Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Hispanic Economic Surge: Could This Change Political Dynamics?

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Democrat politicians clearly count on a strong amount of support among Hispanic voters — those whose ancestry is from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Central and South America, Cuba — to forge a winning coalition in American elections. They were extremely disappointed when Donald Trump garnered 35 percent of the Hispanic vote in Florida in the 2016 presidential election, critical in his capturing the Sunshine State over Hillary Clinton.

And, not only that, Trump did better nationally among Hispanics than Mitt Romney had done in 2012 (with 27 percent nationally) and much better than Bob Dole did in 1996, with a dismal 21 percent.

New statistics released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau are therefore not only great news for Hispanics in the United States, but are also potentially troubling news for Democratic Party election hopes. According to Census Bureau data, the median income for Hispanics grew by 3.7 percent, adjusted for inflation, last year. That is more than double the increase enjoyed by all households in the booming U.S. economy. Median weekly earnings for Hispanics full-time has increased by 4.3 percent, adjusted for inflation, for the past two years.

And one knows that the Democrats are highly concerned about how all of this good economic news is going to negatively affect their political hopes, probably explaining why former President Barack Obama traveled to a friendly college campus — the University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana — to claim credit for just how well the economy is faring.

But Obama’s effort to divert attention away from Trump is not supported by the facts. Hispanic household incomes peaked in 2006, and it was not until 2015 that they managed to match those levels seen before the Great Recession of 2008. During Obama’s term of office, from 2010 to 2014, American household incomes stagnated.

What is particularly amazing about the Trump Recovery is its effect upon the Hispanic population. Labor Department statistics released this month reveal that the unemployment rate among Hispanics is now below five percent — the lowest ever recorded. In stark contrast, this level of unemployment is less than half the horrible unemployment rate for Hispanics during Obama’s second term.

It has been suggested that economic fortunes among Hispanics are so rosy because they tend to start their own businesses, more so than the average American. Just since 2007, businesses owned by Hispanics have increased by nearly 50 percent!

When Obama was president, he regularly ridiculed the small business owner, with such snarky remarks as, “You didn’t build that,” in reference to his argument that it was government that should get the credit when a business succeeds. Trump, on the other hand, has implemented policies that include reducing the regulatory burden on the backs of business owners.

Is it surprising that Hispanic business owners have taken notice that Trump’s business polices are better for them than those inflicted upon them by the Obama administration? Is it any wonder that approval for Trump has swelled among Hispanics?

While many have noted the tax cuts pushed by Trump, the legislation passed by the Republican Congress also contained many things that have helped struggling small business owners. For example, there is the 20 percent small business tax deduction, which allows entrepreneurs to keep one-fifth of their earnings out of the hands of the tax collectors. This money can then be plowed back into the business, reducing the need for loans, and thus growing the business, rather than the debt of the business.

Politically, a shift of several percentage points in favor of Trump and the Republicans among Hispanic voters could even flip some purple states to red. For example, Florida, which Trump won in 2016, could move from a contested state to a relatively safe Trump state in 2020.

Other states with larger Hispanic populations, such as Colorado and Nevada and even New Mexico, could move into the Trump column.

In the short term, this surge of support could also help Trump-supporting Republican Senate candidates such as Cruz in Texas, who is facing a fierce challenge from a liberal Democratic Party opponent.

As a matter of fact, a significant increase in support by Hispanics in favor of Trump might even place such Democratic Party strong-holds as deep blue California in play for 2020. While some contend that such speculation is just “California Dreamin',” how many political “experts” expected Trump to take Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania in 2016?

If the Democrats were to lose their stranglehold on the Golden State, their brand of radical politics might be in full retreat, and the Democrats would be pleading, No mas.

Photo: Feverpitched/iStock/Getty Images Plus

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