Hispanics find home in GOP

Rep. Mayra Flores (R-Texas) addresses reporters during a press event outside the Capitol Steps on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 after being sworn in. She’s the first Mexican-born member to serve in the House.
Greg Nash
Rep. Mayra Flores (R-Texas) addresses reporters during a press event outside the Capitol Steps on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 after being sworn in. She’s the first Mexican-born member to serve in the House.

What do you think of America? Why do you want to live in America? What are your hopes for your family in America? 

The answers to these questions provide insights into why many Hispanics are increasingly identifying with the Republican Party. They’ve seen how leaders who arrogantly think they know better than them actually weaken individual freedoms, destroy economic opportunities, and damage what they want for their country.      

The 2020 election provides good examples. Biden’s 21-point margin among Hispanics (59 percent to 38 percent) was a significant drop from Clinton’s 38-point margin in 2016 (66 percent to 28 percent), reports Pew Research Center. In 2020, Hispanics listed education and health care as top issues. 

Issues like education quality, parental involvement and school choice work against Democrats because they are overly beholden to teacher unions. Hispanics prefer a greater role for themselves in the education of their children. Hispanics increasingly view greater school choice, including the establishment of charter schools, as preferable to the traditional public school with little flexibility.  

Health care similarly tracks the contrast between Republicans and Democrats. Democrats continue advocating for a government-provided, single payer system, while Hispanics increasingly prefer their ability to choose their own doctor and health care plan. Hispanics see quality and choice in health care as favoring the GOP.  

These big government programs and the advocacy of socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt,) and radical Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who appear to be driving the Democrat agendas, scare folks who are familiar with the failures of socialism. Hispanics have seen enough of the false promises of socialism, enough of the disasters ushered in by the elite “vanguard of the proletariat”. 

 They’ve heard it all before. Give up a little freedom today in return for a little more government promises of more welfare and ‘free’ largesse. Then give up a little more freedom tomorrow, and the next day, until the public has no more freedom to give in return for largesse that never quite materialize. 

The promises are illusory, but the loss of freedom is all too real. 

Since 2020, polls now show inflation and the economy as their most significant concern, reports Axios-Ipsos. Inflation strikes the lower middle-class and poor the worst. In mid-2022, only 27 percent of Hispanics approved of Biden’s economic policies, substantially lower than the 32 percent national average, reports Quinnipiac University. Hispanics have the sense that Republicans are correct in attributing the cause of inflation to runaway federal spending and restrictions on domestic energy production. 

Accordingly, the drop in Biden’s approval rating among Hispanics from 55 percent just four months into his presidency to a mere 26 percent in May 2022 in Quinnipiac polls, is not surprising. Biden is now less popular among Hispanics than any other demographic group. 

Another factor is that Democrats generally take Hispanic voters for granted in two ways, as illustrated by the 2022 special election victory of Hispanic Republican Mayra Flores along the Texas border in an overwhelmingly Hispanic district. First, Democrats simply assume Hispanics will vote Democrat. Second, Democrats pander to Hispanic American citizens, believing they automatically favor lax immigration enforcement, so that a virtual non-border will appeal to Hispanic voters. These are clearly false assumptions. Flores campaigned against being “taken for granted” and against presidential orders that “weaken border security”.    

The decline in public safety is of particular concern to Hispanics seeking upward mobility. Perceived Democrat leadership support of “defund the police” and non-detention of violent arrestees (“catch and release”) are viewed unfavorably.   

 Like any demographic group, Hispanics are not a unitary bloc. But, generally, Hispanics want a free country in which they can prosper as they choose. 

This is particularly true for Hispanics from Central and South American dictatorships, such as Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. Such victims of communism and authoritarianism, many in South Florida, are particularly offended by weak foreign policy and lifting of restrictions recently on Cuba and Venezuela. In a 2020 Pew Research Center study, 58 percent of Cubans identified as Republican, with 38 percent as Democrat. 

 At the end of the constitutional convention in 1787, Benjamin Franklin was asked what form of government the Framers had created. He answered, “A republic, if you can keep it.” 

Hispanics have seen and often experienced the inevitable failure of unlimited government’s siren song of paradise — the song which lures democratic republics into the abyss of governmental control of its once-free citizens. So, Hispanics are willing to stick with Franklin and the Framers’ republic of limited government and individual freedom, saying “no thanks” to the siren’s song of socialism; instead saying “I choose freedom.” 

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen served in Congress from 1989-2019. She is the first Hispanic woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives 

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Benjamin Franklin Bernie Sanders Biden Clinton Economy education choice freedom growing support for GOP among Hispanics

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