Republican Party

Are Republicans Having a Latino Moment?

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Originally published May 4, 2015. Initial text below:

"You get all these rural Mexicans who hate the government, hate taxes, love guns, and love the liberty to get as drunk as they want. Perfect Republicans. But the Republicans will never know that," says Gustavo Arellano, author of the OC Weekly's "¡Ask a Mexican!" column and author of the bookTaco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America. "So there is that opening for libertarianism to get more Latinos that way."

Calls for restricting Latino immigration in the United States has damaged the Republican brand among the Hispanic electorate, says Arellano. Since George W. Bush won over 40 percent of the Hispanic vote after declaring that "family values don't stop at the Rio Grande," Republicans lost that same segment to President Obama in 2012 by a two-to-one margin

The GOP is hoping the 2016 election will bring Hispanics back to the conservative fold by offering up not one, but two Hispanic candidates—Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz—for the presidential nomination. 

But Arellano says that Cruz and Rubio are probably the worst candidates to attract Hispanic voters. 

"Ted Cruz—I kind of feel bad for him because people make fun of him for not speaking Spanish. But a lot of people making fun of him for that also can't speak Spanish," says Arellano. "So I feel some sympathy for the guy, but I feel that people view him as being too much of a wonk to be president."

"On the other hand," says Arellano, "Rubio is the Great Brown Hope for the GOP, but there's just something about him that rubs Latinos the wrong way. He's just a little bit too preachy and precious for everyone's taste."

Aside from personal traits, another possible sticking point is the Cuban heritage of Rubio and Cruz. 

"Mexicans, we love Cubans. We love the boxers. We love the baseball players. We love the singers. But when it comes to the political side of the Cuban-American experience, we despise them," says Arellano. The problem, he says, stems from the "wet-foot, dry-foot policy" during the Cold War which automatically granted citizenship or refugee status that made it to American soil. "On the other hand, Mexicans—for over a century—we've been coming here, not only for jobs but also fleeing violence in our homeland…and fleeing economic desperation and yet we were always classified as illegals."

"There is no way someone who thinks of Mexicans as human beings will win the Republican nomination. Ever," states Arellano. "What the Republicans need to learn if they want to stay a viable party that is they have to learn Mexicans are human. Undocumented people are human."

Yet Republican repugnance isn't the end of the story. The Democrats' policy of deportation—despite recent steps, Barack Obama has deported a record number of Hispanics—has left Hispanics in search of a political alternative. That, says Arellano, creates a giant opportunity for libertarians in both major parties. "Young Latinos, like all young people, hate both the Democrats and the Republicans. They hate the Republicans because they demonize Latinos. They hate the Democrats because they deport Latinos. So there's no way on earth we want to stay with either of these parties."

His statements pan out. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that almost as many Hispanic Americans identify as libertarian as do whites. 

"The great thing for me about a Latino identity is that you make it what you want of yourself," says Arellano. "There's this great line that an artist once said that my definition of an American is to be as Mexican as I want. So for me, my definition of Latino is to do whatever I want to do in this country. I get to choose that identity."

Produced by Alexis Garcia. Camera by Alex Manning and Paul Detrick. Chart graphic by Jason Kiesling. Music by Kevin MacLeod. 

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  1. “There is no way someone who thinks of Mexicans as human beings will win the Republican nomination.”

    There is no way someone who thinks of Republicans in such hysterical, stereotypical ways is going to vote Republican, or serve as a credible advisor to Republicans on how to reach out to swing voters.

    1. Yep. And feminism is the radical belief that women etc. etc. I don’t fully bought into the closed borders crowd, but it’s not outrageous to suggest that maybe, just maybe, we need to roll back the welfare state first. Bryan Caplan’s work on the topic seems sound and rebukes the hardcore anti-immigrant bloc, but his presupposition is that the behavior of immigrants (legal and otherwise) won’t change if we lift the onus on immigration.

      1. “just maybe, we need to roll back the welfare state first.”

        The welfare state will never be rolled back…it can only collapse.

        Regardless a bird in hand is better then two in bush.

        Freedom regained now is better then waiting for some phantom promise of two freedoms in the future.

        1. But ending up with a bigger welfare state is taking away even more freedom from me and since I am already in the US and don’t need to immigrate to the US I don’t get any freedom from open immigration to the USA.

          1. But ending up with a bigger welfare state

            Yeah yeah sure…it was the illegals that made Bush sign the prescription drug benefit law and prevents the block granting of medicare or blocks the creation of personal accounts for social security or blocks charter schools.

            Give me a fucking break.

            1. It was the legals who did and immigrants are becoming a bigger part of elections and both party leadership are trying to get their votes. Bush gives away drugs, Obama gives away medical insurance.

            2. The two republican presidents in the last fifty years that won the largest percentage of Latino votes were Nixon and Bush. Big goverment, welfare expanding, national security statists.

              The fantasy of latinos, especially immigrants, as proto-libertarians is great and all, but it’s just that – a fantasy.

    2. “What the Republicans need to learn if they want to stay a viable party that is they have to learn Mexicans are human. Undocumented people are human.”

