Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Class and the Hispanic Vote

The Democrats will continue to have problems with the Hispanic vote until they face the fact that the Hispanic vote is basically a working class vote, not a "people of color" or "marginalized persons" vote. Gerald Seib of the Wall Street Journal has a good column on this today where he sketches the basic contours of the situation.
"Democrats are wondering whether they have a problem with Latino voters. What they actually might have is a problem with working-class voters.
The concern began growing after former President Donald Trump made inroads with Latinos in the 2020 presidential election. Data compiled by Catalist, a Democratic election-data firm, showed that, while Democrat Joe Biden still carried the Latino vote comfortably, Mr. Trump did eight points better [16 margin points--RT] among Latinos in 2020 than he did four years earlier.
Further research by the Pew Research Center suggested Mr. Trump did better among Latino men, and did “substantially better” among those without a college education....
The burning question for the party is why there might be some erosion. Finding the answer starts with understanding that the Latino vote, particularly as it grows in size, isn’t monolithic. There are big differences in political attitudes among Latinos depending on their country of origin, whether they are first- or second-generation Americans, and, perhaps above all, their level of education....
Within this picture of diversity, there are emerging signs that the most important political division among Latinos is the same one seen among white voters: the split between white-collar voters with a college education and working-class voters without one.
As the importance of better-educated, higher-income voters has grown within the Democratic party, it has found its grip loosening on the working-class Americans who once formed the backbone of the party. Such voters, whether white or Latino, tend to tilt more conservative culturally, have been especially hurt by shutdowns of economic activity during the Covid-19 pandemic, and are deeply concerned by job stability in a changing economy. Immigration policy doesn’t appear to be as big a factor in political thinking among such Latinos as traditionally assumed, most analysts say.
Working-class Latino men, in particular, appear to be behaving politically more like working-class white men, among whom Republicans have made big inroads. “The question arises: Why would middle-aged, middle-income Latino males with less than a college education behave radically differently from white males similarly situated?” asks Roberto Suro, a professor at the University of Southern California and a longtime analyst of Latino voting trends....
Clearly, Democrats can’t simply take the Latino vote for granted. They also may find that if they shore up weakness among working-class voters generally, they will do the same with Latino voters."
That is the correct conclusion, currently underappreciated among Democrats.

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