The leaders of the Hispanic Republican movement today haven’t felt such momentum for twenty years.
Bertica Cabrera Morris, a business and political consultant who was born in Cuba and has spent most of her adult life in central Florida, has helped several Republican Presidential candidates with Latino outreach, among them George W. Bush, John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Donald Trump. Some won; some lost, as Trump did this fall, but not before increasing his share of the Latino vote to thirty-two per cent, up four points from 2016, according to exit polls. “We are terribly sad” that Trump lost, Cabrera Morris said, but she expressed optimism that the next Republican will win a greater share of the Latino vote. “We moved the needle, and we changed history,” she said.
Many Americans were surprised when it became clear that Trump had done better than expected among Latinos. In places such as South Florida and South Texas, he did much better, but all across the country Trump won a greater share of the Latino vote than he did four years ago. He made marked improvements in Democratic cities such as Houston, Las Vegas, and Philadelphia, and even in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York, which were not the focus of the Trump campaign’s spending on Latino outreach. The shift toward Trump has given Latino Republicans confidence that Latino conservatism is on the rise and will continue to grow.
Latino advocates on the Democratic side, meanwhile, seem reluctant to talk about the shift. Some have downplayed its significance and expressed frustration that it has received so much media attention, as if Trump actually won the Latino vote. Rather than dwelling on Trump’s gains, Latino Democrats would have us focus on the fact that a surge of Latinos turning out to vote helped Joe Biden win critical swing [ … ]