The Left Lost Hispanic Voters When It Chose To Be The Party Of White Woman's Instagram
Making the wrong bet
The latest Quinnipiac poll numbers are out, and while this point from Giancarlo Sopo isn’t their top headline, it really ought to be — and it should terrify Democrats:
Jorge Bonilla of the Media Research Center went on a long thread detailing a number of the factors driving poor Democratic choices that led to this point, which is worth reading in its entirety,
Giancarlo Sopo @GiancarloSopo🚨🚨🚨 The latest Quinnipiac poll finds Joe Biden with a 26% approval rating among Hispanics — lower than his rating among whites. Even if you think it's off 10 points, it is a nightmare scenario for Democrats. https://t.co/RdoYxSKNUz
One aspect that shouldn’t be underrated is this: that Latino-interest media gave Democrats a constantly renewed false perspective on the relative priority of immigration, and that having a soft immigration policy was an unquestionably good way to reach Hispanic voters.
This also happened to be something that the establishment GOP bought into as well, most notoriously in the post-2012 autopsy report:
For years, smart analysts and consultants have maintained that the natural location of Hispanic was within the Republican tent. They also maintained, despite evidence to the contrary, that hardline policies and aggressive rhetoric about immigration policies was a key barrier to reaching these voters. Despite one indication after another that Hispanic voters do not view themselves as closely connected to the immigrant experience, and that their priorities were the same economic, education, health care, crime, and security concerns shared by most American voters, politicians continued to adopt this false frame of what mattered most.
A candidate who rejected this frame, as Donald Trump did, ultimately performed far better than anyone expected with Hispanics for that very reason. And lower down from the presidential, the performance of GOP politicians who paired their focus on kitchen table concerns with an attitude toward Hispanic voters that felt less like outreach and more like talking to any constituent reaped benefits at the ballot box.
This development belied the assumptions post-2016 that many observers had about Trump’s success: That it depended on a rapidly diminishing group of elderly voters who would soon depart the scene without being replaced by anyone new. This thought process suggested Trump’s coalition was a temporary thing, a bet on a declining stock, and that the old “bitter clingers” would depart the stage soon enough, with a natural leftist coalition ready to replace it.
This has quite obviously turned out not to be true.
There’s one more aspect of this that should not go unappreciated: The Left’s aggressive shift on culture war issues is absolutely a factor in the Hispanic move to the right. And this is important because it raises the potential that Democrats have exchanged their coalition of the ascendant, the demographic destiny that once was their guiding light, for a coalition of well-educated suburban white women whose cultural priorities look more like Wendy Davis and less like any Hispanic mother.
Comedian Bo Burnham’s special last year, “INSIDE”, contains this song that summarizes the priorities of this electoral base better than any focus group:
This same set of people probably thought that it was a good thing to threaten boycotts of Goya, while going after those awful border patrol agents whipping innocent migrants on the border. For shame! Good old Joe Biden promised he’d bring them to justice.
Well, about that:
The real question for Democrats is whether this White Woman’s Instagram Coalition they’ve created has any place for the pro-life Hispanic mom. If it doesn’t, they’ll be the ones who look like they made the wrong bet.
The Transom is a reader-supported publication. Please consider becoming a paid subscriber!