How bad is the Democrats’ Latino voter problem?

We have noted the rapid decline of the Democrats’ popularity among Latinos. A group (if it makes sense to refer to such a diverse collection of voters as such) that has strongly supported Democrats until recently now is evenly split in its backing of the two parties, according to recent polls.

Ruy Teixeira argues that the news on Latino voters is even worse than now perceived. It’s noteworthy that Teixeira says this. In 2004, he, along with John Judis, wrote The Emerging Democratic Majority. They predicted that the rise of America’s Latino population would confer clear majority status on Democrats in the coming decades.

To be fair to Teixeira, I should point out, as Kyle Smith trenchantly does, that in 2004 “the Democratic Party was not yet a cult of lunatics dedicated to explaining that men can give birth, gigantic new federal spending programs reduce inflation, the comptroller of the currency should be someone who believes in ‘ending banking as we know it,’ energy production should be re-outsourced to Saudi Arabia and Latinos should be referred to as ‘Latinx.’”

In any event, Teixeira now sees big trouble ahead for Democrats. He offers numerous recent data points to support his pessimism (Teixeira is a Democrat). In his view:

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. 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.

I agree. However, it doesn’t follow that the Democrats are in as bad a shape as Teixeira now supposes. The data points he relies on all reflect the current state of play, including an economy in which Latinos (like many of the rest of us) are being hammered by inflation, and the pandemic.

With Joe Biden as unpopular as he is with the electorate as a whole, it’s not surprising that he’s somewhat underwater with Latino voters and breaks even in a hypothetical rematch with Donald Trump.

In a better economy and with a less feeble president, I expect that Democrats would still do pretty well with Latinos, though not as well as in the past. The Dems’ wokeness, radicalism, and disdain for America and for large numbers of Americans (if not concealed better) would still count against them. However, their “progressive” economic policies and desire to expand free health care would play well.

Teixeira concludes that unless Democrats focus on Latinos are they are — a patriotic, upwardly mobile, working class group with quite practical and down to earth concerns — “they will continue to lose ground among this vital group of voters.” I don’t see Democrats becoming well aligned with Latinos “as they are” in the near future, so I agree that they face an ongoing problem with Latinos. However, I do expect their numbers with this group to improve, assuming the economy does and the pandemic recedes.

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