On Wednesday, Josh Kraushaar of National Journal reported that Democrats have been polling in shockingly low fashion among Hispanics, despite President Trump’s hard-core immigration stance and verbiage regarding immigration. According to Kraushaar:
Even during the heat of the family-separation crisis, Democrats are underperforming in heavily Hispanic constituencies, from GOP-held border battlegrounds in Texas to diversifying districts in Southern California to the nation’s most populous Senate battleground in Florida.
Kraushaar cites, for example, Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX), who continues to look like a lock to retain his seat despite a 70% Hispanic district that Hillary Clinton carried by four points. The same holds true in the open district left by Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX), where Hispanics constitute a majority, and where Republicans continue to earn a heavy majority of the vote. As Kraushaar points out, the real risk for Republicans lies with suburban white women.
This new information suggests two serious problems for Democrats. First, Democrats have been assuming for years that we are moments away from the emergence of a new non-white majority that will assuredly vote Democrat — a coalition of racial minorities rising up to strike down the white hierarchy. But this isn’t the case: it turns out that ethnicity isn’t a good predictor of voting patterns, at least not among Hispanics.
Second, Democrats have assumed that Republicans will lose Hispanics if they veer too far right on immigration — and this data belies that assumption. To treat the entire Hispanic vote as one major voting bloc seems contrary to the evidence.
With that said, it’s also true that one of the cases so often made by immigration restrictionists is the same as Democrats’ “emerging majority” case: if too many immigrants come from Central and Latin America, Democrats will never lose again. That’s obviously untrue, and it means that Republicans should continue to draw a stark line between legal immigration (generally good) and illegal immigration, which should be curbed.