US
Is the Democratic Party too far left for some Latinos?
In an interview with LPO, Dr. Manuel Pastor, director of the Equity Research Institute at the University of Southern California, analyce the shift.

A shift towards the progressive left by the Democratic Party may have caused some Latinos in the United States to turn towards the Republicans, particularly those with fears of socialism stemming from their countries of origin, according to experts.

During the 2020 election, statistics show that there was a "swing" towards the Republican Party by a minority of Latinos across the country, particularly among Cubans and non-Cubans alike in South Florida, and in New Jersey, Massachusetts and other locations.

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In an interview with LPO, Dr. Manuel Pastor, a political analyst and the director of the Equity Research Institute at the University of Southern California, said that part of the reason for this shift may have been due to the fact that the Progressive, far-left wing of the Democratic Party is more influential than in previous years.

"The Democratic Party has moved to the left," he said. "Progressives hold more sway than they did in 2016, 2012 or 2008."

The Democratic Party has moved to the left. That's very scary to Cuban, Venezuelan and Nicaraguan voters, or others who have fled Socialist regimes and carry a great deal of dear. They don't draw a big distinction between a Bernie Sanders and a Nicolas Maduro.

Among the positions that he highlighted were efforts to raise the minimum wage to $15, support for comprehensive immigration reform, efforts to address climate change or discussions around police brutality.

"Those became pretty mainstream positions within the Democratic Party," Dr. Pastor said. "That led conservatives to be able to say that the Democratic Party is shifting left and runs the risk of socialism."

"That's very scary to Cuban, Venezuelan and Nicaraguan voters, or others who have fled Socialist regimes and carry a great deal of dear," he added. "They don't draw a big distinction between a Bernie Sanders and a Nicolas Maduro."

Additionally, Dr. Pastor said that many of the issues have been exacerbated by misinformation and rumors spread on Spanish-language social media outlets.

 

"There was a lot going on in Spanish-language social media. Misinformation that occurs in English gets reported by the Washington Post or New York times, but with misinformation that occurs in Spanish, nobody pays attention," he added.

Why are some Latino voters supporting the Republican Party?

"There was quite a bit of misinformation that Biden was a socialist and trying to paint the political situation as the end of capitalism and the beginning of communism under a Biden regime," Dr. Pastor said. "A lot of that would have been fact-checked in English and reported, but didn't. Spanish-language social media can whip people into a fervor."

Other political analysts have noted that fears of the left may ultimately be damaging to the Biden administration.

In March, for example, Center for American Progress data analyst David Shor told New York Magazine that a focus on Progressive political priorities could harm Biden's levels of support among minorities, including Latinos.

That led conservatives to be able to say that the Democratic Party is shifting left and runs the risk of socialism.

"In the summer, following the emergence of ‘defund the police' as a nationally salient issue, support for Biden among Hispanic voters declined," he said. "The decline that we saw was very large."

This, Shor added, also applies to immigration in many cases.

"In test after test that we've done with Hispanic voters, talking about immigration commonly sparks backlash," he said. "Asking voters whether they lean toward Biden and Trump, and emphasizing the Democratic position on immigration, often caused Biden's share of support among Latino respondents to decline." 

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