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Hispanics, Well ... Turn Out to Be Democrats


That might sound like word play but here's what I mean. On issue after issue, Hispanics appear to either overwhelmingly or more than the public at large support the Democratic position. Today we had a poll showing that Hispanics overwhelmingly support tighter gun control. This comes after numerous polls showing that Hispanics support 'Obamacare' much more than the population at large.

You'll sometimes hear from Republicans that setting the immigration issue aside, Hispanics are this big population of social conservatives. Well, not really. People sometimes imagine that since Hispanics are overwhelmingly Catholic that they must be seriously at odds with Democrats on abortion. But even that's not true. Though Hispanics are divided on abortion, like the rest of the population, data show they support abortion rights at a higher rate than the population at large.

Another way of looking at this might be to say that what we call social conservatism in US politics is really more the traditional social mores of white protestants, especially those from the South.

However that may be, the pattern comes up on issue after issue. Quite apart from the immigration issue itself and whatever disconnect and tensions are created by anti-immigrant and anti-Hispanic elements within the GOP, most Hispanics align with the issues supported by the Democratic party.

A few weeks ago I wrote a couple posts (one and two) about how deeply racialized American politics remains and tried to tease apart two different dimensions of that fact. On the one hand you have pure racial animus or what I think in practice you have to call the persistent (though greatly transformed and diminished) mindset of white supremacy. On the other is the simple fact -- deeply related to, largely rooted in, fact one but distinct from it -- that different ethnic groups in the US simply have different politics.

It all points toward doing something I think most people across the racial spectrum have a hard time doing, even as it becomes more and more of a demographic fact: seeing whites as another ethnic group in the US, still a huge but no longer an overwhelming majority of the country.

Quite apart from racial or cultural hostility or opposition to immigration for whatever reasons, it may be hard for the GOP to make significant inroads into the Hispanic or African-American or Asian-American votes, while remaining the party that so wildly over-performs among whites.