You probably won’t see this headlining the evening news….but you should!
Because it’s a big story.
With the GOP pulling off historic wins in the Florida gubernatorial and senate races, it appears President Trump is in a good position heading into 2020.
The shift of Hispanics towards Trump/GOP was reported as early as summer of 2018.
This ran in the Washington Times in July 2018, take a look:
Are Hispanics shifting their allegiances to President Trump?
A recent Harvard/Harris poll recorded a 10-point spike in Hispanic support for Mr. Trump. It hasn’t received much attention from the mainstream media, which is heavily invested in its portrait of the president as an unrepentant — and unpopular — “nativist.”
Coming in the midst of the nationwide controversy over children and families at the U.S.-Mexico border, it suggests that Hispanics may not be the entrenched liberal voting constituency that Democrats so often imagine.
And consider Florida’s hotly-contested Senate race. Republican Gov. Rick Scott is besting his Democratic opponent among Hispanics, according to a Mason-Dixon poll. Historically, a large and aging Cuban-American exile community has given Republicans a decided partisan edge in the Sunshine State.
But, in recent years their children and grandchildren have grown increasingly restive and independent. Meanwhile, a large concentration of Puerto Ricans, especially in the Orlando area, has continued to bolster Democratic candidates here.
What’s going on? Hispanics, like most mainstream voters, are waking up to post-2016 America. The economic recovery disparaged by Democrats is gathering steam and Hispanics — at 17 percent, the nation’s most populous ethnic minority — are clearly benefitting. Unemployment among Hispanics has fallen to its lowest level in decades, and there’s little doubt that Mr. Trump’s pro-business policies are the reason.
There’s even more cause for optimism looking ahead. Mr. Trump’s $1 billion infrastructure plan will benefit the country as a whole, of course, but there’s a silver lining for Hispanics, who constitute nearly 30 percent of the U.S. construction workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, more than half the Hispanic job growth in recent years has occurred in construction, which is poised to expand even further as workers rebuild the nation’s long-neglected airports, bridges and roads.
Hispanic contractors and workers are already in the forefront of Mr. Trump’s border wall construction plan — a painful irony for the president’s liberal immigration critics. Most of these contractors are U.S. citizens or long-time permanent residents, proud Americans committed to keeping their homeland safe and secure.
Then came Midterms 2018:
Here's more analysis from The Hill, with a headline that reads: "GOP makes inroads with Hispanics in Florida"
Florida Republicans picked up a larger share of Hispanic voters in 2018 than President Trump did in 2016, suggesting the party is making inroads with a key voting block in the swing state.
Two statewide GOP candidates — Gov. Rick Scott and former Rep. Ron DeSantis — won their races. Scott will become Florida's junior senator, while DeSantis will succeed Scott as governor.
Scott's campaign spent $4 million on Spanish-language advertising, the most of any entity in the United States over the 2018 campaign cycle.
“In terms of working Hispanics in Florida, Scott showed how you’re supposed to campaign in Spanish in Florida,” said David Custin, head of DRC Consulting, a campaign and lobbying firm in Florida. “He made the effort and put in the financial commitment and the blood, sweat and tears.”
DeSantis won 44 percent of Florida Hispanic votes in 2018, a 13 percent increase over Scott's 2014 performance, according to exit polling.
Custin said DeSantis was helped by his running mate, Cuban-American businesswoman Jeanette Nuñez, who almost certainly won votes for him in South Florida.
Both races were decided after recounts by less than half a percentage point in a state that is 25 percent Hispanic.
The good news in Florida was a bright spot for the GOP, which saw Hispanic voters contribute to flipping Republican House or Senate seats in Texas, Arizona, Colorado and California.
Some of those results are likely to raise questions among Republicans over whether the party needs to do more to attract Hispanic voters. Nationwide, exit polls show Democrats won the Hispanic vote by 40 percentage points.
Florida's diverse Hispanic population has long been known as the most Republican, led by Cuban Americans who have a traditional identification with the GOP since the 1960s.
Still, Hispanic voter registration trends over the past decade in Florida heavily favor Democrats.
In 2006, 414,000 Hispanics were registered as Republicans, 370,000 as Democrats and 317,000 as independents. In 2018, 837,000 Hispanics were registered Democrats, 775,000 independents, and 527,000 Republicans, according to the Pew Research Center.
Two major demographic changes have played a part in that shift: Newer arrivals from Cuba and younger Cuban-Americans are less likely to register as Republicans, and the state's Puerto Rican population has ballooned. It’s now roughly equal in size to the Cuban-American population.
An analysis by University of Florida Department of Political Science Chair Daniel Smith, shows that only about 27 percent of Florida’s Puerto Ricans voted early or by absentee ballot, according to a report by the Orlando Sentinel.
It found that about 44 percent of Cuban-Americans in the state voted early or filed absentee ballots.
Low participation among Puerto Ricans would almost certainly have hurt Democrats, who've courted that electorate in part as a counterweight to the GOP-friendly Cuban-American bloc.
Mark Hugo Lopez, director of Hispanic research at Pew, said registration trendlines heavily favor Democrats and independents, though that still leaves space for Republican candidates.
He said different subsets of the Florida Hispanic community could part from the traditional behavior of registering and voting for the same party.
“They may be more likely to vote Republican even if they don’t register Republican," said Lopez.