Former President Donald Trump benefited from a surge in Latino support in the November election, sparking fears among Democrats that Republicans would break into this once-reliable ballot box.
A new analysis released on Friday indicates that Latino voters went to Trump in different geographic areas and not just conservative-leaning districts.
Although Trump lost President Joe Biden’s election, he saw a surge in support from Latino voters in places once considered solidly Democratic, including Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Clark County, Nevada; Paterson, New Jersey; and Maricopa County, Arizona.
The former president, who ruled on a nationalist platform hostile to illegal immigration, also saw an increase in Latino support in places like Miami and Texas’s Rio Grande Valley.
Former President Donald Trump (seen above at an October 10 rally in Minneapolis) received an unexpectedly high number of Latino votes in the November 3 election
A post-mortem analysis by a Democratic-affiliated research firm found that Trump’s support among Latinos is soaring in several areas once considered reliable Democratic strongholds, including Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Miami-Dade County; Clark County, Nevada; and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas
By 2020, some Latino voters have shown themselves to be more ‘swing’ than is often assumed, ” the report said.
In November, Trump received more Latino votes than in 2016, when he defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton to take the White House.
Researchers say Trump received just 18 percent of Latino votes in 2016.
Clinton received record-high support of 79 percent from Latinos, according to the record The Washington Post
In 2020, however, Trump narrowed the gap significantly.
Equis Labs’ analysis found that Trump was able to siphon Latino votes outside of Cuban and Venezuelan expatriate communities who leaned conservatively. The image above shows an ‘anti-communist caravan’ in Miami on October 10
An estimated 17 million Latino voters – 30 percent more than in 2016 – attended the general election. One in three – an unexpectedly high number – supported the former president, according to A. New York Times exit poll.
Biden still took home about two-thirds of the Latino vote in the election, but Trump’s rise turned out to be a wake-up call for Democrats who were eager to maintain their dominance in this particular demographic.
The most dramatic shift in Latino voters took place in Florida.
Biden won Miami-Dade, home to a large Cuban American community, by 7 percentage points compared to Clinton’s profit margin of 30 points over four years ago.
Republicans defeated two sitting Miami area congressmen: Representatives Donna Shalala and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.
According to the Equis Labs survey, a growing number of Latino voters were more concerned about economic issues – an area considered Trump’s asset – than immigration.
The former president has been widely criticized for his stance on immigration, in particular for the foul language and terms he used to describe undocumented migrants.
More Latino voters thought Trump, who had a reputation as a successful businessman, was well-equipped to take the country through a tough economic period, the researchers said.
Supporters respond as then-President Trump speaks at a roundtable on Latinos for Trump Coalition in Phoenix, Arizona on Sept. 14
Trump also received support from first-time voters and those who are believed to be inclined not to participate in the political process, or, as Equis Labs puts it, “those with the lowest partisan formation.”
Still, the data isn’t compelling enough to indicate that the GOP can comfortably rely on these voters to vote for its candidate next time.
“We know enough to say that these look like real-life voters,” said analysts at Equis Labs.
Neither side should assume that a Spanish voter who casts a vote for Trump in 2020 will be jailed as a Republican moving forward.
“Nor can we assume that this shift was exclusive to Trump and will return on its own.”
Election observers said older Latino voters tend to be more conservative, meaning they are against higher taxes, support gun rights, and also support the business community.
Trump also managed to siphon Latino votes from those outside of the Cuban and Venezuelan expatriate communities who are considered more conservative by default.
Carmen Peláez, a Miami-based Cuban-American filmmaker who wanted to boost voter turnout in favor of Biden, said Latinos in South Florida were prone to misinformation and conspiracy theories spread online.
“People love to blame the Cubans, but you can’t just blame the Cubans,” she told the Times.
“There is cancer in our community, and it is misinformation, and it affects us all.”
Pelaez also said the Democratic Party took Latino voters for granted and falsely assumed Trump’s harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric meant they were firmly in the blue column.
While a large number of Latino voters self-identify as Democrats, there is a significant ballot box that could be considered “ variable voters, ” according to the analysis.
“It was assumed that all Latinos would be pro-immigration, or they were taken for granted because they were believed to be a lost voice,” she said.
‘You will never lose a vote if you are really willing to participate. But being willing to participate means putting aside your own prejudices. ‘
Trump also made huge gains in highly Latino areas along the South Texas border.
He won the sparsely populated Zapata County, south of Laredo, after losing it 2 to 1 to Clinton four years ago.
And he closed the gap in larger counties covering the border towns of Laredo, McAllen and Brownsville, adding tens of thousands of votes in parts of the state that had long been considered a democratic stronghold.
McAllen and Brownsville are part of the Rio Grande Valley, a region ravaged by COVID-19 last summer with hospitals ramping up and some patients having to be flown to other parts of the state.
The Rio Grande Valley was also directly affected by Trump’s immigration policies, including the construction of a border wall and a policy separating migrant children from their parents in 2017 and 2018.
With the wall and reinforced Border Patrol staff, Trump has helped expand employment in the area.