One of the enduring lessons of the 2020 general election will be the emergence — and complexity — of the Latino vote.
White observers from both parties made the mistake of assuming that Latinos were a homogenous group that would likely vote as one block. But that’s far from the truth. Latinos come from a variety of countries and a variety of backgrounds, which means that they have a variety of political opinions.
Indeed, while Democrats believed that President Trump’s harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric would deliver them widespread support from the community, some Latinos come from supposedly socialist countries and view progressive politics with suspicion.
The New York Times’ Jennifer Medina put it this way in an analysis last week: "For years, many Democrats have presumed demography as destiny, believing that Latinos would come to vote for them with the same kind of consistency that Black voters do. A growing Latino population, they hoped, would transform the political landscape and give the party an edge in the Southwest.
"That dream ran into reality in this election, in which the results confirmed what was evident from conversations with hundreds of Latino voters in dozens of settings from the early days of the Democratic primary until the long ballot-counting hours in Arizona over the last week: The Latino vote is deeply divided, and running as not-Trump was always going to be insufficient."
This isn’t to say that many Latinos didn’t support President-elect Joe Biden. Of course they did. But it’s a worthy reminder that racial and ethnic groups are always more complex that those outside of those groups may believe.
There is no single kind of Black voter, just as there is no single kind of Latino voter or LGBT voter or female voter or male voter. There is no single kind of college-educated voter or high-school graduate voter. We are all shaped by our communities, our individual experiences and by our own beliefs.
This means that political campaigns should never take anything for granted. Yes, one group may seem to be reliable supporters of your candidate or party. But that won’t necessarily last. Everyone wants a leader who stands up for them, who represents their interests and who will pass effective policies to improve their lives.
That’s what elections are about. For all of us.