Hispanics find their place in the GOP
What do you think of America? Why do you want to live in America? What are your hopes for your family in America?
Answers to these questions shed light on why many Hispanics increasingly identify with the Republican Party. They have seen how leaders who arrogantly think they know better actually undermine individual freedoms, destroy economic opportunity and undermine what they want for their country.
The 2020 election provides good examples. Biden’s 21-point margin among Hispanics (59% to 38%) was a significant drop from Clinton’s 38-point margin in 2016 (66% to 28%), reports the Pew Research Center. In 2020, Hispanics ranked education and health care among the top issues.
Issues such as the quality of education, parental involvement and school choice work against Democrats because they are too beholden to teachers’ unions. Hispanics prefer a greater role for themselves in raising their children. Hispanics increasingly view greater school choice, including the establishment of charter schools, as preferable to the traditional public school with little flexibility.
Health care also follows the contrast between Republicans and Democrats. Democrats continue to advocate for a government-provided single-payer system, while Hispanics increasingly prefer being able to choose their own doctor and health care plan. Hispanics see quality and choice in health care as favoring the GOP.
These big government programs and the advocacy of socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) and hardline Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.), who appear to be driving the Democratic agendas, scare people who know the failures of socialism . Hispanics have seen enough of the false promises of socialism, enough of the disasters introduced by the elite “vanguard of the proletariat”.
They’ve heard it all before. Give up a little freedom today in exchange for a little more government promises of more welfare and “free” largesse. So give up a little more freedom tomorrow, and the day after, until the public no longer has the freedom to give in return for largesse that never quite materializes.
The promises are illusory, but the loss of freedom is all too real.
As of 2020, polls now show inflation and the economy as their top concern, reports Axios-Ipsos. Inflation hits the lower middle classes and the poor the worst. As of mid-2022, only 27% of Hispanics approved of Biden’s economic policies, significantly lower than the national average of 32%, reports Quinnipiac University. Hispanics feel Republicans are correct in attributing the cause of inflation to runaway federal spending and restrictions on national energy production.
Accordingly, the drop in Biden’s approval rating among Hispanics from 55% just four months into his presidency to just 26% in May 2022 in Quinnipiac polls, is unsurprising. Biden is now less popular among Hispanics than any other demographic.
Another factor is that Democrats generally take Hispanic voters for granted in two ways, as illustrated by Hispanic Republican Mayra Flores’ 2022 special election victory along the Texas border in a predominantly Hispanic district. First, Democrats simply assume that Hispanics will vote Democratic. Second, Democrats pander to Hispanic American citizens, believing they automatically favor lax immigration enforcement, so a virtual no-border will appeal to Hispanic voters. These are clearly false assumptions. Flores campaigned against being “taken for granted” and against presidential orders that “weaken border security”.
Declining public safety is of particular concern to Hispanics seeking upward mobility. Perceived support by Democratic leaders for “defunding the police” and not detaining violent arrestees (“capture and release”) is frowned upon.
Like any demographic group, Hispanics do not form a unitary block. But, generally, Hispanics want a free country in which they can prosper as they please.
This is especially true for Hispanics in Central and South American dictatorships, such as Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. These victims of communism and authoritarianism, many of whom live in South Florida, are particularly offended by weak foreign policy and the recent lifting of restrictions on Cuba and Venezuela. In a 2020 Pew Research Center study, 58% of Cubans identified as Republicans, and 38% as Democrats.
At the end of the 1787 constitutional convention, Benjamin Franklin was asked what form of government the Framers had created. He answered: “A republic, if you can keep it.”
Hispanics have seen and often experienced the inevitable failure of the heavenly siren song of unlimited government – the song that draws democratic republics into the abyss of government control of its once free citizens. So, Hispanics are willing to stick with Franklin and the Framer republic of limited government and individual freedom, saying “no thanks” to the siren song of socialism; instead of saying “I choose freedom”.
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen served in Congress from 1989 to 2019. She is the first Hispanic woman elected to the United States House of Representatives