MSNBC broadcast footage Friday of Latino Republican voters telling a reporter why they had left the Democratic Party.
Democrats are having a reckoning over the rightward shift of the largest minority voting group in America.
In the second episode of MSNBC’s “Field Report,” a group of one-time Democratic Latinos explained their vote for Rep. Mayra Flores, R-Texas, in a June special election that flipped their congressional district in the Rio Grande Valley.
“We already had conservative values, but nobody noticed, they took us for granted,” one man told host Paolo Ramos as Flores listened. “The Democratic Party left me. I didn’t leave the party.”
- “She is that Latina, or Hispanic woman, that is saying enough is enough, that our values matter,” a female attendee said of Flores, the first Mexican-born woman to serve in Congress.
- “Field Report” is a new MSNBC series that sees Ramos “Exploring the rightward shift of Latinx voters,” according to the show’s website.
THE WARNING SIGNS
On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Friday, Ramos noted Democrats have had plenty of warnings that they’re losing Latinos, whom they’ve longed depended on for overwhelmingly electoral support.
- Ramos pointed to the GOP’s inroads with the demographic under former President Trump, who increased his share of the Latino vote and flipped two Texas border counties in 2020, and to the rise of Flores and two other Latina Republicans running for Congress in south Texas.
- “Latinos are sending a message, and we need to listen,” warned Ramos, the daughter of Latino news anchor Jorge Ramos. “They’re drifting away, they’re walking away from the Democratic Party.”
TIME FOR A HISPANIC PANIC?
Even before Flores’ victory, some Democratic activists and liberal analysts were sounding the alarm about Latinos turning Republican.
- In July 2020, political scientist Ruy Teixeira argued that Democrats’ radicalism was costing them a chance to ride long-term demographic change to political dominance, an outcome he famously predicted in 2002.
- Earlier this month, Teixeira coauthored an American Enterprise polling analysis that found Democrats’ average advantage among Latino voters last month was 19 points, down from 25 points at this time in 2020 and 35 points at this time in 2018.
- “The trend in the last month among Hispanics has also been negative for the Democrats, around a 2-point decline,” he and his coauthors wrote.
Yet the Democrats’ national leadership has continued to disregard the Latino vote, Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke complained in a speech Saturday.
- “Candidate Biden didn’t spend a dime or day in the Rio Grande Valley or really anywhere in Texas, for that matter, once we got down in the homestretch of the general election. You got to be locking eyeballs with the people that you want to fight for and serve and whose votes that you want to win,” he said.
- By contrast, O’Rourke said, Trump offered a “very strong, compelling economic message” in 2020: “It was literally one syllable, one word. It was ‘jobs.'”