      What a novel idea?!?! Has anybody suggested it to the Mexican government vis a vis their assimilation of Hondurans, Guatemalans, Salvadorans, etc.

  2. As to Cuba – their government stole the property of American companies without compensation, and hosted Soviet missiles, thus endangering the peace, or even the existence, of the world. Yeah, why would the USA want to take in refugees from a country like that?

    1. Libertarians all of a sudden become dirty collectivists when it comes to immigration for some reason.

    2. How does taking in Cubam refugees have any effect on property confication and Soviet missiles?

    3. We could use more immigrants from Cuba, just as we could use more free markets there.

  3. I don’t know where that quote came from but here’s a similar one from “Gustavo Arellano:”

    A 2014 Pew Hispanic Center survey showed that 11 percent of Latinos surveyed identified as libertarian?almost as many as gabachos! As I’ve been writing since you were in high school, Mexican immigrants from the countryside and their descendents (the majority of Mexicans) are natural libertarians, what with their up-by-the-bootstraps mentality, skepticism toward government of any kind, hatred of the police and love of liberty (let us play our tamborazo in the backyard and raise chickens in peace!)?but they also bring with them social mores from the days of having sex through a hole in the sheet. It’s those pesky chilangos and Chicano Studies yaktivists like myself who push our cousins and parents toward modernity, toward them accepting the primo in the closet and explaining why words like joto and puto just aren’t cool anymore. Needless to say, the struggle es real?

    http://www.unz.com/garellano/w…..-mexicans/

    The libertarianism he sees in his people is not seen as a good thing but as a sign of backwardness. Arellano is a liberal who understands the need for a massive welfare state. I’ve emailed him to inform him of reason’s deceptive use of his words.

    1. Shut the fuck up, American. We know it’s you, you racist idiot.

    2. Doesn’t mean he’s necessarily wrong about the Republican divide, and isn’t a source of some insight for Republicans.

  4. Reason has established its credibility on the Mexican issue. Likewise with the other two key planks of the libertarian platform (h/t John).

  5. So we’re experiencing a Spicpotbuttseckstarian moment?

    Not sure about that.

  6. Arellano’s views don’t square with my experience as a Libertarian of Mexican heritage nor my wife’s (I’m married to a Latina, with 2 kids) dealing with the immigrant community.

    Latinos who come to the US don’t hate Government per se. They hate their former countries’ governments. Arellano is obtuse in not seeing the obvious difference.

    The vast majority of Latino immigrants we’ve dealt with are complete Statists who love Government involvement in everything. When my wife protested at the Latino PTA meeting about excessive police drug searches at the high school, she was nearly shouted down by the parents of the same kids getting searched. Good luck finding a Libertarian in that crowd!

    Simply put, they don’t object to big Government. They do dislike oppression. But they see no oppression in the Welfare State as presently administered here in the US, because others are paying. Most of these folks are not going to vote GOP. They’re sure as shit not going to be Libertarians. Immigration is the toughest issue for Libertarians, imho. In theory it’s all great. In practice, with the Welfare State we have now in the US, immigration is the rope Democrats will use to hang Libertarians.

    Maybe it’s better to get crushed with your ideals intact than make some sleazy pact with Republicans on this issue. But Libertarians who think that inside the Immigration pinata are 100 Libertarians waiting to fall out if they just hit the issue hard enough are deluding themselves big time.

    1. “the Latino PTA meeting”

      Hmm…

      I think you are a rare breed of libertarian that goes to PTA meetings to speak.

      I am pretty sure most people who go to them are statist regardless of ethnicity.

      The white PTA meetings are the same. Anti-statists at PTA meetings get shouted down nation wide.

    2. But Libertarians who think that inside the Immigration pinata

      Why does it have to be a pinata? RACIST!

      1. “What Is A Plethora”

        “Why Elguapo?”

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mTUmczVdik

  7. You get all these rural Mexicans who hate the government, hate taxes, love guns, and love the liberty to get as drunk as they want. Perfect Republicans.

    Ya know, the only part of that which describes Republicans as opposed to Democrats is “love guns”.

    Repubs don’t hate the government. They hate for the government to be run by Democrats.

    Everybody (Rep and Dem alike) hates the taxes that they pay. Neither seems particularly opposed to taxes paid by other people.

    Repubs may or may not love the liberty to get as drunk as they want (some probably do, others are SoCon anti-libertines), but, like Dems, they seem to have no problem with laws punishing other people who get as drunk as they want.

    Its almost like he’s never met any Republicans.

  8. “You get all these rural Mexicans who hate the government, hate taxes, love guns, and love the liberty to get as drunk as they want. Perfect Republicans.”

    WTF?!?!

    He stole my material!!!

    1. “Corning|5.3.15 @ 3:18PM|#

      What the fuck is wrong with the conservo-libertarains in this thread?

