Donald Trump lost the presidency, but showed Republicans a way to win the culture wars with working-class Hispanics.
Despite four years of being defined as a racist for his rhetoric and harsh immigration policies, Trump improved his margins in 78 of the nation’s 100 majority-Hispanic counties. And he did better with Latinos in exit polls of each of the top 10 battleground states, a POLITICO review of election data found.
Joe Biden still won Latino voters overall. But as post-election data trickles in, Democrats are growing concerned. Trump’s notable gains weren’t limited to Miami’s Cuban Americans or border-region Tejanos. Although Florida and Texas stood out for the notable shift, Puerto Ricans as far away as Philadelphia and Mexican Americans in Milwaukee drifted Trump-ward.
Trump improved his showing among Latinos by scaling back some of his immigration rhetoric and engaging in a sustained bilingual social media and TV ad campaign that courted Latinos based on place of origin, gender and religion.
But, in interviews with more than a dozen experts on Hispanic voters in six states, no factor was as salient as Trump’s blue-collar appeal for Latinos.