This is a story which popped up in the Los Angeles Times a couple weeks ago but we never got around to looking at it. The Pew Research Center conducted a survey after the election, but prior to President Trump’s inauguration, which sought to identify the top concerns among Latino voters (and in some cases nonvoters and even noncitizens). If you listen to nobody except liberal Democrats on cable news on a regular basis the results may come as something of a surprise. You would think that there is virtually nothing on the minds of Hispanic residents of the United States except immigration, but it turns out that the subject doesn’t even make the top three on the list.
Despite its high profile as a political issue and the angry debates and spirited protests it inspires, immigration was not at the top of priorities for Latinos surveyed recently, the Pew Research Center said in a report released Thursday.
The survey, which was conducted before Donald Trump’s inauguration, explored how Latinos viewed their status in the U.S. and expectations they had about the Trump presidency.
Despite the contentious debate over illegal immigration during and after the presidential election, the Pew Research Center study found improving the education system, defending the country from future terrorist attacks and strengthening the nation’s economy were the top concerns for Latinos in America.
“This pattern for top issues among U.S. Latinos has been fairly consistent for a number of years in Pew Research Center surveys,” the report said.
Here’s the non-shocking part of the story. You could ask almost anyone what their top concerns are (and this would have applied no matter who won the election) and schools, terrorist attacks, the economy and jobs would show up at or near the top of the list pretty much every time. No matter what your niche specialty is in the game of political commentary, if you’re focusing on something outside of those four areas you are generally speaking to a considerably smaller audience.
While the results in terms of primary concerns may not be terribly shocking, the survey does invite us to question why certain demographic groups so reliably vote in predictable ways. Which party do you think of when it comes to schools and education? Fair enough. There’s a bitter divide on that subject and depending which flavor of Kool-Aid you typically drink you might be leaning either way. But preventing terror attacks? I’m sorry, but that’s the calling card of the GOP and conservatives. Jobs? There’s perhaps a bit more wiggle room on that one, but for the most part that falls into the Republican bailiwick as well. In other words, when you look at the results of this Pew survey you might be tempted to think that Hispanic voters are a natural fit for the conservative cause.
So explain to me why Trump got 29% of the Hispanic vote last November. Granted, that’s a couple of points better than Mitt Romney did but it’s still pathetically low. For that matter we could be asking ourselves how the Republicans always perform so terribly among black urban voters who you would think would list getting violent crime under control at the top of their lists. It sounds to me as if we have significant segments of the population who are regularly voting against their own best interests. If you want a short but brutal explanation for that one, it just comes down to a case of the Democrats doing a better sales job.
So is there a solution on the horizon? Don’t look at me. I’ve been wondering the same things for decades.