The Hispanic vote isn't 'naturally conservative,' expert claims

Dr. Stephen Steinlight of the Center for Immigration Studies also explains about the meaning behind Photo: Associated Press

OCALA, Fla., December 20, 2013 — For almost the last three decades, America’s Hispanic vote has been a lottery jackpot for Republican politicos.

They try again and again to win it, against increasingly stiff odds. All the while, an untold sum is spent chasing the dream. At the end of the day, though, all GOPers have to show are empty pockets and an angry electoral base.

Just what is this base so aggravated by, though? Furthermore, why doesn’t a Hispanic majority ever vote Republican in national races?

Both of these questions are highly important. Neither can match the following, however: What does “Hispanic” really mean?

In theory, the term denotes an individual descended from lands once controlled by the Spanish Empire. In practice, though, things are not so clear cut.

“The nexus between Hispanics and immigration is so critical it’s impossible to discuss immigration without focusing primarily on Hispanics,” Dr. Stephen Steinlight of the Center for Immigration Studies explains to The Washington Times Communities.

He continues: “Overwhelmingly Mexican, they have dominated legal and illegal immigration flows so completely since passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 as to make Hispanic immigration virtually conterminous with immigration itself. 

“Immigrants from the next eight largest sending countries combined don’t equal their number. A shared 2,000-mile-long border, the longest on earth between a First and Third World economy explains much, as does abdication of border control by US Administrations.

“Authoritative data establish why Hispanic immigration to a modern post-industrial knowledge-based economy and society where socio-economic advancement depends on education and which supports an enormous welfare system is highly problematic.

“Hispanic immigration represents a massive infusion of low-skill labor and constitutes the importation of poverty on a monumental scale. High percentages depend on welfare and lack medical insurance.

SEE RELATED: Jesus Christ’s nativity story is probably false, experts say

“Hispanic poverty is not a product of legal status; it results from inferior education. Some 32 percent haven’t finished 9th grade; some 62 percent lack a high school diploma. A third is illiterate in Spanish.  Divided loyalties also raise concern. Polls show a majority of Mexican immigrants regard the US Southwest as belonging to Mexico.”

Some claim that Hispanics are “natural conservatives” due to their family-oriented culture. This allegedly makes them Republicans in all but formal registration. Such an idea is controversial because election totals usually do anything other than reflect it.

“The premise and stereotype are equally false,” Steinlight says. “There’s no correlation between ‘strong family values’ and conservatism. Cultures perceived as possessing them (i.e. Asian Americans and Jewish Americans) are predominantly liberal.  Moreover, whether understood generically or as socially conservative code language, Hispanics don’t exemplify ‘strong family values.’

“Illegitimacy is inimical to ‘family values,’ yet Hispanics have a high rate and have witnessed the greatest increase of any group: 19 percent in1980 to 42 percent in 2003. More female-headed single-parent households deepens Hispanic poverty resulting in anti-social behavior such as teenage child-bearing, the highest school drop-out rate, and high crime and incarceration rates.   

“Nor do Hispanics hold conservative views.

“A 2012 Pew poll finds Hispanics support gay marriage more than other Americans: 54 percent in favor and 34 percent opposed. Gallop reports the US public more evenly divided.  The identical majority, 59 percent of Hispanics and other Americans, support the mainstreaming of homosexuals. Moreover, Hispanics don’t vote on the basis of ‘values.’

“Lopsided support for the Democrats reflects leftist views on economic policy.  Only 34 percent view capitalism favorably, lowest of any group surveyed.  Hispanics look more positively on government than non-Latino whites or African Americans. 81 percent supports a bigger government dispensing more social services; just 41 percent of other Americans agree. Hispanics are more conservative only with regard to abortion.”

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Joseph Cotto

Joseph F. Cotto is a social journalist by trade and student of history by lifestyle choice. He hails from central Florida, writing about political, economic, and social issues of the day. In the past, he was a contributor to Blogcritics Magazine, among other publications. He is currently at work on a book about American society.

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