The Youngkin Effect: Record Hispanic voter turnout

by Vianca Rodriguez

For decades, Democrats thought they held a stronghold over the Hispanic community within the United States. However, that belief slowly dissipated from the onset of the Republican Party’s revival with the 2015 candidacy of Donald J. Trump, correlated with an uptick in not just political polarization, but minority voter turnout and support for more conservative candidates ever since.

In what was generally viewed as a safe blue state that Biden carried by 10 percentage points in 2020, Republican Glenn Youngkin beat all odds with his recent victory in the Virginia governor’s race. But he wasn’t the only Republican who claimed victory last Tuesday. Virginians also elected the state’s first female African-American Lieutenant Governor, Winsome Sears (R), and the first Cuban-American Attorney General, Jason Miyares (R).

Youngkin’s victory should concern Democrats everywhere because Youngkin successfully managed to gain back those 10 percentage points that were lost to Biden. Not only that, but Axios confirmed Youngkin flipped 12 more counties red that had voted for President Biden just a year ago.

Are Democrats losing ground with Hispanic voters?

Analysts and pollsters credit Virginia’s sudden shift to the right to multiple factors, including the Biden administration’s underperformance with multiple, far-left controversial policies in a little under a year since taking office, and Biden’s own consistently failing presidential approval ratings (it was at 42 percent according to the most recent NBC News poll, lower than any other modern first-year president).

But what really sealed the deal, and perhaps a similar sentiment among Hispanic voters, is that Youngkin’s opponent, Terry McAuliffe, declared during NBC’s “Meet The Press” late September that parents shouldn’t have a say in their children’s school curriculums.

Cesar Ybarra, FreedomWorks Senior Director of Legislative Affairs

Cesar Ybarra, an immigrant from Mexico and Senior Director of Legislative Affairs with FreedomWorks, spoke to RSBN and revealed that recent polling conducted by FreedomWorks’ Hispanic Grassroots Alliance proved the top three issues most important to Hispanics are the economy, education, and healthcare. These issues very well validate Virginia’s recent election results.

“Hispanics want policies that will reduce their income tax burdens and allow them to work in a free market economy. That is what Glenn Youngkin campaigned on, while McCaulife spent his time obsessing on the issue of race, big government policies, and President Biden’s failed policies. Not even Obama and Harris were able to bail out his losing campaign,” Ybarra said.

Hispanics support school choice, as well as eliminating Critical Race Theory in public schools. Youngkin’s hammering on his opponent’s party regarding inflation and higher crime rates resonated with Latinos, as well. “That’s why voters, including Hispanics, rejected Terry McAuliffe at the ballot box on Tuesday,” Ybarra added.

Fox News‘ own exit poll confirmed that Youngkin won over Hispanic voters by nearly 10 percent. Youngkin received 54 percent compared to McAuliffe’s 45 percent.

Alberto Hamilton, conservative and LEXIT activist in Virginia.

Alberto Hamilton, a conservative activist from Old Town in Alexandria, Va. and a member of LEXIT’s Virginia chapter told RSBN that he supported Democrat candidates for most of his life, particularly former President Barack Obama. He is currently a DACA recipient and will be applying for legal residency in 2022.

Hamilton said that immigration remains a significant issue he cares about as an immigrant himself, but what made him realize he was no longer Democrat was the standoffish nature of liberal politicians. As a Christian, he also realized the Democrat Party no longer represented his pro-life values, and he could not get behind Critical Race Theory or the left’s gender policies.

“I feel belittled from Democrats. I don’t feel Republican or Democrat, but I’m conservative; center-right, because of certain issues. But it’s crazy that with the Democratic side, my experience is that. I feel belittled by them. They look at me sideways for speaking about certain things,” Hamilton said.

He added that although he was unable to vote in this election due to the nature of his citizenship status, his wife, who is a U.S. citizen, did vote, and voted for Youngkin. He remains optimistic that immigration reform may be something Republicans can help improve, while also remaining hopeful Youngkin would bring about “positive changes” to “things that need to be fixed in the state.”

What does this mean for Republicans in future elections?

Cesar Ybarra argues that although many Hispanics continue to favor Democrat politicians, their values and beliefs mostly align with conservative policies.

“FreedomWorks’ Hispanic Grassroots Alliance is going to work in key states like Texas, Florida, and Arizona to educate voters on the importance of aligning their conservative values with the conservative candidates,” Ybarra said. “While the voting trends are noticeable, the change that we want to see in the Latino vote is not going to happen overnight. We must continue to work hard to earn the trust of this demographic and Republicans must then deliver on their campaign promises.”

Across the nation, Republican candidates have been faring better in districts composed of Hispanic majorities that have historically voted Democrat. Just recently, a district in Texas that is 73 percent Hispanic elected Republican John Lujan, for instance.

Recognizing what went right during Virginia’s neck-and-neck battleground elections is a surefire way for Republicans to regroup, capitalize, and capture more wins in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections and beyond.

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