Hispanic leaders blast the left's portrayal of Latino electorate: 'A degradation to who we are'

Within the last year, various media outlets have published a number of pieces sounding the alarm over what has become a massive shift in Latino voting preferences from what was once a reliable Democratic voting base to a group considered up for grabs for Republicans and Democrats. 

A piece published last March by The New York Times questioned what was driving Latino men to vote Republican, admitting it was a “vexing” question for Democrats who were bleeding support, while a November op-ed published in The Hill appeared to serve as a shocked call to action for Democrats to woo back Latino voters who voted Republican in the Virginia gubernatorial election just a few days earlier.

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Speaking with Fox News Digital, a group of notable Hispanic leaders pilloried the media’s shocked reactions to Latino voters appearing to leave the Democratic Party in droves and slammed them for perpetuating the idea that Latinos belonged to a left-wing party despite many maintaining conservative values when it came to a number of different policy positions.

“Democrats’ message of not including parents [in their children’s education] and causing confusion, whether it be on gender … whether it be on race, is really causing the Hispanic community to rethink their alliance with the Democratic Party,” American Conservative Union senior fellow Mercedes Schlapp said, referring to the ongoing debate over how involved parents should be in what their children are taught in schools.

In Virginia, a state that had been trending increasingly Democratic, newly elected Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin made the message on parent involvement in schools a focal point for his campaign, including in his push to win over Latino voters. He won the November race with just over 50% of the vote, including, according to a Fox News voter analysis, 55% of the Latino vote.

Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin speaks at an election night party in Chantilly, Virginia, early Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, after he defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe. 

Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin speaks at an election night party in Chantilly, Virginia, early Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, after he defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe.  (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

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Schlapp argued that liberal media outlets, especially Spanish-speaking ones like Univision and Telemundo, were, along with Democrats, at odds with Latino voters on other issues, such as having strong border security.

“When you talk to Hispanics, they want a strong border. They want to make sure that there’s control on the border. Why? Because a lot of Hispanics had to wait in line to come into the United States in a legal manner, and they don’t appreciate this illegal immigration that’s being run by the drug cartels and the human traffickers,” she said.

Rep. Maria Salazar, R-Fla., went a step further in blasting Democrats and the liberal media, specifically calling out the left’s increasing support of socialist policies in driving away Latinos.

“The difference between us and other communities is that we have a point of reference. We know what Venezuela and Cuba and Nicaragua and Ecuador and Peru and Argentina and Chile look like. We know Mexico. We know, so it’s very easy to compare,” she said. 

“My parents fled socialism, and anything that has that word attached to it, whether its democratic socialism or pragmatic socialism, that’s all the theory. It’s not the practice. We have experienced the practice. We have the wounds, and we have the whips on our backs. We know. We know what socialism means,” she added.

Mercedes Schlapp, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Rep. Maria Salazar, R-Fla.

Mercedes Schlapp, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Rep. Maria Salazar, R-Fla. (Getty Images)

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Salazar also called out the left’s use of the gender-neutral term “Latinx” and accused Democrats of coming up with it as a way to keep using Latinos for their own political gain.

“Latinx, who created that? The Democratic Party. Why? Because they want to keep on using us,” she said. “The Democratic Party has used the Hispanics, the Browns, the Latinos in any way you want to call it. Twenty percent of the population, 60 million people, they want to use them, and use them as [a] political football.” 

An increasing trend of Latino voters opting to support Republican candidates for public office appears to have steadily grown since the 2018 midterm elections, when, according to a study by Pew Research Center, Republican candidates for the House of Representatives received only 25% of the Latino vote. 

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Then, 38% of Latino voters opted to support former President Trump in the 2020 presidential election. 

The trend continued beyond 2020, culminating in a never-before-seen even split between Democrats and Republicans in the voting intention of Latinos for the upcoming 2022 midterm election, according to The Wall Street Journal

Salazar, along with Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., attributed the rapid shift in support toward Republicans to the dire economic conditions facing Americans across the entire country under President Biden’s administration.

“The last four years, under the past administration, [Hispanics] were making more money, the wages were rising, the companies were giving them bonuses, they had better jobs. So right now, look what’s happening. Not only for the Browns, but for everyone, for every single American who lives in the United States. You see what’s happening with inflation and gas prices,” she said.

Rubio echoed Salazar’s sentiment, but added that Hispanics were also being affected by the drastic rise in crime across the U.S.

“Hispanics are experiencing unprecedented supply chain-related shortages, record inflation, and skyrocketing crime rates in many cities. The Republican Party understands these challenges, shares their values, and believes in restoring the American Dream,” he said.

Former President Trump and President Biden

Former President Trump and President Biden (James Devaney/GC Images  |   Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Rubio added his disdain for labeling Latinos in a particular light, pushing back on the idea that they would automatically revert to being Democrats within the political fold, as well as using terms like “Latinx” to set them apart from other Americans.

“This notion that Hispanics must be Democrats is ridiculous and it marginalizes the conservative culture of many Hispanics. The bottom line is this: Hispanics care about economic freedom, security, stability, family and prosperity. Under the current Democratic administration, the majority of those pillars are at stake,” he said.

“When I heard [Latinx] I thought it was the name of a band. Labeling Hispanics with that word is a degradation to who we are,” he added.

Fox News Digital reached out to Democratic members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus for comment, but they declined to respond.

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