Sixty-five percent of Hispanic Americans call themselves Democrats, and most elected Latinos in Congress are Democrats. But Democratic candidates should not assume that Latinos vote strictly by party.
Traditional Democratic issues, civil rights, immigrants’ rights, social programs to aid the poor, are important to Latinos. But so are such Republican watchwords as law and order, family values, and support for religion and parochial schools.
In fact, the Republican Party gets more money in campaign contributions from Latinos than does the Democratic Party. The reason is that the most affluent Hispanic Americans tend to be Cuban exiles, who have money to donate and are usually Republican.
The divided loyalties of Hispanic Americans have kept them from becoming a monolithic voting bloc. It has also kept politicians from taking their votes for granted.
This is important, given that the number of Hispanic American voters is growing several times faster than the electorate as a whole.