Current vote totals put President-elect Joe Biden around 5.5 million votes ahead of President Donald Trump, but certain local battles ended far closer, indicating a noticeable shift in numbers for Trump among Hispanic and Asian voters.
Trump won big in Florida, and Hispanic-heavy Miami-Dade County shows a strong example of why: while Biden won the county, Trump lost by less than 100,000 votes – a far smaller gap compared to the nearly 300,000 votes by which he fell behind Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Analysts have largely attributed this shrinking gap to a change in Hispanic voter attitudes in the county, but Florida is not the only place that such a shift occurred.
Texas and California also saw similar shifts, though perhaps not to the same degree as in Florida. Overall, the Republicans only picked up House seats in districts that were not heavily carried by Trump if there was a heavy Hispanic or Asian population, according to the New York Times.
A now-famous Democrat conference call shortly after the election revealed frustrations in the party over the losses, with pre-election projections instead indicating a “blue wave” that would have seen the party pick up seats.
Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., harshly criticized the party’s Latino outreach program – a view shared by other Latino and Hispanic representatives.
“Defund police, open borders, socialism – it’s killing us,” Rep. Vincente Gonzalez, D-Texas, said on the call. “I had to fight to explain all that.”
Gonzalez argued that the associations with socialism differ wildly for Hispanic and Asian migrant populations: while the “average white person” may think of the Nordic model, these migrant populations may instead recall despotic “left-wing regimes” in Cuba and South East Asia.
In a Washington Post op-ed, data analyst David Byler pointed out that the 2016 Trump campaign was a low point in Republican efforts to appeal to Latino voters, which may have made the Democrats overconfident in their support going into the 2020 election.
In fact, Byler argues that Latino outreach had declined over the previous few election cycles, most notably Mitt Romney’s quote about wanting undocumented immigrants to “self-deport.”
Some analysts argue that Trump carefully restructured his campaign approach in 2020, shifting his focus from building the border wall and onto “law and order,” which was focused on left-wing groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter.
That shift in focus may have been enough to garner stronger support among Hispanic populations that do not see themselves as immigrants as they become further assimilated into broad American culture.
“There’s a lot of parallels between a community that’s 96% Hispanic and a community that’s 96% white,” Freddy Guerra, a former mayor of Roma, Texas, told the Wall Street Journal. “Racism is not something that people deal with in Starr County because everybody’s Brown.”
“Climate change isn’t something they feel. They prefer bread on the table.”