“Hispanics don’t want to pay $5 for gas. Hispanics don’t want violent criminals running the streets. Hispanics don’t want schools trying to convince their son that he’s their daughter,” Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) argued on Wednesday. And the political earthquake shaking Texas this week is proving him right.
When Republican Mayra Flores defeated Democrat Dan Sanchez in a special election to fill a vacancy left by former Rep. Filemon Vela Jr. (D) in Texas’ 34th congressional district (51% to 43%), the Democrats’ alarm bells were already ringing. With her win, Flores becomes the first-ever congresswoman born in Mexico and the first Republican to represent this region in more than 150 years. Texas’ 34th congressional district is the second most Hispanic district in the nation with ethnic Hispanics comprising 84% of the district, and now it will be represented in Congress by a legal immigrant who campaigned on God, family, and country.
Not every special election gets the attention Texas’ 34th congressional district did, and a big reason for the extra emphasis placed on Tuesday’s results is because the nation’s Hispanic population is the fastest growing population in the United States — accounting for half of the total U.S. population growth since 2010. To put that in perspective, one million Hispanic youth become eligible to vote every year. Hispanic voter registration numbers have grown at a faster rate than the rest of the American population, increasing 24% between 2016 and 2020, compared to 9% for the rest of the U.S. population according to a Univision report. The Hispanic vote is well on its way to becoming a decisive factor in American politics — and after Flores’s win, that fact might keep Democratic strategists up at night.
This week wasn’t the first sign Hispanic voters were warming up to the GOP. Post-2020 election analysis showed former President Donald Trump outperforming his peers among this key group of voters. While Trump did not win an outright majority of the Hispanic vote, he improved his level of support in 2020 over his 2016 results by 10 points: 38% in 2020 to 28% in 2016. A closer look at the 2020 results in South Florida and South Texas show that Trump improved his vote share by 22% in Miami-Dade County, Fla. and 23% in Hidalgo County, Texas — two key majority Hispanic counties — and it’s obvious that something big is going on.
There are other indicators that this trend is real. Around this time last year, McAllen, Texas — a city that is 87% Hispanic — elected its first Republican Mayor in 24 years. Glenn Youngkin (R) won his gubernatorial bid, thanks in large part to winning a majority of Virginia’s Hispanic vote. When asked if America is on the right track or wrong track, 63% of Hispanic Americans believe America to be on the wrong track, compared to just 22% who think America is on the right track. Candidate recruitment is also picking up for Republicans among Hispanic Americans, particularly in New Mexico. A recent Quinnipiac poll shows Biden’s approval rating among Hispanic Americans at a dismal 24%, with 58% disapproval. There is ample evidence to suggest that the shift toward the GOP among Hispanic voters in 2020 was not an aberration, but a trend.
Corporate mogul Elon Musk even supported Flores in last night’s special election, tweeting that his vote for Flores was the first time he ever voted for a Republican. But Flores took more than the Tesla billionaire’s vote; she won all but one county in the district, including flipping the district’s largest county — Cameron County — 48% to 46%. That’s even more astounding when you consider that Cameron County went to Biden in 2020 by 13 points, and Clinton in 2016 by 33 points.
Musk predicted a “massive red wave in 2022,” and it sure seems like Hispanic voters, fed up with high inflation, empty shelves, and the excesses of the LGBT movement in general, will help push that red wave ashore come November.
Even before Tuesday’s election, and Trump’s success improving his share of the Hispanic vote in 2020, conservatives proudly counted among their ranks sons of Cuban immigrants who fled the horrors of Castro’s regime and know well the threat to faith, family, and freedom socialism brings. Senators Rubio and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) routinely speak up against radical leftist policies, while also standing for the timeless values that made America great. There are signs that Americans with ties to Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, and other Latin American nations are now feeling alienated from a Democratic Party obsessed with corrosive and sterilizing identity politics.
Flores herself said Wednesday, “I feel like the Democrat Party has walked away from the Hispanic community. They’ve gone so far left, and they don’t represent our values. People always ask me, ‘Mayra, how can you be a Republican [when] you were born in Mexico?’ And that clearly shows me that they know nothing about our culture. I was raised with strong conservative values. We’re all about faith and family and hard work. That’s who we are. So, our values do really align with the Republican Party.”
With 145 days to go until election day, Republican and Democrat candidates will be competing for the attention and votes of Hispanic Americans. Once the ballots are tabulated, and new candidates are sworn in, there will be new stories to write about how our nation’s politics are changing.
While most experts expect to see some significant movement among Hispanic Americans toward the GOP in the upcoming midterm election, what is far more important than the political impact this community is having on the country is the spiritual impact they bring. Many faithful denominations are experiencing dramatic growth because they’re including Hispanic Americans. More than a political realignment, our nation needs a spiritual alignment. We would do well to be intentional in linking arms with our Latin brothers and sisters in Christ and pray for the Lord to be exalted once again in America.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of Citizens Journal