A new report from Equis Labs highlighted reasons why Donald Trump’s appeal to Latino voters changed the political landscape in several states and brought the GOP victories in several House races in Texas and Florida.
What worries Democrats most is that those victories by Republicans in majority Latino districts came in spite of a massive effort by Democrats to get out the vote among Latino voters. The tactic worked — but not quite the way Democrats hoped.
Latino voters with low involvement in politics, many of whom didn’t vote in 2016 at all, shifted toward Trump. Driving the shift was Republican messaging on socialism and immigration that, contrary to Democratic expectations, played well with young Hispanic males, especially in Texas and Florida.
In places like Miami-Dade County in Florida and the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, that swing spiked to over 20 points. What’s more, seven of the 14 House seats that switched from Democratic to Republican control were in majority-minority districts, many of which had large Latino populations.
As we now look ahead to the midterms, it’s likely that many close races will run through states and districts with large Latino populations. Democrats would do well to address their Latino vote problem if they want to keep control of the Senate and House.
In truth, Republicans have a long way to get to parity with the Democrats on the Latino vote. Biden won fully two-thirds of the overall Latino vote and that may have proved decisive in Nevada, Georgia, and Arizona.
But Republicans could definitely take some solace in their House victories in Texas and Florida.
In Florida, Mr. Biden’s campaign, congressional candidates and Democratic super PACs set a state record for campaign spending. In the final 30 days before the general election, combined they spent over $14 million on Spanish-language radio and TV in Miami, according to Federal Election Commission reports. But by then, well over half of Latino voters in Miami had cast their ballots.
By contrast, the Trump campaign maintained a consistent line of communication with, and outreach to, the Latino community that went beyond TV advertising starting two years before the 2020 election. Its Spanish-language strategy included in-person canvassing, mail, digital advertising, newspaper ads and a network of influencers who spread disinformation and echoed Donald Trump’s talking points on digital media.
In fact, Trump’s “disinformation” on immigration resonated with many Latin voters who are middle class, hard-working, and living the American Dream. And since that’s the life that many Latinos aspire to achieve, GOP outreach helped bring many of them to choose the Republican — this time.
What about 2022? Building on past success is a necessity and Republican Latino groups like Libre Initiative, a Latino conservative advocacy group within the Koch political network, must continue to make progress.
The advantage for Republicans isn’t necessarily in numbers, but where these Latino votes can be found. They will force the Democrats to spend even more to maintain their voter share among the Latino community which benefits the Republicans all over the country.