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Do Trumpian Policies Signal the End of Democrat Strongholds?

The Latino realignment is causing chaos for the left.

The Republican candidate Mayra Flores (R-TX) won the special election in the 34th Congressional District of Rio Grande Valley, TX, continuing the ongoing Latino move to the right. In the immediate future, it fits with the predicted red wave in the 2022 congressional election. However, it may spell gloom and doom for the Democratic Party in the long run.

Rio Grande Valley

Rio Grande Valley has one of the nation’s highest concentrations of Hispanics, at 78.9% of the population. In the past, it has been a Democratic stronghold. In 2012, 61.9% voted for the Democratic candidate. However, in the 2020 election, the district shifted to the right by seven points, and the incumbent Representative, Filemon Vela (D-TX), won with only 55.4% of the votes. Less than two years later, the Democratic candidate got only 43.3%, and Flores won easily with 51%.

Latino Shift

Although the district is small, with less than 30,000 votes, it represents a data point for the ongoing demographic trends among Latinos. The magic ingredient appears to be the MAGA platform. Mexican-born Flores proudly told voters in campaign ads that her husband was a Border Patrol agent. She ran on a platform alluding to former President Donald Trump: “We cannot accept the [price] increase of gas, of food, of medication, and we have to say that under President Trump, we did not have this mess in this country.”

That Flores won by appealing to Trump’s policies does not bode well for Democrats. It confirms that the massive shift to the right in Hispanic-dominated areas in southern Texas in the 2020 election was not an aberration. The narrative that Republicans are white supremacists and racists is losing its grip on this crucial voter demographic. Once that show-stopper has been removed, it enables a natural political realignment.

Conservative Latinos

On the surface, it is a mystery that Latinos vote so heavily for Democrats. Most Latinos are religious, conservative, family-oriented, and proud of their culture and gendered language. They don’t like abortion, drag shows for kids, and find the woke Latinx concept peddled by progressives to be a vicious attack on their cultural heritage.

GettyImages-1240726842 Mayra Flores

Mayra Flores (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

However, Flores did not campaign on any of these topics, but relied on border security, inflation, and the economy instead. Herein lies the answer to the mystery. Latinos have mostly voted with their wallets. A generation of neo-conservative Republicans created the view that the Republicans were the party of Wall Street while the Democrats were the party of Main Street.

Trump eroded that narrative and now there is a growing perception that the Republicans are the party of the ordinary Americans while Democrats are for the wealthy elites. Suppose this new understanding of the political landscape further percolates through Hispanic communities. In that case, the political realignment may be more forceful than most could imagine since they are far more aligned with Republicans on cultural issues.

Earthquake

The 2020 census showed that 19% of Americans identify as Hispanic or Latino. A political realignment among most of these would result in a political earthquake that could rattle the Democratic Party for decades. If one-in-four Republicans suddenly become Latino, it becomes increasingly hard to hurl accusations of white supremacy and racism at them. Once that happens, it may also remove one of the most critical roadblocks for the Republican Party to make headway among blacks.

Should the 2022 midterm election turn out to be the “red wave” many expect, however, the underlying demographic changes in minority populations could be swept over. It might be 2024 or even later before the full effect becomes clear.

Read More From Caroline Adana

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