Washington, DC – An NBC News story by Natasha Korecki, “Republicans struggle in the Southwest as Latino voters stick with Democrats,” highlights how Latino voters remained an essential part of Democrats’ winning coalitions in a number of key races in Southwestern states – and how Republican extremism, including on immigration, stands in the way of GOP efforts to make real inroads with this electorate:
“In Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, Latinos have stuck with Democrats, and that has helped power the party’s gains across a region where Latino population growth has exploded. It belies a conventional narrative that Democrats were universally ceding Latino voters to the Republican Party, a story line repeated throughout the run-up to the Nov. 8 midterms. Instead, indicators show the GOP in danger of losing Latino voters in this region, a prospect that could mean being boxed out of the Southwest for the long term.
The Southwest was once deep-red territory. But Republicans are struggling to regain their grip. It’s in part because they’ve alienated Latinos by taking more hardline stances, including on immigration, according to Simon Rosenberg, a longtime Democratic strategist who was part of the party’s early team that helped develop modern strategies for reaching Latino voters. Rosenberg said the Southwest today is a far cry from what it once was under former President George W. Bush.
Take the once reliably red Arizona. Before 2018, both U.S. Senate seats and every statewide office holder was Republican. Today, Democrats have won both Senate seats and the governor’s mansion — something that hasn’t happened in more than 70 years, said Mike Noble, an independent pollster who has done extensive research in the Southwest region.
‘The GOP could potentially lose the Southwest for decades to come if they don’t position themselves better among Hispanics and Latinos,’ Noble said. ‘Republicans are in a critical time right now where they need to decide which route they’re going. Are they going the route of MAGA? Or are they going the route of that old Goldwater, traditional conservative, business-minded approach that really left them winning?’
Noble pointed to longtime Arizona Republican Sens. Barry Goldwater and John McCain — who took a moderate stance on immigration yet pushed for reforms — as holding a winning formula that is escaping Republicans running for office today.”
Instead of taking stock of how their nativism and larger MAGA extremism is contributing to their underperformance – in the Southwest, with Latino voters, and beyond – Republicans seem intent to double down on their failed approach. As we highlighted last week, a contingent of House Republican hardliners are proudly trumpeting their support for continuing the political and policy failures of the Trump/Stephen Miller approach. Meanwhile, despite the urgent need to deliver on a legislative fix for Dreamers this year and calls from business leaders for action, key Republicans are throwing cold water on related legislative prospects.
According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
“Republican extremism and the MAGA agenda alienates the strong majority of American voters and is at direct odds with Republican talk of wanting to make inroads with Latino voters. In the Southwest, as we saw in the midterms, the heavy weight of Republican nativism and extremism were factors Republican candidates could not overcome in appealing to Latinos.
But, instead of taking stock and reversing course on their anti-immigrant agenda and broader extremism or working in good faith to enact immigration solutions and deliver on the urgent priority of legislation for immigrants, including Dreamers and other long-settled people, Republicans seem intent to re-up and double down on their political and policy failures.”