- The Washington Times
Monday, December 20, 2021

Hispanics’ rejection of the transgender-friendly term “Latinx” has left-wing operatives wondering if it was a mistake to classify them as fully aligned with progressive values.

In a recent essay, Ruy Teixeira, a senior fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress, needled fellow progressives for assuming all Hispanics would support the party’s racial justice agenda. 

“It is hard to avoid the conclusion that Democrats have seriously erred by lumping Hispanics in with ‘people of color’ and assuming they embraced the activism around racial issues that dominated so much of the political scene in 2020, particularly in the summer. This was a flawed assumption,” he wrote in “The Liberal Patriot” newsletter on Substack. 

“The reality of the Hispanic population is that they are, broadly speaking, an overwhelmingly working-class, economically progressive, socially moderate constituency that cares above all, about jobs, the economy and health care,” he said.

Mr. Teixeira warned Democrats that the Hispanic constituency “does not harbor particularly radical views on the nature of American society and its supposed intrinsic racism and white supremacy. … They are instead a patriotic, upwardly mobile, working-class group with quite practical and down-to-earth concerns. Democrats will either learn to focus on that or they will continue to lose ground among this vital group of voters.”

The conservative pushback from Hispanic voters was felt in a recent Bendixen and Amandi International poll that revealed only 2% of Hispanics used the “Latinx” term while 40% were offended by it.

More troubling for liberals, recent Census Bureau data sets showed that an increase in the numbers of voters of color did not come mostly from Black voters. The spike came from Hispanic, Asian-American and mixed-race voters — groups that did not support Democrats by huge margins in recent election cycles, according to analysts.

Republicans see an opportunity to capitalize on a political shift among Hispanics. They are tailoring a national messaging campaign to Hispanics’ concerns about the economy and the rising crime.

“Hispanic voters are moving toward the Republican Party because Democrats’ reckless spending caused a massive inflation crisis,” said Mike Berg, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee that works to elect GOP candidates to the House.

Progressives’ concerns regarding the loss of Hispanic voters were echoed in a new “post-mortem” analysis of the 2016 and 2020 elections by Equis Research, a Democratic-associated Hispanic research firm. 

The report, titled “The American Dream Voter,” revealed that Democrats lost Hispanic voters, dropping from 71% voting Democratic in 2016 to 63% voting Democratic in 2020. 

There was not a significant shift among white, Black, and Asian voters between 2016 and 2020.

Other polls since the 2020 election confirm this analysis. A recent Wall Street Journal survey of Hispanic voters showed the demographic split evenly between Democrats and Republicans on a 2022 generic Congressional ballot. 

The poll also shows that in a 2024 hypothetical rematch between President Biden and former President Donald Trump, Hispanics broke for Mr. Biden by just 1 point.

Matthew Thomas, an organizer with the NYC-Democratic Socialists of America, wrote in the Aug. 16 “Vulgar Marxism” newsletter on Substack that he noticed the pro-Trump Hispanic shift in Queens. He noted that the 2020 Census Bureau data of the region showed that the once majority-white borough has more people of color living in it than ever before, particularly Hispanics and Asians. 

Despite this growth over the last decade, Mr. Thomas wrote, “That didn’t stop Donald Trump from notching the best performance by a Republican presidential candidate here in 16 years.” He added, “Only at the height of the country’s jingoistic fever in 2004 did George W. Bush manage to grind out another half-point during his re-election campaign. But Trump still beat Bush’s margin from 2000, and Biden still did worse than Al Gore.”

A survey by the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group, a bipartisan research collaboration, revealed that over 70% of Hispanic voters rated jobs, the economy, health care and the pandemic as “very important” issues. 

Additionally, Hispanic voters rated the issue of crime as more important than immigration or racial equality while largely not supporting the defunding of the police or decreasing the size of law enforcement.

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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