Saturday, June 15, 2024

GOP’s Misguided Understanding of Latino Voters


Jeb Bush believes that in order to win over Latinos in the coming 2016 election Republicans should embrace higher levels of immigration and in turn, Latinos will move over to the GOP camp. In exchange for supporting higher levels of immigration, Bush and other Republicans in the 2016 GOP presidential field reason that Latinos will support their agenda of supply-side economics of deregulation, tax cuts and a scaling back of social safety net programs like social security and Medicare.

On Sunday, in response to Hillary Clinton’s presidential announcement, Jeb Bush tweeted “Merecemos mejor que Hillary. Si usted quiere detenerla, únase ahora.”  The English version of his tweet, released just prior to Clinton’s 2016 video says the same, “We deserve better than Hillary. If you’re committed to stopping her, add your name now.”

Yet the fact that most Latinos are not single-issue voters and cast their ballots along class and socio-economic lines rather than demographic characteristics seems lost in Republican thought and rhetoric . According to a study conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, 60% of Latinos do not believe that hard work is a guarantee of success and 72% believe that the economy is stacked against them. Rather than treat Latinos as a monolithic voting bloc, any candidate seeking the Latino vote would be wise to address other key issues such as the Latino community’s economic anxieties, access to education, and social mobility.

Henry Olsen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and other prominent scholars have noted that even if you believe that Latino voters will not be the key to winning the presidency in 2016, one thing is certain, the GOP will have a hard time regaining the White House without winning over more working-class and lower to middle income voters.