June 17, 2022

Article at Main Street Nashville

Ruthenberg: Hispanic political earthquake strikes Democrats

A political earthquake struck Texas Tuesday night and its tremors may be felt for years to come.

Republican Mayra Flores, 36, defeated Democrat Dan Sanchez in the special election for Texas’ 34th congressional district and in doing so will become the first-ever Mexican-born congresswoman.

By winning the special election, prompted by the retirement of Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela, she also shattered another mark. Flores will be the first Republican to represent the Rio Grande Valley since 1871.

It was a convincing win for Flores in the all-party special election, defeating Sanchez 51-43% in the 85% Hispanic district, thus avoiding a runoff.

Flores will face another election challenge in November due to redistricting when she will square-off against Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, who currently represents the 15th congressional district. The new district leans slightly more Democratic (63%) than the current 34th district (54%).

While much of the national media were stunned, and diligently tried to downplay Flores’ victory — because carrying water for the Democratic Party is what it does best — astute observers saw this one coming, and it was due in no small part to the Democratic Party’s own condescending attitude toward Hispanic voters.

Combined with the fact Democrats have not only taken for granted the Hispanic vote, but have badly miscalculated the impact of illegal immigration, not to mention being saddled with an increasingly unpopular president, it was the perfect storm and it is likely to carry more GOP candidates into office.

Flores, a respiratory care practitioner, has been an outspoken critic of our nation’s porous border that has seen illegal immigration skyrocket since Biden and the Democrats took control of the White House and both branches of Congress. Biden and the Democrats have long, rather insultingly, viewed support for illegal immigration as translating into currying favor with Hispanic voters and potentially securing future Hispanic votes. But now, reality may be hitting the Dems squarely on the chin.

The numbers of those captured at the border have been staggering but equally, if not more troubling, are the number of “got aways,” i.e. those who evaded our overworked border patrol. As others have noted, those “got aways” got away into the neighborhoods surrounding the border, and those residents are the ones feeling it most.

It seems Hispanics, apparently to the shock of the Democrats and their media acolytes, are law-abiding and do not look favorably upon those coming to America illegally, especially when many have endured the rather arduous process of legally becoming American citizens. Also, like their fellow Americans, they are seeing the damage that is being caused not just by illegal immigration (and the increasingly rich, powerful drug cartels that bring the migrants across the border along with deadly amounts of Fentanyl), but in the overall damage Biden has done to the American economy.

Flores hit on that when, after her election-night win, she tweeted: “This win is for the people who were ignored for so long! This is a message that the establishment will no longer be tolerated! We have officially started a red wave!”

Indeed, her win should not be considered a one-off fluke victory for the GOP. Recent polling shows the Democrats are badly underwater with Hispanic voters and sinking fast among most voters.

A recent Quinnipiac University poll revealed that only 24% of Hispanic voters approve of Biden’s job performance. That is a devastating number for a demographic Biden and his party have long assumed was safely and securely in their pocket.

The rest of the results of the poll — which was conducted from June 3-6 and surveyed 1,576 U.S. adults nationwide, including 1,413 registered voters and had a +/- 2.5% margin of error — was equally telling and troublesome for the Democrats.

Only 49% of Black voters said they approve of Biden’s job performance. Overall, 64% of respondents disapprove of Biden’s handling of the economy.

Biden only received a 33% overall approval rating among all those polled. Keep in mind these numbers are just barely 18 months into Biden’s presidency, who supposedly got more votes than any other presidential candidate in history.

All of this portends very favorably for the Republican Party as the midterm elections approach. But for Democrats, a significant ill-wind is blowing, much of it self-inflicted and well-deserved.

Dave Ruthenberg is a multiple award-winning columnist and is opinion editor at Main Street Nashville.