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Coalition To Stop Pining For The Past, Hispanic Edition
Some Hispanics Aren't Coming Back
"I don’t think “try to do about as well with Hispanics as Obama did in 2012” is exactly pining for the past."
It's always really funny when a blue check actually engages with the Quote Tweets of their work, but recently (this week? I don't know, time is a flat circle) Matt Yglesias did that, responding to a tweet of mine about how so many are pining for a past that won't return with the above. And, like, I get it, it doesn't seem like it's pining for the past. But it really, really is.
This chart should be a wakeup call to Yglesias and those who believe a 2012-style result with Hispanics is possible again. The voters who are overwhelmingly voting for the GOP now, having voted for Obama and Hillary, are conservative Hispanics. Pew in 2016 had Hillary in the mid 70s with Hispanic Catholics, a result which I would be shocked to see replicated this year. That chart makes the case that the Hispanic problems were mostly just a function of racial depolarization - conservative Hispanic voters acting like conservatives, and not Hispanics, primarily.
Now, that doesn't mean that the scale of losses this year is permanent, and some of that could come back. But if my belief is that white cultural conservatives aren't coming back to the Democratic Party, shouldn't a proper reckoning with the party's future position suggest that Hispanic cultural conservatives aren't coming back, either, and what that would mean for the party moving forward?
It means a lot and nothing, in a sense. Yes, low propensity conservative Hispanics will delay blue Texas, but it will only delay it - and that, of course, assumes that they turn out, which in Georgia they didn't, as Jackson Bryman has pointed out before - but beyond that, Democratic Hispanic exposure isn't that large - it's a combination of safe blue states (California, New York, Illinois), fringe swing states (Colorado, New Mexico), Arizona and Texas, and then Florida, which we aren't winning anyways. (Oh, and Puerto Rico, once we make that a state, sure.) That's not to say there aren't Hispanics in other states, but those are the main areas of electoral exposure, and we managed to gain Arizona anyways even with national Hispanic leakage, so how worried should we be?
The counterpoint to that is Nevada, because if we leak with Hispanics enough, then that super inelastic state goes from electorally secure to extremely hard to win, and that's a huge problem for the Senate. I'm not sure how worried to be about Nevada, but that is the argument that a proper recommitment to these Hispanics needs to be a core Democratic Party tenant moving forward. But even that, I'm not sure how persuasive it is.
Hispanic voters are inefficiently distributed, and compared to educated, socially liberal whites, you'd trade Starr for Southlake every day and twice on Sundays. It's easy, and anyone who says otherwise is crazy. There are a finite number of places where Hispanics can make or break a statewide election, and a much larger number of places where well-off white social liberals can. Prioritizing the continuation of global trends is more important than trying to pine for the past. And yes, Matt, that is what trying to get cultural conservatives to vote for a socially liberal party is.
I'm sorry, but what exactly should make poor Hispanic Catholics in south Texas vote for the same party as rich white atheists in the DFW? You can say it's economically better for the poor Hispanic Catholic, and it is, but voters vote against their economic interests, and we all know this. The "keep your government hands off my Medicare" people from 2009-10 were real, even if that was insanity. Politics is about worldviews, and people who believe a book that says people like me are living a life in sin and condemning ourselves to eternal damnation do not share a worldview with those people who like having me and people like me at dinner parties. There are like 2000 people on this planet who don't see this, but unfortunately they're all terminally online pundits who seem to think that a global fucking realignment along cultural lines can be reversed. It can't, just like my 6th Grade attempts to pray my gay away failed. It's just not how this works.
Yglesias thinks that Democrats should adopt low stakes culturally conservative views to win more votes, while doing good things on both economically and socially liberal terms. He's correct that there is no harm to tilting towards common sense when elements of the left get into their fits of idiocy, but he's wrong in thinking that Kamala Harris making a comment on the San Fran School Board being dumb is going to make any kind of fucking difference. It won't.
Stop pining for the days when cultural conservatives, white or Hispanic, voted for Democrats. And, yeah, Matt, to be clear - it is absolutely pining for the past.