AMAC Exclusive – By Shane Harris
Following a spate of indictments against Donald Trump, the mainstream media is now fretting that Democrats’ transparently partisan prosecutions of the former president may further alienate Latino voters, many of whom fled countries where political persecution is the norm.
Immediately after pleading not guilty last month to charges stemming from his alleged mishandling of classified documents, President Trump made a surprise stop at Café Versailles, an iconic Cuban restaurant in Miami that has long been a popular gathering spot for the exile community. There, he was greeted with an outpouring of support from a largely Cuban crowd.
The scene prompted MSNBC host Chuck Todd to declare, “We’ve not seen something like this in the United States before,” sparking a several-minute rant about “conservative MAGA Hispanics.”
CNN host Jake Tapper was similarly apoplectic, demanding that the network’s control room stop showing footage of Trump surrounded by cheering Cuban-Americans. “I don’t need to see any more of that. He’s trying to turn this into a spectacle, a campaign ad. That’s enough of that,” Tapper grumbled.
Todd’s and Tapper’s reactions captured the horror of the left as they began to realize that their attempts to turn Trump into a criminal were actually turning him into a martyr to many in the Latino community – a voting bloc that has moved rightward in recent cycles.
While the left had hoped that Latinos would liken Trump to corrupt politicians in the countries they or their families immigrated from, it instead appears that many view Trump as the hero of this saga, and the Biden administration and Democrat prosecutors as the corrupt figures.
The days that followed Trump’s Café Versailles visit saw similar handwringing from the mainstream media. An NBC News article lamented the success of Trump’s “long game” with Latino voters – in other words, the fact that his policies while in office won him many supporters in heavily Hispanic areas like Miami-Dade County and South Texas. A New York Times piece, meanwhile, accused Trump of “raising the specter of Latin American corruption.”
The clear insinuation behind both the NBC piece and the Times piece is that Trump is somehow duping vast swaths of Hispanic Americans into believing an ostensibly false story about the political nature of the charges against him. Rather than considering that Latinos may be looking at the situation themselves and making their own judgements, the view on the left seems to be that any support for Trump is because many Latinos are too naïve to see through the deception.
This patronizing view of Latino voters is one that has become all too familiar on the left in recent years – and is one that is likely costing Democrats at the ballot box.
Last August, for instance, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus launched a series of videos aimed at shoring up the Latino vote ahead of the midterms called “Our Lucha” or “Our Struggle.” But many Latinos slammed the content as demeaning and offensive, including for labeling any conservative Hispanics as “crazy.” One video asks whether viewers “have a superstition-loving Abuela or a crazy tio who’s always saying crazy things about stuff he heard en la radio.”
Unsurprisingly given the tone-deaf nature of this and other outreach efforts, Democrats continued to struggle with Latino voters last year. In Florida, heavily Hispanic Miami-Dade County – typically a Democrat stronghold – went for Governor Ron DeSantis and Senator Marco Rubio by double digits.
Exit polling conducted by CNN showed that while Democrats won Hispanic women by a whopping 47 points nationally in 2018, that advantage was trimmed to 33 points in 2022. Among Hispanic men, the shift was even more stark – Democrats’ 29-point advantage in 2018 shrunk to just eight points in 2022.
2020 saw similar strategies and similar results for Democrats. Ahead of the election, Trump and Republicans hammered home messaging about Democrats’ self-professed socialist ambitions. With many Hispanics having fled failed socialist countries, the prospect of a bigger, more powerful federal government understandably drove Hispanic voters away from the Democrat ticket.
The media again frantically tried to counter this effective strategy, accusing Republicans of spreading “disinformation” in Hispanic communities. The New York Times published an article declaring that Trump was lying and Democrats “don’t fit the definition” of socialists – despite the fact that prominent Democrats like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders call themselves “democratic-socialists.” Reuters, meanwhile, cited a “misinformation campaign” which “falsely described presidential candidate Joe Biden as a socialist.”
Once more the media implied that Latino voters are incapable of distinguishing reality from falsehood, and socialism from capitalism. To them, there is no other possible explanation for the significant increase in Latino support for Trump from 2016 to 2020.
Democrat elites have showed a woeful inability to understand the voting bloc that was supposed to give them a foolproof and permanent electoral majority. Now, as the reaction to the Trump prosecutions has made clear, it may be Republicans who will soon be riding a wave of Hispanic support to victory at the ballot box.
Shane Harris is a writer and political consultant from Southwest Ohio. You can follow him on Twitter @ShaneHarris513.