The news keeps getting worse for Democrats across the U.S. For decades, Hispanic voters have traditionally aligned with the Democratic Party, despite years of broken promises on key issues like immigration reform. But in the 2016 and 2020 elections, we witnessed large numbers of Hispanic voters shift toward Republican President Donald Trump, who drove a striking wedge in the historically left-leaning voting bloc the second time around. Since then, Republicans have continued to make gains right in the Democrats’ own backyard. It looks like Latinos are leaving the Democratic party in droves. Here’s what the latest numbers say.
The most recent sign of peril for Democrats heading into this year’s midterm elections came last week in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley where Republican Mayra Flores flipped a Congressional seat held by Democrats for over a century. “Mayra Flores is testament to what we’ve been saying since 2020 and even before then— that the Hispanic vote is moving to the Republican party,” said Macarena Martinez, a spokesperson for the Republican National Committee in Texas. Texas’ 34th District is the second largest Hispanic-majority district in America.
Ms. Martinez is right. In the 2020 presidential election, support for Donald Trump was up 8% among Latino voters versus his historic win in 2016. Democrats have taken the Hispanic vote for granted for years, and Latinos across the country have started to signal their discontent.
Latino Americans, like all Americans, care most about kitchen table issues that affect our daily lives. Things like the cost of gasoline, the price of milk, eggs, and beef, higher electricity bills, and sky-rocketing rent are making all voters, especially Latino Americans, uncomfortable with Democrats’ handling of the economy. In fact, a May 2022 poll from Democratic-aligned Future Majority showed that “inflation” – which is up nearly 10% over the last year – was the number one issue for Latino voters. The poll was conducted in the key battleground states of Arizona, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.
Even in places like Florida, where Hispanic voters make up 17% of the electorate, Republicans are making big gains. For the first time in history, the state’s Republican voter registration surpassed Democratic voter registration, and then boasted a 100,000+ voter advantage. In Florida, “unemployment is lower than the national average, our schools are open, there are no lockdowns, and there are no masks. Voters recognize the governor [Ron DeSantis] is a champion for families and businesses alike,” Florida Republican Party executive director Helen Aguirre Ferré said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “Our voter registration numbers are impressive, but a 363,000 net change? That is unprecedented,” she said.
Congressional Republicans are keenly aware of this historic shift and are seeking to capitalize on it. Last month, Reps. Mario Diaz-Bolars (R-FL) and Tony Gonzales (R-TX) launched the Hispanic Leadership Trust, a House GOP campaign arm whose mission is to recruit and elect conservative Hispanics to Congress.
“We’re talking life-long Democrats that feel abandoned by this administration,” Gonzales said. “That’s not enough for them to come over to the Republican Party. We have to show up. We have to deliver and we have to offer a different solution.”
Indeed, the Republican National Committee, Congressional Republicans, Republican Governors, and grassroots conservatives across the country are spreading the message of more freedom, jobs, fiscal responsibility, cutting spending, reigning in government, and traditional family values. This is the formula for success, and when you look at the alternative, as Rep. Gonzales says: “Democrat policies have failed time and time again. Hispanic communities have had enough.”
Bob Carlstrom is President of AMAC Action