As part of an emphasis on identity politics, many progressive Democrats have taken for granted the assumption that racial minorities — particularly Black and Hispanic Americans — will generally support their party over the GOP.
When former President Donald Trump outperformed expectations among Hispanic voters last year, however, some Democrats were finally woken up to a harsh reality — and a new report only confirms Dems’ worst fears.
Democratic rhetoric falls flat
Texas Monthly published a deep analysis on the trend of Hispanics in South Texas shifting from primarily Democratic to an increasingly Republican bloc.
Democrats often promote their political messaging to specific racial groups, but evidence shows that many Texans in the region do not identify themselves first as Hispanic but rather as an American. Many also continue to hold traditionally conservative values and have roots in the area dating back generations — if not to the time before Texas was part of the United States.
Notably, a significant number of these voters also reportedly self-identify as “white.”
Republicans are also poised to take advantage of public sentiment on divisive issues such as abortion, border security, gun rights, jobs, law enforcement, and the oil and gas industries, among others.
The overarching theme of the Texas Monthly piece is the realization that Hispanics cannot be treated as a monolithic voting bloc, as the Texas Observer documented in its coverage of the aftermath of November’s election.
“It was not going to resonate”
Some political organizers at the time complained that the Democratic Party too often attempted to use a one-size-fits-all style of messaging to Hispanic and Latino voters without consideration for nuanced differences among various communities.
For that reason, a growing number of Hispanic voters in South Texas felt as if they were being taken for granted by Democrats, which created an opportunity for Republicans already focused on the same conservative values held by many voters in the region.
Moderate U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) similarly cited the same issue in an interview with National Review last year.
“What we have to understand is that the Hispanic vote is not monolithic,” he said. “So the message that Democrats were pitching nationally, it was not going to resonate.”
Along with other areas including South Florida, Cuellar advised that Hispanics in his region “might have certain similarities but then you have to fine-tune the messaging for the people from Venezuela or people from Cuba in South Florida, which is very different from the Hispanics in South Texas.”