Remember this conversation from just a few weeks ago? Seems Jonah Goldberg will get that last laugh since he thought Trump's election was "a remote possibility" but he posed the question "What if Trump were re-elected thanks to the support from Hispanics?"
Here's what Goldberg wrote on September 11. "The biggest worry for the Biden campaign is that Trump is actually leading among Hispanics in Florida, a crucial state for Democrats and an absolute must-win for Republicans."
The President did do well with Hispanic voters in Florida in route to winning the state. And he also did well in other states, particularly Texas. It doesn't look like that will be quite enough for him to win back the White House. but President Trump did see a sizable increase in votes from Americans who identify as Hispanic.
Of course we are still waiting for the final decision on who the next president will be. But Goldberg's cautions to not assume all Hispanics would vote the same way was nearly spot on regardless of the final outcome. In fact, main news media reporting and exit polling by the Associated Press reports that "Mr. Trump experienced the second-best performance among Hispanics since Ronald Reagan."
Political pundits have told the public for decades that candidates who run on immigration enforcement and border security, oppose guest worker programs used to displace American workers, and don't support major increases in annual legal admissions will not perform well with Hispanic voters. We have consistently pointed out that this is not the case.
Isvett Verde writes in the NYT, that Hispanics are far too diverse as a demographic to be squeezed into a neat and convenient voting cohort where media pundits love to insist the voting interests of this group are primarily driven by identity politics. Verde, an Hispanic herself, reminds that "Latinos, like all Americans, are motivated by the issues that affect them directly...jobs and the economy."
I think this makes a lot of sense for most of us, but I will push back on Verde's point where she also asserts that "Many Democrats act as if Latinos only care about immigration policy" as if this is a fallacy. She based her claim that immigration is not that important to Hispanics on a survey taken by Unidos (formerly La Raza), a group known to advocate for amnesty and major increases in immigration flows into the United States . But polls, not just surveys, such as Harvard-Harris and Rasmussen, show that immigration is an issue of great concern to Hispanics.
And while immigration was largely missing from the presidential campaign narratives of both candidates, what IS clear is that being Hispanic or Latino did not discourage a significant number of native Spanish-speakers across generations to vote for Trump, even in southern border counties of Texas where immigration is always on the minds of residents, immigrant and U.S-born alike.
So regardless of the election results, the new president needs to be mindful of the lessons Hispanic Americans are teaching about who they really are and what they value most about being participants in our democracy.
Lowering immigration levels supports jobs and our economy by providing a critically-important balance between the forces of labor and financial capital. Higher wages that result from a tighter labor market matter to every American regardless of socio-cultural identity.
Setting reasonable and sustainable levels of immigration benefits all of us and NumbersUSA will continue fighting to that purpose no matter who is in the White House in 2021.
CHRISTY SHAW is the Member Services Manager for NumbersUSA
Updated: Wed, Dec 16th 2020 @ 12:39pm EST