The story of Latino America is one of rapid growth in population, wealth and political influence.

In 2010, the Latino population was at 50.5 million, according to the Pew Research Center. By 2022 that number had grown to 63.6 million.

I was a reporter at the Los Angeles Daily News in the 1980s when demographers in that city began to understand that birth numbers in the Latino community were about to explode and remake the cultural landscape of greater Los Angeles.

Democratic pollsters have long anticipated that the Latino population bomb would mean huge gains for Democrats and a realignment in our national politics.

But demography alone is not destiny.

American politics has undergone a major reshuffling since the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009 wiped out $19 trillion of household wealth and 8.7 million jobs.

That economic downturn led to political populism on left and right, with Occupy Wall Street and the tea party.

The rise of Donald Trump and a leftward turn in the Civil Rights movement in 2013 called Black Lives Matter put us on a collision course with identity politics that erupted again this week with the resignation of Harvard’s first female Black president, Claudine Gay.

America is a vast nation with numerous political and cultural currents and crosscurrents that make it exceedingly difficult to read.

One of those currents is the attitude of Latino voters, as measured recently by two major polls.

Two new surveys of Latino voters show that at the moment they favor Donald Trump for president over Joe Biden.

Really, Republicans?:Nikki Haley's 'slavery' controversy is utter nonsense. Republicans are fools to play into it.

Both the USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll and the CNBC All-America Economic Survey found that Trump has a 5-point lead with Latino voters.

This was not the direction the wags expected nascent Latino voters to lead the country – toward the champion of disaffected white America, to the man who promised to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it.

Latinos, at the moment, support a politician who began his 2016 presidential run referring to migrants as, “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

“The Latino electorate is moving away from the aggrieved immigrant narrative favored by Democrats and toward an assimilating, working-class identity that mirrors its non-Latino counterparts,” explained Mike Madrid in a December op-ed in the Los Angeles Times.

Madrid is a longtime Republican strategist, former political director for the California Republican Party and co-founder of The Lincoln Project – no friend to Trump. “Biden, who is polling lower among Latinos than any other modern Democratic presidential candidate has at this point, can ill afford to lose any more Latinos,” he wrote.

“... The Latino vote has changed and is continuing to do so. Democrats, for their sake and the country’s, are going to have to fight for a base they have always been able to take for granted.”

One of the reasons for the shift in Latino attitudes may be that Trump’s Republican Party is not your grandfather’s Republican Party.

Trump polls well with Latinos:Univision cozies up to Trump, proving the Latino vote is very much in play in 2024

One of the strange twists in U.S. politics has been the remaking of the GOP from the party of the corporate executive in the 1980s to the party of the Americans who drive nails.

Donald Trump’s Republican Party is decidedly more working class, and that has drawn especially Latino men.

“Latinos tended to favor Democratic presidential candidates over Republican ones, but Latino men surprised pundits by more strongly supporting Donald Trump in 2020 than was expected based on his 2016 showing,” University of Arizona political scientist Lisa M. Sanchez said in a Q&A with UA News.

“Is there a Latino agenda? It is a myth that the top issue for the majority of Latinos is immigration policy. The top issue for Latinos is usually the economy. In fact, research suggests that the Latino agenda looks a lot like the agendas of any other racial or ethnic group in the U.S.

... To quote the indelicate phrase from the ‘90s: It’s the economy, stupid. In 2024, Latinos are likely to be concerned with issues of massive inflation, stagnant wages and soaring healthcare costs – all economic in nature.”

If that is the case, Joe Biden may be able to solve his Latino problem with an improving economy.

Another poll by Unidos US, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights organization, shows that by wide margins, Latinos view the Democrats as the party that shares their values.

It also shows that the two issues that most animate Latino voters are inflation and jobs/economy.

With most economic forecasters predicting an U.S. economy on the mend in 2024, Latino attitudes may well shift back to Joe Biden if they feel confident his White House will make groceries more affordable again.

The greater message is that the Latino vote is entering the mainstream of American and ethnic politics.

Meaning, from here on out, it’s very much in play.

Phil Boas is an editorial columnist with The Arizona Republic, where this column first published. Email him at phil.boas@arizonarepublic.com.

QOSHE - Why do Latinos like Trump? The answer might surprise you. - Phil Boas
menu_open
Columnists Actual . Favourites . Archive
We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

Why do Latinos like Trump? The answer might surprise you.

9 0
05.01.2024

The story of Latino America is one of rapid growth in population, wealth and political influence.

In 2010, the Latino population was at 50.5 million, according to the Pew Research Center. By 2022 that number had grown to 63.6 million.

I was a reporter at the Los Angeles Daily News in the 1980s when demographers in that city began to understand that birth numbers in the Latino community were about to explode and remake the cultural landscape of greater Los Angeles.

Democratic pollsters have long anticipated that the Latino population bomb would mean huge gains for Democrats and a realignment in our national politics.

But demography alone is not destiny.

American politics has undergone a major reshuffling since the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009 wiped out $19 trillion of household wealth and 8.7 million jobs.

That economic downturn led to political populism on left and right, with Occupy Wall Street and the tea party.

The rise of Donald Trump and a leftward turn in the Civil Rights movement in 2013 called Black Lives Matter put us on a collision course with identity politics that erupted again this week with the resignation of Harvard’s first female Black president, Claudine Gay.

America is a vast nation with numerous political and cultural currents and crosscurrents that make it exceedingly difficult........

© USA TODAY


Get it on Google Play