The Democrats’ Latino dilemma

Many on the left are frustrated and baffled by the fact that in the age of Trump, Hispanic voters have not responded by unifying behind the Democratic [arty. Over at Slate, León Krauze elaborates on why “Hispanic voters have become a maddening puzzle for the Democratic party.” Though I don’t agree with Krauze’s stance on immigration policy, he offers a clear-eyed assessment of a big and important challenge facing anti-Trump Democrats. I recommend it. For now, though, I’ll briefly summarize his argument.

President Trump has championed more stringent immigration enforcement, ICE and CBP have broadened the scope of their efforts to remove visa overstayers and illegal border-crossers from the U.S., and the Trump administration has pushed for a more demanding public-charge standard. There is a broad consensus among left-of-center intellectuals and, increasingly, politicians that these policies are cruel and inhumane, and that they represent a racist attack on people of Latin American origin writ large. Some writers and thinkers have gone so far as to describe the Trump immigration agenda as a form of ethnic cleansing, with a particular focus on the impact these policies have been having on Latino communities.

If you are convinced by such characterizations, you’d think Latino voters would take strong exception to the Trump presidency. As Krauze explains, however, against this backdrop, “Latino voters seemed to have slowly warmed up to the president.” He references a recent NPR/PBS/Marist poll, which found Trump’s approval rating among Hispanics at 41 percent, far outpacing his approval among African Americans at 12 percent.