Consider this one a follow up to the last post I wrote. A Cuban-American staff editor for the NY Times published a piece in the opinion section headlined, “Some Latinos Voted for Trump. Get Over It.” As you might imagine, that didn’t go over well with NY Times readers who are clearly not “over it” and are instead lecturing the author about why Hispanics should never have voted for Trump. Here’s a bit of the opinion piece:
The reason the “Latino vote” befuddles is because it doesn’t exist, nor do “Latino issues.” If we want to understand how Latinos vote, we should start by retiring the word “Latino” entirely — and maybe “Hispanic,” too, a term first used by the United States government in the 1970 census that is based solely on the language native to the European settlers who conquered the Americas. These labels have served only to reduce us to a two-dimensional caricature: poor brown immigrants who always vote Democrat…
Journalists and pundits who have spent some time in Latin America or interviewed a few Spanish speakers (and now fancy themselves experts) have suggested that machismo, and a desire to be closer to whiteness, is what drove these voters to support the man who promised to build a wall to keep caravans of Spanish-speaking brown people out. That may be true, but it’s far from the whole story.
I’m a Cuban-American from Miami, and I’m not surprised that around 52 percent of Cuban-Americans in Florida voted for Mr. Trump. No one who was paying attention could be. In the weeks leading up to the election, Cubans in Miami composed a salsa song in support of Mr. Trump and organized Trump caravans hundreds of cars long.
It may sound ridiculous, but some of those voters are genuinely afraid of socialism, and he leaned into that. “We will never have a socialist country,” he promised. He understood that for Cubans and Venezuelans, the word is a reminder of the dysfunctional governments they left behind.
The author’s problem with the generic term “Latino” and “Hispanic” is similar to the problem a lot of people have with Latinx. It’s a way to categorize people as a block that glosses over a lot of different cultures.
In any case, NY Times readers are busy Dem-splaining to the author why she’s wrong about, well, everything but especially about socialism. Here are a few samples:
- My mother is a Cuban American. She left Cuba during the first exodus following the rise of Fidel Castro, and she became a naturalized American citizen in the following years. She saw the brutality of the Batista regime and equates Trump as a similar figure. Castro is a dictator, and here in the U.S. many of us fear Trump could become the same if given the chance, and so it becomes very confusing and illogical for Cubans and Venezuelans that fled their countries to vote for someone like Trump.
- Many good points that “Latino” is not a monolith. It is just hard to believe that people who knew personally what a harsh socialism is would believe the lie that Joe Biden is a socialist.
- Sorry, but I think the “fear” of America becoming a socialist nation that Cuban Americans feel is ridiculous. Biden is no more going to turn America into a socialist nation than Trump is going to get some class and behave.
- …the usage of the term “socialism” and the branding of Biden with that term does not mean that he or the Democrats, in general, are “socialist”. This is and was a political ploy on the part of Republicans.
- Their experience with Castro , a dictator who seized and kept power at the barrel of a gun has nothing to do with real socialism.
You get the idea. I love that last one. It’s the old “real socialism was never tried” argument. That excuse never goes out of style.
I’ll grant that Joe Biden is not a socialist. But there are some real socialists in his party who are very much hoping he wins this election so they can try to implement some of their own goals. President Trump is at least willing to call those people out by name and tell them they are wrong. Biden on the other hand is counting on their support.
Not all of the comments are negative. I think this is one is closer to the truth.
One of the most unfortunate narratives being peddled after this election is that Latinos were somehow “tricked” into voting for Trump, as if we have no agency. That sort of attitude toward voters is what will guarantee that future campaigns will miss out on their vote.
I think that dove-tails with what Matt Yglesias was saying. But, hey, keep Dem-splaining to minorities why they are wrong to vote as they did. It’s working out great for the party so far.