For the last several presidential election cycles, media messaging has been consistent: candidates who capture the Hispanic vote will win.
The suggestion, often unstated, was that GOP candidates need to promote an illegal alien amnesty, pledge to curtail interior enforcement and promote expanded immigration. In 2022, however, Hispanics could indeed hold the key to a GOP victory, but not because they endorse amnesty.
Hispanics, realizing that an open border creates job competition, classroom chaos and disrupts their communities, oppose President Biden’s immigration agenda.
The Hispanic shift toward Republicans has been building slowly, but steadily. In 2004 and 2016, Republican Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump scored well among Hispanics, 40 percent and 38 percent, respectively. Trump’s 2020 total was almost 10 points higher than his 2016 tally. But in the 20 months since Biden’s inauguration, the White House’s open borders agenda has accelerated the Hispanic shift to the GOP. Remember that Hispanics who vote are U.S. citizens, and their hopes and concerns are largely identical to other Americans.
In his new book, “Political Migrants: Hispanic Voters on the Move,” Jim Robb wrote that Biden’s refusal to enforce border laws, and instead to opt for catch-and-release, has been disastrous for all Americans, but especially legal immigrants and the 40-plus million American-born Hispanics.
This fall, indications are that Hispanics will vote Republican at a higher rate than they did in 2020: 41 percent plan to vote Republican against 45 percent who will support Democrats, with others undecided. Since only 29 percent of Hispanics voted Republican in the 2018 mid-term election, 41 percent would be a significant GOP move toward capturing an important demographic. In fact, 41 percent would be the highest mid-term election share Republicans have ever received from Hispanics.
On important life-affecting issues, Hispanics side with the GOP. Among likely Hispanic voters, 52 percent believe the government is doing “too little to reduce illegal border crossings and visitor overstays.” Only 15 percent believe the government is doing “too much.” Hispanic voters overwhelmingly agree that chain migration should be limited to spouses and minor children, that Congress should mandate E-Verify which helps assure that only citizens and lawfully present foreign nationals can hold jobs, that businesses should raise wages to attract American workers before hiring foreign nationals, and that legal immigration should be reduced from its current 1 million-plus annually inflow.
Other poll findings may vary, but tangible evidence exists that the Hispanic shift to the GOP is real and may represent the difference in November. In a special June election to determine who would represent Texas’ 34th congressional district in the illegal immigration-besieged Rio Grande Valley, Mayra Flores defeated Democrat Dan Sanchez. A citizen since age 14 and married to a border patrol officer, Flores represents a burgeoning breed of Hispanic officeholders who promote strict border enforcement.
Flores is the first Republican to represent her historically blue district in 150 years, and the first woman born in Mexico ever elected to Congress. Just weeks after her victory, Flores called on her colleagues to impeach Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for his abject failures to enforce immigration laws which have caused the ongoing border crisis.
Texas gubernatorial challenger Robert O’Rourke, trailing Republican incumbent Greg Abbott, explained why Hispanics have abandoned Democrats. O’Rourke, harkening back to 2020, blamed Biden who “…didn’t spend a dime or day in the Rio Grande Valley or really anywhere in Texas….”
Flores will be on the November ballot when she’ll face Democrat Vicente Gonzales who has consistently voted to support Biden’s open borders policy. Political forecasters maintain that the 34th still leans blue. But a Flores victory would confirm that the Hispanic trend to red is real.
Copyright 2022 Joe Guzzardi, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at [email protected].