictive immigration policies. Biden has implemented several of Trump’s border policies and adopted a messaging strategy that embraces border security and control of fentanyl smuggling as key talking points. Blue city mayors have also been embracing anti-immigration messaging, with New York Mayor Eric Adams saying the city was “at capacity” and that the migrant crisis “will destroy New York City”.

Democrats and Republicans both make the mistake of viewing Hispanic voters as a monolith, living only in Florida and the Southwest and caring primarily about immigration policy, according to J.P. Carroll, senior fellow at the Rainey Center and former deputy director of Hispanic Media for the Republican National Committee. “For all Americans, including Hispanic Americans, it seems to be that the top issues are the economy and immigration. Those present differently in different states […] so being mindful of those details is key to formulating a winning message,” he told UnHerd. “Both parties need to also be mindful of reaching out to members of Hispanic communities in states that would not necessarily be thought of as being key to reaching Hispanic voters.”

Politicos have long cast doubt on the Hispanic red wave, but polling suggests that Democrats are losing their lustre among Latinos. Efforts by Biden to choose a Hispanic woman with outreach experience as his campaign manager may not be enough to bring those voters back into the fold. If polls are to be believed, November could be the race in which the long-predicted Hispanic wave finally crests.


is UnHerd’s US correspondent.

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Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
3 months ago

I knew the Democratic tides were turning back in 2015, when my Ecuadoran-American housecleaner told me she had voted for Trump. I was actually stunned at the time. She did so again in 2020 and is encouraging her friends ‘to see the light’. My daughter’s Trinidadian-American nanny told me that she is voting for Trump too and everyone around her is as well. It’s an interesting trend. It’s interesting to hear their reasons as well…

Sylvia Volk
Sylvia Volk
3 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

What were some of their reasons, Cathy?

Ian_S
Ian_S
3 months ago

“As polls pour in revealing Democrats’ shrinking lead with Hispanics, the party’s headliners are embracing more restrictive immigration policies.”

Oh, so open borders wasn’t actually about compassion for POC minorities? Who would have thought, Democrats were just being cynical. And now they’re finding out that they aren’t importing blue-chip future Dem voters by the million after all, they say they’ll shut off that part of the migrant influx their polling shows is likely to be Red-leaning. Makes you wonder what else in their “social justice” ideals are also just cynical ploys for power.

Danny D
Danny D
3 months ago
Reply to  Ian_S

> Oh, so open borders wasn’t actually about compassion for POC minorities?

No, it was always about pandering to compassionate narcissists in left-wing urban circles. But to be fair, most of politics is pandering to your target audience.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
3 months ago
Reply to  Ian_S

“Makes you wonder what else in their “social justice” ideals are also just cynical ploys for power.”
Just about everything else, is my guess.

Susan Grabston
Susan Grabston
3 months ago

They do so at their peril. The Democrats considered they were safe focussing on ethnic minorities + graduate “elites” ignoring the traditional working class (the realignment). If they lose the ethnic voter they can’t command a majority and the egress is amongst the black population, as well as Latinos. RuyTexera and Shor were some of the political commentators who prophesized this outcome, but they were ignored.

Danny D
Danny D
3 months ago
Reply to  Susan Grabston

Really ethnic minorities were always more of a vehicle for pandering to graduate elites. They forgot that many minorities are working class themselves and that those minorities care much less about their minority status than they do for the situation on the ground.

Susan Grabston
Susan Grabston
3 months ago
Reply to  Danny D

Absolutely and Latinos more socially conservative compounding rhe progressive democrats woes. .

Arthur King
Arthur King
3 months ago

Increasing hatred of Christians in the Democratic party is being felt across the church in the USA. State Senator Mike McDonnell, a 40 year Irish catholic Democrat switched to the Republicans after being punished for his prolife views. Progressives drive out all transgressors while lamenting the decline in democracy. There is no room in the party for catholic Hispanics.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 months ago
Reply to  Arthur King

It’s a real shame how the word “progressive” has taken on such negative connotations.

Arthur King
Arthur King
3 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I was once a progressive. Now I loath them. Utter animus.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
3 months ago
Reply to  Arthur King

Likewise. The funny thing is that my attitudes didn’t change much; the so-called “progressives” are the ones who moved so far left that I now find myself on the right.

R Wright
R Wright
3 months ago

After 8 years of constant whining from Democrats about ‘voter suppression’ is the narrative going to finally flip once again? ‘We were always at war with Eastasia.’

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
3 months ago

A re-alignment became inevitable as soon as the Clintons switched the allegiance of the Democratic Party from labour unions to Wall Street and the suburban graduate class. All that is surprising is that it’s taken so long.

alan bennett
alan bennett
3 months ago

Are Democrats giving up on Hispanic voters? Yes, they like Labour here have pivoted to a new core voter base the Muslims.
They have a long way to go and hope voter fraud by the public sector administrator along with blacks and suburban whites will sustain them.

William Brand
William Brand
3 months ago

Both parties’ leaders are Elite whites and do not have an understanding of the lower class or of other ethnic groups.