The GOP and Minorities Part 2: Hispanic Voters
Beginning in the 2020 presidential election, Hispanic voters were on track to become the second most dominant voters in the United States after White voters. In Suzanne Gamboa’s NBC article, she mentions key statistics from Pew Research Hispanic. From the statistics mentioned, “Hispanics are projected to be about 13.3 percent of the electorate in 2020, which would make them the largest racial or ethnic minority of the electorate for the first time,” as they have surpassed the unchanged black voter share of 12.5 percent. Considering Hispanic voters are dominant in swing states like Florida and Texas as well as many Southwestern states, it is crucial for the Republican Party to appeal to them in order to swing them over to the Republican column. Additionally, if successful in appealing to a majority of different types of Hispanic voters, the party can make states like New Mexico, Colorado, and even California more competitive in elections.
Before discussing new ways to appeal to more Hispanic voters, it is important to discern the differences between Hispanic voters, as they are anything but a monolith. Cuban Hispanic voters tend to already vote more Conservative, as they fled Cuba and raised future generations as refugees. This is great, so the GOP should continue to appeal to them. In contrast, Mexican, Latinos and Latinas from Central America, and Puerto Rican voters tend to vote for Democrats more. Despite different issues being a priority for these groups of Hispanic and Latino voters, having the Republican Party appeal to them more through policy and rhetoric will completely change the game for future elections. For example, Republicans could appeal to Latino voters from Central America by coming up with better solutions for immigration to the United States while doing a better job of condemning racism to appeal to Mexican voters.
One of the most significant issues crucial to winning over both Hispanic and Latino/Latina voters are the economy and job creation. According to Daniel Garza, president of The LIBRE Initiative, a Hispanic center-right organization, Hispanic voters are pro-growth and entrepreneurial. In past elections, the Republican Party has already been competitive with Hispanic voters, being able to garner over 40% of the vote consistently in presidential elections. However, President Trump was able to improve on his outreach and appeal to Hispanic voters in the 2020 election through cutting taxes for the middle class, overseeing a great and fast-growing economy before COVID-19, and implementing different pro-business policies by removing some restrictions. In fact, President Trump was able to win 41 to 47 percent of the Hispanic vote in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, traditionally a Democratic stronghold. Additionally, he won over 45 percent of the Hispanic vote in Florida in 2020 compared to just 34 percent in 2016, effectively tripling his margin of victory in the state. As long as the Republican Party continues to push economic and job growth policies, they will eventually be on track to win a majority of the Hispanic vote share in the future.
Changing the rhetoric and policies on immigration and racism are also crucial to winning over Hispanic and Latino/Latina voters. According to an American Progress Action article by Haplin, Gutierrez, and Dr. Nuño-Perez, 21 percent of these voters believe that mitigating racism is a crucial issue along with 16 percent who want comprehensive immigration reform policies. If Republicans can implement policies and rhetoric that show more friendliness towards immigrants and make it easier to become a United States citizen, they will win over plenty of Hispanic voters. Democrats have had plenty of opportunities to reform immigration and mitigate racism against the Hispanic community, but have done very little to help them.
Other prevalent changes that Hispanics and Latino/Latinas- including Conservative ones- want are effective healthcare reform, raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, improving K-12 education, and more. If the Republican Party is to win over more Hispanics with their interests, they must not only implement policies that help them but also get them out to vote for them more. Currently, many Hispanics-especially Puerto Ricans- believe that “political parties like to campaign for Puerto Rican votes, but they don’t really deliver on their campaign promises in [their] community.” In addition, only 46 percent of registered Hispanic voters have gotten contact from a political party group-with 23 percent being Republican-and a dismal 20 percent of unregistered Hispanic voters being contacted by any political party. This explains why only slightly more than half of Hispanics are voting in elections. It is crucial for more people to participate in our democracy, and Republicans can capitalize on this opportunity to change their platform to appeal to more Hispanic voters, especially the unregistered eligible voters.