Why do Latinos support Trump? Many people have asked this question since 2016, when after launching his campaign by calling Mexican immigrants rapists, Trump still won about 28 percent of the Latino vote. Now, polls indicate that Trump could maintain —or even increase— his support among Latino voters in 2020.

Historian Geraldo Cadava started thinking about Latino Republicans in the ‘90s when he was a teenager. He’d start arguing with his grandfather, an immigrant from Panama, who’d become a U.S. citizen by joining the U.S. military. Cadava’s grandfather voted Republican for the first time in 1980 when Ronald Reagan promised to put money back into his biweekly paychecks by cutting taxes.

“What I became fascinated by is how, after that, he kind of embraced whole cloth all of the positions of the Republican Party,” Cadava told Latino USA. More recently, Cadava’s grandfather has become a fan of President Trump.

In his recent book, “The Hispanic Republican: The Shaping of an American Political Identity, from Nixon to Trump,” Cadava explains that roughly a third of Latino voters have cast their ballots for the Republican presidential candidate ever since Richard Nixon’s reelection in 1972. Puerto Ricans, Mexican Americans, Cuban Americans, and other Latinos have each come to Republican politics for their own reasons, but over the past 50 years many have developed a deep loyalty to the Republican party and conservative policy positions.

In this episode of Latino USA, we sit down with Cadava and with longtime Latino Republicans to explore the history of Latinos in the Republican Party, and talk about what President Trump might mean for their future.

Featured image courtesy of Charles Krupa/AP Photo. 


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4 thoughts on “A Third Of The Latino Vote

  1. I’m curious about the Mexican American vote. We get all lumped together. Can you guys research how we vote? Thanks!

  2. I m American/Mexican through my parents and when Trump started to insult my raze it made me very mad because we are not the only group that has bad people in our culture , in other cultures there are rapist, child mosters, killers ,and so on but we also have hard working latinos , like other cultures . Many of us Mexican Americans forgot that he has insulted us and for got there are children at the border in lock down , college needs the dram act back , and other things as well but again they have every right to vote for who they wish and hope that all gos well .

  3. Latino USA has grossly ignored the Venezuela issue, or decided to stay away in order not to upset left-leaning supporters. Can you point out to significant coverage of this issue on your part, after several years of a tragic humanitarian disaster just a few hours away from Miami?

    Now this has had a tremendous impact on the US elections, or how would you explain the surge of support for Trump in Miami-Dade? Trump very skilfully took advantage of the opportunity, and with the help of his Russian buddies built a misinformation machine that very few people fought against.

    Time to start exposing what has happened in Venezuela for what it is, a criminal enterprise.

  4. If I heard this right, Geraldo Cadava’s grandpa was here illegally but became a citizen through military service. I can’t help but think how hypercritical his grandpa sounded and little cruel. He pulls up the ladder he climb on so the next person can’t use it. He don’t believe the next person deserve the same opportunity that he had. To be come Naturalize Citizen through military service.

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