Hispanics sour on Biden and Democrats’ agenda as midterms loom
President Biden comfortably won the Hispanic vote in 2020 by 59 percent, according to the Pew Research Center. Yet a Quinnipiac Poll this month showed Biden’s job approval rating among Hispanics plummeted to just 28 percent. So, what happened? It’s important to know because defection of a once reliable voting bloc could signal disaster for the Democratic Party in this year’s midterm elections and, possibly, loss of majority control in the House and Senate.
From my perspective as an immigrant from Nicaragua, combined with analysis of reliable polls, what happened seems clear.
First, Hispanic voters care about the same things as most everyone else, despite contrary narratives on TV. The economy and health care consistently rank at the top of their concerns, especially given COVID-19. They’re not happy. A late 2021 report by FiveThirtyEight.com cites a Politico/Morning Consult poll showing the dip in their approval of Biden’s job performance from 60 percent to 42 percent on the economy, and 65 percent to 45 percent on his handling of the pandemic over just four months.
Latinos were disproportionately hurt by COVID, which explains a lot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), their case rates were significantly higher than Blacks, non-Hispanic whites and Asians — nearly triple the latter. Moreover, the CDC claims that racial and ethnic minority groups, overall, have been impacted the worst.
Economically, Hispanic Americans were crushed by lockdowns that impacted businesses where many of them work, such as bars, restaurants, barbershops, resorts, hotels and cafes. Though Vice President Kamala Harris was right to note that “sadly, during the course of the pandemic, one-third of our small businesses have closed,” she also supported lockdowns to contain the virus, which contributed to business closures.
Second, despite the straw man arguments in the media that bind the Latino vote to immigration and equate border security with racism, polls don’t back them up. A September 2020 Pew Research poll on top election issues among Hispanics ranked immigration eighth in importance. Even more conflicting, most U.S. Hispanics’ views on immigration are opposite of what we often hear on TV. As this month’s Quinnipiac Poll shows, Hispanics gave Biden just a 23 percent approval rating on immigration, down from 49 percent last May.
It’s not surprising. Roughly 2 million people from around the world illegally crossed our southern border in 2021 alone. Authorities stopped most of them, but hundreds of thousands were not stopped. Many underage migrants reportedly were put on “midnight runs” on airplanes to stealthily resettle them around the country, which the Biden White House has downplayed.
Of the roughly 15,000 Haitians who illegally crossed the Rio Grande and swarmed Del Rio, Texas, last year, many trekking from Chile about 5,000 miles away as immigration restrictions tightened, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas acknowledged that some 12,000 would be admitted into the U.S. to process their claims. Most probably will never leave.
Who gets hurt by open borders? U.S. Latinos, Black, brown and white. They lose jobs because of shadow economy wages often found in immigrant-heavy industries such as farming, meat packing and construction. That’s why E-Verify remains a must-have national policy.
Third, Biden’s numbers among Hispanics are plunging because many Democrats are sprinting to the left, glorifying socialism, celebrating communist Cuba, and generally leaving these voters behind.
Some, such as Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), are waking up to reject woke terms such as “Latinx,” since only about 2 percent of Latinos recognize it and 40 percent are offended by it. A 2021 Gallup poll showed that, by a roughly 2-to-1 margin, Americans believe athletes should compete according to the gender listed on their birth certificates, not their preferred gender identification, and since most Hispanics are socially conservative, it’s easy to guess where most stand on this issue.
Critical Race Theory weaved into our education system discriminates against Latinos, who identify as “white,” thereby ignoring calls for racial equality. The progressive push for late-term abortions is repulsive to most Latinos. So is skyrocketing crime, and several Democrat-led cities have moved to defund or restrict police, failing to arrest or prosecute many criminals.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) hurts Biden by association for her endless circus that embarrasses many fellow Hispanics. This includes a widely mocked staged photo shoot at the southern border; her bizarre claim that Republicans criticize her out of unsatisfied lust; and her defying mask mandates that Democrats pushed, only to test positive for COVID after partying in Miami over the holidays.
Who is funding the allegedly “pro-Hispanic” progressive positions, anyway? The Forbes Real-Time Billionaire List shows U.S. Latinos represent just a few of the country’s 700-plus influential billionaires, and those individuals aren’t associated with activism. Yet, since the 10 wealthiest Americans, worth more than a trillion dollars collectively, all are non-Hispanic white liberal mega-donors — except for Elon Musk, who donates to both major political parties — it’s easy to guess who’s funding these positions.
Many Latinos appear to have wised up to Biden, and their support for Democrats isn’t guaranteed.
Manuel A. Rosales, a Vietnam-era Army veteran, is owner of Inter-American Financial Services. He is a former deputy director of coalitions for the Republican National Committee (2009-11), former president and CEO of Caribbean Central American Action (2007-09), and former associate administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (2001-07).