ARE HISPANICS THE NEW IRISH? From John B. Judis, editor at large at Talking Points Memo in a piece appearing in the Washington Post.
What about the future? Won’t America’s turn toward a majority-minority nation — which the census forecasts for 2044 — create an automatic Democratic majority? Much of that reasoning rests on the rising population of Hispanics and on an assumption, implicit in a term like “people of color,” that as Latinos age, settle, and move up the income and education ladder, as other minorities have done, they will remain loyal Democrats.
But there are signs that Hispanics are following a trajectory more similar to that of the Irish than African Americans. In the American National Election Study of the 2012 vote, Hispanic support for Obama was 70 percent among those with only a high school diploma but 55 percent among those with some college. (There is no similar data available yet for 2016.)
There is also a political divide between first-generation immigrants and American-born Hispanics. According to a Gallup poll in August, Clinton enjoyed a far greater edge over Trump among foreign-born Hispanics than among those born in the United States. According to a Pew poll, bilingual Hispanics were far more supportive of Clinton than those who speak only English.
And there is a further complication. As sociologist Richard Alba has contended, when Hispanics intermarry with whites, they often identify their children as white. These, of course, are elusive socio-political categories masquerading as racial or national designations, but the liberals who argue that a majority-minority nation will favor Democrats are basing their claim on how voters identify themselves.