Latinos are expected to continue moving away from the Democratic Party in the upcoming midterm elections because the party has become “anti-Christian” and “anti-religious liberty,” according to the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, a leader in the faith community.
Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, weighed in on the political realignment of Latino voters in an interview with The Christian Post. He attributed Latino voters' “abandoning the Democratic Party or leftist ideologies” to “their commitment to life,” referring to their opposition to abortion. “That commitment to life stems primarily out of our faith,” he said.
Citing “every single survey from The Wall Street Journal” and other news outlets, Rodriguez proclaimed that “Latinos are abandoning the Democratic Party in droves.” A Journal poll released in March revealed Latinos supported the Republican congressional candidate over the Democratic contender by 9 points in this year’s midterm elections.
Another poll conducted in late April by Marist University in conjunction with NPR and PBS NewsHour found 52% of Latinos supporting the Republican candidate for Congress in the upcoming midterm elections compared to 39% who would vote for the Democrat. Exit polling conducted by CNN following the 2020 presidential election revealed that Latinos supported President Joe Biden, a Democrat, over former President Donald Trump, a Republican, by 33 points.
If the polls taken thus far end up reflecting the actual political preferences of Latinos, it would constitute a massive shift. Rodriguez pointed to South Texas as a “screenshot” of this phenomenon, noting that “the districts that used to be blue are now red.” He told CP that “these are districts with 87%, 89%, 90% Latino populations, and now they’re becoming all red.”
“What does that tell you? It tells you the Democratic Party is not the party of Bill Clinton, it’s not the party of Jimmy Carter, it’s not even the party of Barack Obama in 2008,” he added. “The Democratic Party is no longer that party.”
Rodriguez characterized today’s Democrats as “a new progressive, socialist, anti-right, anti-Christian” party that “completely ignores the rights of individuals and the idea that we are created in the image of God, with God-ordained rights.” He maintained that “Latinos are not going to stand for that because we are a people of faith.”
Speaking about the Democratic Party’s policy positions, Rodriguez described the Biden administration’s engagement with faith leaders as “terrible.” He contrasted the Biden administration’s approach to dealing with faith issues with his Democratic predecessor, former President Barack Obama: “The secret sauce behind President Obama was the fact that he invited people who disagreed with him, especially as it pertains to faith leaders. He would invite them in and hear them out and wasn’t intimidated by different opinions.”
Rodriguez contended that “the Biden administration has a very myopic” and “rigid tunnel vision worldview, which is if you don’t agree with 100% of all of my policies, you cannot sit at my table.” Under this approach, he added, “there is absolutely no way you can engage the faith community in any viable or sustainable way.”
“The Biden administration completely disavowed the Evangelical community, it disavows the conservative Catholic community. So who are they engaging? They are engaging just an echo chamber of mutual affirmation.”
Rodriguez defined the Biden administration’s embrace of “the most liberal, progressive, red letter of Gospel, pro-abortion people instead of hearing individuals who may have a dissenting opinion that can chime in and agree on certain areas” as evidence of a “lack of maturity” and “limited bandwidth.” He asserted that former “President Trump had 5G faith outreach, President Obama had 5G faith outreach, and President Biden has analog, not even LTE, not even 3G, not 4G, we’re back to flip phones.”
According to data compiled by the Democrat progressive blog the Daily Kos, which keeps track of presidential election results at the congressional district level, the congressional districts based in South Texas swung heavily toward the Republican Party in the 2020 presidential election. Texas’ 15th Congressional District, which supported Democrat Hillary Clinton over Trump in the 2016 presidential election by a margin of nearly 17 points, only supported Biden by less than 2 percentage points in the 2020 election.
Texas’ 28th Congressional District went from supporting Clinton by nearly 20 points in 2016 to backing Biden by only 4 points in 2020. Texas’ 34th Congressional District backed Clinton by almost 22 points in 2016. By 2020, Biden only carried it by 4 points.
Redistricting has altered the composition of all three districts ahead of the 2022 elections, with the 15th District becoming more Republican and the other two districts becoming more Democratic. The Republican Congressional Campaign Committee has included all three of them on its list of seats it hopes to flip in this year’s election.
Rodriguez predicted that a Republican takeover of the U.S. House and Senate could result in the passage of a comprehensive immigration reform package. He also outlined his priorities for such legislation, including “the protection of our borders, which means securing our borders, stopping all illegal immigration.”
“It means finishing the wall, if not physically through infrared technology, satellite imaging, using our drones, using every single resource in the proverbial arsenal in order to stop all illegal immigration,” he stressed. After advocating for the reinstatement of the Trump-era policy requiring asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their cases are adjudicated, Rodriguez called for the granting of citizenship to the “dreamers,” immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
However, Rodriguez insisted that “their parents who came here illegally should never be granted citizenship.” He remained open to the possibility of granting dreamers’ parents a “permanent green card, reiterating that “they have completely disqualified themselves from ever becoming citizens” because “there is a price to pay for coming to this country illegally and that should be the price.”
Addressing the topic of abortion, Rodriguez suggested that “the pro-life movement continues to thrive” due to the “demographical shifts of America” associated with a growing Latino population, adding, “The pro-life movement is healthier than ever before.” He also condemned the leaking of the draft majority opinion in the U.S. Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health as “egregious” and “criminal.”
Rodriguez emphasized that if the draft opinion in Dobbs, which is not final, becomes the final opinion and ruling, abortion will not become “illegal in America.” Instead, the issue will go “back to the states and then what we will see will be states making modifications”to their abortion laws. He expressed hope that, at the very least, U.S. abortion laws would become more in line with those of the rest of the world, where it's “legal in the first trimester and then afterwards only under very, very specific circumstances.”
“Not that I agree with that. I am pro-life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural departure from this planet, but it is more in mind with the rest of the world instead of aligning us with North Korea and China and other regimes that have no concern whatever for life.”
Speaking about the Biden administration’s decision to ease sanctions on Venezuela, Rodriguez said it was “completely counterintuitive and antithetical to accomplishing the goals in Venezuela,” specifically to establishing a “free and democratic Venezuela.” Classifying the situation in the Latin American country as “one of the most tragic flips of a script that we have ever seen in a nation,” he recounted how it was “a very prosperous nation back in the 1970s and '80s before Chavez took over” and turned it into “an authoritarian, totalitarian, socialist regime.”
“We have Venezuelan people in our churches,” he said. “Because of that, we know firsthand the humanitarian crisis taking place in Venezuela.” Rodriguez slammed the easing of sanctions on Venezuela as “illogical, incoherent and I would even argue immoral.”
In addition to criticizing the Democratic Party’s policy positions, Rodriguez described the Biden administration’s engagement with faith leaders as “terrible.” He contrasted the Biden administration’s approach to dealing with faith issues with his Democratic predecessor, former President Barack Obama: “The secret sauce behind President Obama was the fact that he invited people who disagreed with him, especially as it pertains to faith leaders. He would invite them in and hear them out and wasn’t intimidated by different opinions.”
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org