While Democrats Debate ‘Latinx,’ Latinos Head to the G.O.P.

This was not a sign of intolerance but rather was emblematic of one class with the luxury of being consumed with such matters trying to impose its values on working-class families trying to keep up with paying the rent. Members of the Democratic Party don’t just live in a distinct cultural bubble removed from the realities of their blue-collar counterparts; they are so removed from the rapidly growing Hispanic working class that many of them are now literally speaking a different language.

The growing cultural divide in America, in which Hispanics appear to be increasingly turned off by progressive mottos and movements, is linked to the education divide in America between college-educated and non-college-educated voters of all ethnicities. According to Pew Research, Republicans increasingly dominate in party affiliation among white non-college voters, who make up 57 percent of G.O.P. voters. This in a country where 64 percent of voters do not have a college degree.

The Democratic Party is losing its brand among white working-class voters and Hispanics. This is especially pronounced among Hispanic men and Hispanic non-college-educated voters, who are trending more Republican, just as their white non-college-educated peers are. Latinos are increasingly voting similarly to non-college whites, perhaps because they don’t view themselves as all that different from them. Pew Research studies on Hispanic identity have shown that fully half of the country’s Hispanics viewed themselves as “a typical American”; fewer identified as “very different from a typical American.”

For all the discussion about diversity within the Latino community and the now trite adage that the community is not monolithic, in fact what unites most Hispanics is that they are an important share of the blue-collar non-college-educated work force, and their presence in the labor force is only growing. The essential workers of the pandemic are disproportionately Black and Latino, and as a decidedly younger demographic, Hispanic workers are filling the manufacturing, agricultural and construction trades in states with large Hispanic populations.

Democrats have increasingly become a party shaped by and reliant upon white voters with college degrees. Compared with 40.1 percent of white adults age 25 and older, only 18.8 percent of Latino adults in that age group have a bachelor’s degree. Latinos are and increasingly will be a key part of the blue-collar work force, and their politics are reflecting that.

From Hispanics’ 71 percent support for President Barack Obama in 2012 to 66 percent for Hillary Clinton and 59 percent for Joe Biden in 2020, Democrats find themselves slowly but measurably losing hold of Latinos, the fastest-growing segment of the electorate. As Latino voters grow in number in key battleground states, they are increasingly rejecting the minority construct promulgated by the media, academia and Democratic politicians and consultants.

The party that is able to express the values of a multiethnic working class will be the majority party for the next generation. As we continue to watch the country’s culture war increasingly divided by education levels, it is quite likely that Latino voters will continue to trend, even if marginally, into the ranks of Republican voters. The country stands on the precipice of a significant political shift. As President Ronald Reagan once quipped, quoting a Republican nominee for sheriff, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party; the Democratic Party left me.”


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