NBC News has a splashy new report out today about the launch of the first Spanish-language conservative network on satellite radio. It’s called Americano and it’s based in Miami. Democrats are claiming the station will spread “misinformation” which at this point is basically anything that makes Democrats look bad. Ivan Garcia-Hidalgo, the founder of the new network says that fear talking. “They’re scared. And they should be,” he said. He continued, “Democrats took Hispanics for granted for too long, and no one thought to create a home for us in conservative media. There is an appetite for this. You see it on social media. You see it in elections.”
But according to one Democratic pollster quoted in the story, the problem isn’t too much fear among Democrats. The problem is that they aren’t afraid enough.
Pollster Fernand Amandi, a Miami-based consultant who oversaw Barack Obama’s successful national Hispanic outreach, fretted that Americano could be a success — at least politically — even if it doesn’t spread falsehoods or conspiracies.
“For those concerned about the disinformation problem harming Democrats’ chances with Hispanics, this is a Defcon 1 moment. We should worry,” Amandi said. “The Democrats’ response to all of this Hispanic outreach from Republicans — whether it’s disinformation or conventional campaigning — is to do the bare minimum. Unfortunately, some Democrats are deluding themselves. The ultimate act of disinformation is to pretend that this is not a big problem.”
The truth is that Democrats really do seem to be in trouble. CNN published a report Saturday saying that GOP gains among Hispanics seem to be solidifying. The story opened by looking at the turnout in the recent Texas primaries.
Regularly scheduled primaries, of course, don’t feature a Democratic candidate versus a Republican candidate. We can, however, look at the relative turnout between the Democratic and Republican primaries. This is instructive in Texas where voters don’t register by party and can choose which party’s primary to vote in.
All told, 27% of the Texans who voted Tuesday in the 16 most Hispanic counties cast a ballot in the Republican primary. This may not seem like a lot but consider that in 2018, just 15% of those who voted in either the Democratic or Republican primary cast a ballot on the Republican side.
Across the CNN, Fox and Quinnipiac polls this year, the President’s net approval rating averages +2 points with Hispanic Americans. That’s 17 points better than his net approval rating with voters overall in these polls (-15 points).
In the 2020 election, Biden’s margin with Hispanic voters was about 23 points better than it was overall.
So compared with 2020, Biden is doing worse with Hispanics relative to how he is doing with voters overall. That’s notable given that earlier in his presidency, Biden was doing significantly better among Hispanics relative to how he was doing overall and compared with how he did in 2020.
So Biden was +23 with Hispanics in 2020 and now he’s +17. That’s still a win but it’s also a 6 point drop in favorability from an election year where there was already widespread concern among Democrats about Hispanics moving to the right.
Ultimately, the concern isn’t that Democrats will do slightly worse in 2022 than they did in 2020. Democrats already appear doomed this year so a small shift among Hispanics is just a drop in the bucket. The real concern is that this shift is just getting started. If we get to 2024 and there has been another five or six point shift toward the GOP from where we are now, Democrats are going to struggle to compete in a lot of places they’d once assumed they could count on.
And there’s another nightmare that could unfold for Democrats on top of that. If the largest minority group in America stops voting overwhelmingly for Democrats, will other minority groups start to loosen support for the party? Last week Thomas Edsall wrote a column for the NY Times about Asian Americans and their willingness to buck the party on a few issues, particularly crime and school admissions.
While most of the experts on Asian American politics I contacted voiced confidence in the continued commitment of Asian Americans to the Democratic Party and its candidates, there were some danger signals — for example, in the 2021 New York City mayoral election. Eric Adams, the Democrat, decisively beat Curtis Sliwa, the Republican, 65.5 percent to 27.1 percent, but support for Sliwa — an anti-crime stalwart who pledged to take on “the spineless politicians who vote to defund police” — shot up to 44 percent “in precincts where more than half of residents are Asian,” according to The City…
The strong commitment of Asian Americans to education has been a source of allegiance to a Democratic Party that has become the preferred home for voters with college and advanced degrees. The progressive wing of the Democratic Party is, at the same time, testing the strength of that allegiance by supporting education policies that reduce opportunities for Asian Americans at elite schools while increasing opportunity for two larger Democratic constituencies, made up of Black and Hispanic voters. This is the kind of problem inherent in a diverse coalition comprising a segmented electorate with competing agendas. For the foreseeable future, the ability of the party to manage these conflicts will be a key factor in its success or failure.
We’ll have to wait and see but for the moment it certainly looks as if Democrats are in danger of losing their lock on Hispanic voters which would be a major blow to their coalition.