      Seriously have you ever met a Mexican immigrant? They are macho Christian family oriented hard working red necks who listen to county music (or at least the Hispanic equivalent of “umpa” music) drive old ford trucks and drink cheap beer. Seriously, how I tell an immigrant from 2nd or 3rd generation mexican-american is the immigrant is wearing a cowboy hat, a button down western shirt, and cowboy boots.

      This whole Mexicans are culturally incompatible with American culture is complete and utter fucking bullshit of the highest order.”

      https://reason.com/reasontv/201…..nt_5274979

      Highway fucking robbery!!

      1. What’s up with highway robbery? What are they doing with all that asphalt?

        1. Fun fact: There were highwaymen before there was asphalt.

        2. What are they doing with all that asphalt?

          Shipping it to Somalia?

      2. This whole Mexicans are culturally incompatible with American culture is complete and utter fucking bullshit of the highest order.

        Nobody said that or anything like that.

        1. On the thread at which I posted that there was.

          I left a link. Feel free to use it.

          1. I did, even searched the word culture and variants. Of the 13 times it appeared nine were from you flogging a straw man, 3 were unrelated and one was a god honest culture complaint against Mexicans. So you came here to complain about one person’s comment from weeks ago? Thank you for your service to this cause I guess.

            1. “So you came here to complain about one person’s comment from weeks ago?”

              No I came here to fake complain about Gustavo Arellano stealing my material.

        2. I think regardless of country of origin assimilation is a foregone conclusion. May take two or three generations but it’s going to happen none the less.

          1. If there were any left I bet there would be some Serbians in Kosovo who would disagree with you. And Texas is NOT still a part of Mexico.

        3. All you’ve done is collectivize Mexicans to your liking. I know plenty of Mexicans who aren’t truck driving rednecks or anything close.

          Somehow we know incentives matter until it comes to immigration. The problem isn’t that there aren’t hard working Mexicans or welfare seeking Mexicans (or any other immigrant). The problem is that if you want to run a system that takes from the working to give to the non-working than the immigrants you attract will be the wrong ones. Which means either the welfare state has to go, or somebody donewhere has to be checking at the border to separate the two.

          1. “Which means either the welfare state has to go, or somebody donewhere has to be checking at the border to separate the two.”

            Bullshit.

            The welfare state has to go regardless of if we have immigrants. They certainly are not the reason why it is at such unsustainable levels. In fact the FICA taxes they have paid over the past 40 years have probably prolonged its life if anything.

            Also you know as well as anyone there will be no welfare reform no cutting it back…it will only collapse and it will probably take decades before that happens. Holding back natural freedoms from people now until the unachievable is achieved is just sick and cruel.

            1. I’m curious what these natural freedoms are? To move into the US? I suppose I could buy that. But then if we owe natural freedoms to people outside of our borders then doesn’t that imply a very interventionist military. It really suggest sthat we must stop people from infringing on their natural rights. Unless you happen to think we don’t owe people anything outside the borders.

              And whats your argument against the incentives point I made? We see this even within cities and between states. Is it really just that we should allow the welfare state to collapse from debt? Such an event would mean the country has gotten considerably poorer for almost everyone. I’m not exactly itching to crash the economy because viva la revolucion! Though I suspect we would just get poorer and not crash the economy either.

              1. “But then if we owe natural freedoms to people outside of our borders then doesn’t that imply a very interventionist military.”

                How can you owe a natural freedom?

                I am not talking about Obamacare and the sales pitch for it: “right” to health care.

                “And whats your argument against the incentives point I made?”

                Honestly I don’t think I need one. But if you want one it is you do not make government bigger to solve a problem created by big government nor do you use the excuse of an existing big government to stop the shrinking of it.

      3. “They are macho Christian family oriented hard working red necks who listen to county music (or at least the Hispanic equivalent of “umpa” music) drive old ford trucks and drink cheap beer.”

        So are a lot of union members with entitlement attitudes. They don;t vote republican either. The socon shit doesn’t sell anyways regardless of personal beliefs.

  9. I would personally love to have a Latino moment. I’d be a better dancer.

    1. I would like to have a latino twofer

      1. (strumming guitar)
        “Mexican-Americans don’t like to get up, in the morning, but they have to, so they do it real slow,
        Mexican-Americans take Spanish, in high school, and get a B….”

        /Cheech

  10. “My favourite author is John Steinbeck”

    *BAAAAARRRRFFFFFFF

  11. Zogby poll of people in Mexican concerning immigration from 2009.

    http://cis.org/ZogbyPoll-EffectsOfAmnesty

    1. More polling. The Latinos opinions were interesting.

      http://www.fairus.org/facts/il…..esty-polls

      1. But what do Mexican Millenials? think?

  12. The majority of the people south of the border are collectivists. To be fair, so are most of the people inside our borders.

    1. Aren’t you a Looziana man, Suthen? I’m channeling Doug Kershaw right now….

  13. They hate the Republicans because they demonize Latinos. They hate the Democrats because they deport Latinos. So there’s no way on earth we want to stay with either of these parties.

    Sadly, there are a lot of people who hate Rs and Ds, who aren’t remotely libertarian.

  14. Too bad Rubio and Cruz aren’t natural born Citizens.

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