The Hispanic Vote: Class, Not Race

Nov 14 2012 @ 12:43pm

It was striking to me that the latest manifestation of Charles Krauthammer's evolution into the Baghdad Bob of neoconservatism simply urged GOP support for amnesty for Latinos as the only policy correction needed for the GOP to win the next election. Steven Malanga disagrees for one obvious reason:

What’s more likely than race to account for Hispanic voting trends is income, a decisive factor in this election. The Obama campaign did a good job of portraying Romney as a Wall Street multimillionaire whose policies would favor the rich. Despite some conservatives’ belief that the Republican Party is capturing blue-collar America, Romney lost decisively among lower-income voters, who continue to vote Democratic in large numbers. Hispanic households fit into this demographic group: on average, their incomes are about 35 percent lower than the national average. Even more to the point is that Romney did terribly among voters who earned less than $50,000 a year, capturing just 38 percent of their votes—and over 60 percent of Hispanic households fit that income profile.

Beinart makes related points:

It’s quite normal that Hispanics, whose average household income trails non-Hispanic whites by more than a third, would seek government assistance in bridging the gap. Right now the GOP is split between commentators who deny this core motivation behind Hispanic support for the Democrats and those who demonize it. Neither attitude is likely to change the political reality that helped doom Mitt Romney last week.