Bernie Sanders’s big victory in Nevada was powered by the Latino vote. The socialist claimed 53 percent of it.
Sanders didn’t do nearly as well with African-Americans and whites. If Hispanics had voted like these other two groups, Sanders would not be riding so high. His victory would have resembled the more modest wins in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Mark Krikorian sums up what the Nevada results and other evidence tell us about Latino Democrats. They are “lopsidedly on the left, disproportionately likely to be hostile to capitalism and favor big government, gun control, environmental regulation.”
As for immigration, it’s worth noting that Bernie Sanders has been one of the less radical Democrats when it comes to the illegal kind. Krikorian reminds us that a 2015 interview with Ezra Klein, Sanders said: “Open borders? No, that’s a Koch brothers proposal.” Sanders added:
It would make everybody in America poorer — you’re doing away with the concept of a nation state, and I don’t think there’s any country in the world that believes in that. If you believe in a nation state or in a country called the United States or U.K. or Denmark or any other country, you have an obligation in my view to do everything we can to help poor people. . . .
You know what youth unemployment is in the United States of America today? If you’re a white high school graduate, it’s 33 percent, Hispanic 36 percent, African American 51 percent. [Note: This was pre-Trump] You think we should open the borders and bring in a lot of low-wage workers, or do you think maybe we should try to get jobs for those kids?
I think from a moral responsibility we’ve got to work with the rest of the industrialized world to address the problems of international poverty, but you don’t do that by making people in this country even poorer.
These days, Sanders takes the stock Democratic position on immigration. However, it’s clear that Sanders didn’t blow away his Nevada rivals for the Latino vote because of his position on immigration. He blew them away because of his socialist positions.
To be sure, not all Latinos in Nevada and elsewhere are Democrats. However, most do identify as Dems. Thus, the extreme leftism of this growing bloc of voters is alarming.
Republicans who view Latinos as conservative at root and capable of being won over if only the GOP would moderate its positions on immigration should think again. The Sanders experience suggests that a big portion of the Latino population is socialist at root and perhaps less concerned about immigration policy than many suppose.