When it came to the recent midterm elections, the Democrats benefited mightily from what is commonly referred to as “low intensity voters.” These are voters who normally don’t bother to turn out for the midterm elections, or often even Presidential races for that matter. Groups like you voters, independent voters, and minority voters.
Especially Hispanics. Hispanics were motivated, and that motivation turned into actual votes, which helped to decide several critical House districts.Referring to Mexicans as “rapists,” and calling Honduran asylum seekers an “infestation” probably didn’t help Trump’s cause much when it came to Latino veter participation.
And according to an article today in The Hill, this trend is only going to continue, and will most likely benefit the Democrats greatly. According to the report;
“It is a very significant advantage for the Democrats going forward because the Latino population is growing,” Bowman, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told Hill.TV’s Joe Concha on “What America’s Thinking.”
“If it’s 69, 70 percent Democratic, that’s definitely a plus for the Dems,” she continued.
The key thing to note in that statement is that the Latino population is a growing population demographic, at a time when the white population of the US is stagnant, if not shrinking. And if the demographic shift continues, then each emerging Latino vote that turns Democratic, the GOP is going to have to find an offsetting vote from the current pool, since the white vote, especially the older white vote that tends to favor Republicans, isn’t growing.
Trump himself seems to be blissfully unaware of this pending disaster, which I think can be directly attributed to his mindset. After all, when Trump thinks in terms of Latinos, he thinks about it with a 70 year old mindset, you can catch that in his public utterances. When Trump speaks about Latinos, he speaks in terms of Mexican drug runners, or disdainfully about migrant farm workers. In other words, brown people who can’t vote. But the report is no speaking of legal visa card holders, or even green card permanent residents. It is speaking of US citizens of Latin descent, who have the right to vote, and exercised it.
But even more important than Trump’s perception of Latinos is the Latinos perceptions of Trump, and the GOP in general. Look at it this way. If you like Jackie Chan movies, and he comes out with one movie that you don’t like, you’re likely to write it off as a one time flop, and go to see the next Jackie Chan movie. But if your first trip to a Jackie Chan movie is a flop, how likely are you to go to the next Jackie Chan movie that comes out? Trump and the GOP put out a bomb of a movie for Latino voters, and they won’t forget it, not for a long time. And they’ll likely tell their friends.
But there was another important takeaway from the report in The Hill. This demographic is unlikely to suddenly stop growing, and as with most things numeric, the effect tends to compile, kind of like the interest you earned on the principle in your 401k plan rolling over, and earning interest itself. According to the report;
Sixty-nine percent of Latinos voted for Democratic candidates this month, while 29 percent cast votes for Republicans, according to an Edison Research survey, which was compiled by the Pew Research Center.
The poll also found that 27 percent of Latino voters said the races were their first time voting in a midterm election.
This is important for two reasons. First of all, there is the simple numeric problem. If 7 out of every 10 Latino voters breaks Democratic, there is no way in hell that the GOP can manage to scrounge together 7 new GOP voters from the existing voter pool to offset that, it just can’t be done. But second, and more importantly, is the physical aspect of the demographic growth.
In the midterms, strong Latino vote enthusiasm helped to bring Beto O’Rourke to the brink of tipping the scale on Ted Cruz. It also helped to flip at least two US House seats in Texas, as well as state seats. In Georgia, they went blue, and helped to damn near turn Stacey Abrams into the GOP’s nightmare scenario. In Arizona, they helped to sink Martha McSally’s bid to replace Jeff Slake in the Senate. And New Mexico turned blue.
These aren’t just states, they are a critical part of the GOP’s vaunted “Southern Wall,” especially electoral vote heavy Teas. And the burgeoning Latino vote is turning them purple. And it isn’t just the south that is in trouble. Dodge City, Kansas is a minority minority city with a growing Latino population, forcing the GOP to move the city’s only polling place a mile outside of town, minimizing minority voters access to vote, and it still couldn’t save Chris Kobach in the Governors race.
And pay close attention to the quote that showed that a significant number of Latino voters in the 2018 midterms were first time voters. Ted Cruz is fond of reading from Dr Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham.” In that book, the protagonist, who had never tasted green eggs and ham, knew that he hated them. That is, right up to the moment he actually tried them, then he loved them. The same thing goes for voting. Latinos who had seldom participated in the electoral process gave it a try, and it appears that they liked it just fine. Electoral participation is a way of flexing ones power in a real world sense. According to the study, the Latinos have growing political power at the ballot box, and I find it highly likely that they will want to flex those muscles in the future, for their own benefit.
So, here comes another huge, flashing red light for the GOP, and just in time for the run up to the 2020 Presidential campaign. And if the newly discovered Latino voting population liked Trump and the GOP referring to them as rapists and an infestation, then they should love watching their government fire tear gas canisters on a group of Honduran women and children desperately trying to save their own lives. Looks like a successful PR campaign to me. A successful one for the ‘democrats that is.
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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.