The demographics of the Republican Party are shifting, and conservatives are torn on whether this is a gift or a curse.
Republicans are becoming more ethnically diverse, and Democrats are becoming whiter, with some experts crediting belief in God. In tonight’s In-Depth Report, we explore the “God gap” and what it means for the future of the GOP.
Since Donald Trump’s election in 2016, Republicans have gained ground with Hispanic voters. Joe Biden’s approval among Hispanics is at 19%. In 2020, he only received 65% of the Hispanic vote, a six point drop from 2012, when Obama received 71%.
Most attribute the Hispanic rejection of the Democratic Party to economic strife over rising costs for gas and groceries, and also inflation. But famed anti-Trumper and Atlantic contributor David French thinks it’s more about religion.
David French: “A politics focused on mobilizing by race or ethnicity will not reach them, especially when identity politics is paired with hard-left cultural positions and hostility for traditional religion.”
The numbers bear this out. A 2018 Pew Research poll found 21% of White Democrats are atheists. But for non-White Democrats, this number was only 5%. Meanwhile, White Republicans are more closely aligned with non-Whites on God, with 5% of White Republicans being atheists and the same for non-White Republicans.
French claims that “both parties are at a crossroads. There is time for secular progressives to understand that Christians are an indispensable element of the progressive coalition.” This God gap may explain the Hispanic exodus from the Democratic Party, as they are largely Catholic.
But not everyone is convinced their cultural Catholicism is a fix-all for Republican politics. French notes Hispanics still feel vilified by Republicans for supporting illegal aliens. “The hateful and fearful language around immigration causes too many Republican Christians to view Hispanic immigrants more as a political threat.”
But it’s not hate: Many Latino Republicans like Texas Congresswoman Mayra Flores are soft on immigration, proposing making it easier for more migrant workers to come in.
Mayra Flores: “Why not create a legal process so that good people, the ones that want to come here to work, try their best to create the American dream?”
Increases in work visas and a pro-amnesty platform for illegal aliens could alienate White Catholics and evangelicals, who overwhelmingly supported Donald Trump 2020. Whether or not Republicans will unify in the upcoming midterms remains unknown, as do the benefits of the rise of Latino Republicans nationwide.