In the days since the 2022 midterm election, it has become increasingly clear that the GOP’s strategy of sowing fear and hate with regards to immigration has failed to deliver on their goals of both winning elections and shoring up support from Latino voters. From the Rio Grande Valley in Texas to Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania and other states, candidates and party committees pushing harsh anti-immigration and border policies harmed efforts to reach out to Latino voters.
The Latino electorate only continues to grow across the country and in key swing states and their rejection of the GOP’s stance on immigration has become increasingly clear. Yet, there are those advising Republicans to only go harder and deeper with the anti-immigrant rhetoric and policy proposals who have apparently not learned the lessons from recent election cycles.
Below are some new voices and opinion pieces that have reinforced these points, showing how the Latino electorate and general electorate were largely unconvinced by Republican messaging this election cycle:
- In the recent Roll Call piece “GOP fell short in Latino-heavy areas along U.S-Mexico border”, Suzanne Monyak writes on how there wasn’t a wholesale shift of Hispanic voters to the Republican party in Texas, and that Latinos still represent a key demographic for the Democratic party: “The efforts to lean into immigration concerns on the border fell short along with a lackluster Republican showing nationwide, analysts say, as Democratic candidates notched victories in key races across the majority-Hispanic border regions. […] Chuck Rocha, a Texas-based Democratic strategist, said that this cycle’s midterm results ‘stopped this ridiculous argument that Latinos are running to the Republican Party’ […] Progressive strategists say that last week’s results indicate that predictions of a hard move rightward for Latinos in the area were overblown.”
- In an interview with Radio Bilingüe, María Teresa Kumar, president of Voto Latino, highlights that another 4 million Latinos will become eligible to vote in 2024, underscoring the growing influence of this segment of the American electorate. Kumar said: “When we talk about the Latino community and young people, we are talking about a generation that made possible what happened in Nevada and Arizona this past week. It was the Latino community in general, but in particular it was the young Latino voter who is participating for the first time who decided that they want to participate in the system”[…] What I think we are going to see above all is that the Latino community was organized, went out and voted, and it was thanks to the vote of Latinos in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada that we can say we are going to have a democracy.”
- In an opinion piece from The Bulwark, Alan Cross writes about The Diminishing Returns of Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric, noting that immigration has failed to deliver as an electoral strategy for Republicans: “If the last seven years are a guide, Americans want both compassion and order when it comes to immigration, and they reject chaos and cruelty […] Years of negative rhetoric aimed at immigrants and refugees hasn’t changed the public’s positive perception of them: Polls consistently show over 70 percent of Americans believing that immigration is a good thing for the United States. It’s when you get into the details that the issue becomes divisive.
“Year after year, a vast majority of Americans continue to say they want a pathway to legalization for immigrants who entered the country illegally years ago but have otherwise obeyed the law, worked, paid taxes, and contributed to society—and a majority of Americans want secure borders, as well. Those two emphases are not mutually exclusive—and Republicans and Democrats alike really should listen to these twin desires for both compassion and security. […] Republicans might be able to find better success by leading in governing with solutions that balance security and compassion and that reject chaos and cruelty—and Democrats really should join them.”
According to Mario Carrillo, Campaigns Director for America’s Voice:
The growing Latino electorate has shown this election cycle that they are sensitive to immigration issues, and that they, like the majority of their fellow Americans, will not put up with cruel rhetoric that the GOP has been espousing. Republicans cannot continue to reach out and promote the ideas of white nationalism, ‘invasion,’ and ‘replacement’ theory, while simultaneously attempting to build the GOP brand with Latino voters. It didn’t work in 2022 in the Rio Grande Valley here in Texas and it isn’t working elsewhere either.
Latino citizens see through the GOP’s strategy of hate and fear directed at immigrants – most of whom are also Latino – and conclude the GOP is not serious about building Latino voter support. This midterm election cycle should serve as a wake up call to any Republicans who hope to continue this losing strategy of dehumanizing and villainizing immigrants and immigration.