Yes, we call it a phenomenon because, despite what common sense may tell us, there is always the exception to the rule.
Ever since Donald Trump inaugurated his presidential candidacy back in 2015 with comments against the Latino community in the U.S. — remember the fateful “bad hombre” speech — logic indicated that Hispanics in the country would automatically be on alert against their new president.
The reality, as always, was very different.
During the 2016 elections, and adding up to approximately 37% of the eligible voters in the country, 35% of the Latino community in the country supported the Republican candidate, most of them of Cuban origin, according to figures from the Pew Research Center (PRC).
Once the Trump Administration was inaugurated, this trend was not significantly altered.
Unlike what the president himself seems to believe, Latinos are not a monolithic community. Religious beliefs, cultural backgrounds, and educational levels affect the political views of Hispanics in the same way that they can affect any other community in the country.
Statistics have shown over the past three years that, overall, only 22% of Latinos approve of Donald Trump’s performance as president, but that figure varies widely depending on political affiliation.
For Latino Republicans, there is no other option than their party.
According to the PRC, the GOP has remained a justified niche for many Hispanics since 2002, because they feel that the party responds better to their priorities and needs than its Democratic counterpart.
Principles such as the traditional concept of family and religion have been part of the Republican political rhetoric, echoing the interests of a part of the Latino community that is deeply conservative.
While this condition seems to be mutating — especially with the generation of new voters — the characteristics of the Hispanic community also change according to geography. Two of the regions with the largest Latino populations are California and Florida; at the same time, they appear to be politically antagonistic territories. It’s not hard to see why the Trump campaign is launching the Latinos for Trump coalition in Florida, where the president spends most of his free time.
The campaign for the reelection of the president, led by Vice President Mike Pence, inaugurated an effort to solidify the support of Latino Republicans in Trump’s effort to stay in the White House, during the month of June 2019.
Meanwhile, the Democratic candidates still don’t have a coherent strategy to attract the Latino vote, a force that, as we saw in the midterm elections, can change any landscape in the country when they are given the attention they deserve.
In short: Yes, there is a Republican Latino, one who identifies with the conservative proposals of the president’s party and who, for decades, has remained faithful to his political base. But the statistics show that they are not even comparable to the Hispanics who continue to expect to be taken into account and have a reason to go out and vote.