Aaron Zitner at the WSJ has a good article on GOP-shifting Hispanics in eastern PA, the locus of Hispanic growth in the state. The analysis rings some of the themes familiar from my recent Hispanic voters Substack post (linked to below).
“You had a set of Latino voters who weren’t especially partisan and who had seen it as socially unacceptable to vote for Trump in 2016,” said Carlos Odio of Democratic-aligned Equis Research, which conducted surveys and focus groups to understand the shift. “‘My friends and family will be mad at me if I do this.’ You need a justification to do it.”
“The economy, the issue on which they trusted Trump, unlocked the door to embracing him,” Mr. Odio said.
At the same time, many Latino voters came to view the Democratic Party as untethered from their top concerns—unsupportive of law enforcement, too lax on border security and too focused on racial disparities, said Ruy Teixeira, a demographics expert and co-editor of The Liberal Patriot newsletter. Among other things, this brought the GOP new votes from Hispanic voters who have a conservative bent but hadn’t acted on it, he said.
“I think the bloom is off the rose for Democrats in terms of having an automatic pass from Hispanics,” said Mr. Teixeira. “They’re more suspicious and less sure that the Democratic Party is on their side.”...
Mr. Trump improved his 2016 showing among Latino voters in the rural Rio Grande Valley and big-city Philadelphia and the Bronx borough of New York—as well as in smaller cities. Reading is one of Pennsylvania’s poorest communities and home to a large concentration of Hispanic residents—two qualities that traditionally would make it a secure Democratic stronghold. The city’s tidy row houses, which run for blocks, sometimes display the flag of Puerto Rico or a Latin American nation. Some 69% of city residents are Hispanic, a larger share than in any other Pennsylvania municipality.
Mr. Trump won only 27% of the vote here, but that was nearly 8 points more than in 2016, matching Catalist’s assessment of the national trend. As a result, Mr. Biden won the city with about 4,000 fewer votes than Mrs. Clinton had—a meaningful change in a state that he carried by just over 80,000 votes....
To Wes Anderson, a Republican political strategist, the GOP would make a mistake in assuming it can hold on to the Latino voters who moved toward the party in 2020. But he believes Democrats have made the job easier with policies on border security, law enforcement and racial disparities that some Latino voters think are too liberal.
Mr. Teixeira said the shift was a significant problem for the Democratic Party, challenging a central assumption that the party could rely on strong support from minority groups to counteract its weakened hold among white, working-class voters."