Here’s one you probably didn’t see coming. Among the various bits of “conventional wisdom” going into this race was the assumption that Donald Trump was going to get absolutely destroyed in the Hispanic vote. It’s something that Hillary Clinton and the Democrats have been counting on since day one, along with the hope that she would turn out the black vote at the same rates that Barack Obama managed. (Spoiler alert: it’s not looking that way so far.) The media was happy to buy into the Hispanics Hate Trump story and they’ve reinforced it at every turn, but is it actually true? The Hill breaks down the latest trends and finds that the difference between Trump and Romney in that slice of the electoral pie has pretty much evaporated.
Donald Trump is performing about as well with Hispanic voters as GOP nominee Mitt Romney did in 2012, according to opinion polls — something that unsettles Democrats and surprises even some Republicans.
Skeptics had suggested that Trump would suffer a blowout among Hispanics, given that his rhetoric, on illegal immigration in particular, has been controversial…
But as of right now, there is not much evidence to suggest that Trump is faring any worse among Hispanics than did Romney, who at one point argued that illegal immigrants in the United States could be persuaded to “self-deport.”
The national figures are more along the lines of what we saw in 2012, but The Hill notes that in some crucial areas the trend is actually the opposite of what we’ve been told to expect. Everyone is watching Nevada as one possible battleground and there’s a significant Hispanic population there. Barack Obama ran up quite the victory in that demographic last time with a 71-24 margin. (That was enough for a 52-46 win.) But Clinton is currently holding a 65-30 lead. No… Trump isn’t going to win the Hispanic vote in Nevada, but he doesn’t really need to. He only has to avoid a blowout.
Some of this can be written off to people being comfortably settled into their respective trenches and voting along party lines much the same as they always do, but it reminds me once again of the overall demographic question regarding the Hispanic vote. Republican strategists have argued for ages that Hispanics should be far more natural constituents for the GOP in a cultural sense. Any attempt to lump all people of a given demographic profile into a single basket is futile, of course, particularly when you consider how diverse the “Hispanic community” is. Americans of Cuban, Puerto Rican and Mexican descent can be just as different as white voters of English and German heritage. (Or not different at all.) But it’s also true that many Hispanic communities are heavily Catholic and conservative in their religious views. Also, families frequently include plenty of first, second or third generation immigrants who came to America legally, following all the rules. The argument that all Hispanic voters somehow want open borders and amnesty has never made any sense to me.
Still, the numbers don’t lie and Clinton will likely do better with the Hispanic vote than Trump. But how much better? This race is getting extremely tight and she’s going to need to hit this one out of the park in order to win.