Successful Republican efforts to garner support among varied Latino communities across the country can be replicated - and improved upon - in 2022 and 2024, according to Giancarlo Sopo, the former Director of Rapid Response for Spanish-language media of the Donald Trump campaign.
Since the election, insiders and analysts from both sides of the political spectrum have noted that Donald Trump and the Republican Party made significant gains with Latino voters, even if now-President Joe Biden and the Democrats still retained the majority in both chambers of Congress.
New data released by the Pew Research Center this week, however, found that while Biden won 59% of the Latino vote in 2020 compared to Trump's 38%, there were considerable differences in political preference based on education.
The data shows that Biden won 69% of college-educated Latino voters, compared to Trump's 30% - a 39 percentage point difference. Among Latino voters with "some" college or less, however, Biden's lead shrank 14 points with 55% of the vote, compared to 41% for Trump.
Trump Team Perspective
In an exclusive interview with LPO, Sopo said the trend can partially be explained by the success of Republican efforts to address the everyday concerns of the electorate, such as jobs and the economy.
"These people have real concerns," Sopo added. "Most Latinos think this country is awesome and that they're here to thrive. That's a very different message than they kept hearing from Democrats, which I think focused on victimization and victimhood."
"I think it's very important that the [Republican] party continue communicating this blue collar, conservative message," he added. "That clearly resonated with a wide cross-section of the Latino electorate, and other demographic groups as well."
In his remarks, Sopo said he believes that it was clear to the Trump campaign that there are widespread misconceptions regarding the Latino electorate and the issues that matter most to them.
"It was always clear...that the caricature of Hispanics - of being very liberal on, and primarily occupied, with immigration - that was promulgated by Jorge Ramos and left-wing activists really fails to capture the political nuances of our incredibly diverse communities," he said.
Additionally, Sopo said that previous election data showed that President Trump and the Republican Party had "significant" room for growth among Latinos.
Republicans Rising With Latinos
In 2016, for example, Senator Marco Rubio outperformed then-candidate Trump in areas with a high concentration of Republican and Independent Hispanic voters, such as Hialeah and Kendall - both of which are in Miami-Dade Country - while Senator Rick Scott performed well among Puerto Rican voters in Central Florida.
Two years later, Texas Governor Greg Abbott won 42% of Latinos in his state - predominantly Mexican-Americans.
"We knew that with the right message and smart outreach, we could make significant inroads," Sopo said.
According to Sopo, the Republican campaign also made significant efforts to reach out to often-overlooked communities - such as Colombians in Florida and Puerto Rican in Wisconsin - as well as tailor their outreach efforts to specific groups of Latino voters.
"They [the Democratic Party] made a lot of noise in the media about running ads with Cuban, Puerto Rican and Mexican accents," Sopo explained. "That's all fine, but there was nothing novel about it. It's been done in political advertising for decades."
"We took it to the next level by running ads with very specific regional and generational accents, cultural references and jargon that not only demonstrated our fluency," he added. "It really spoke to voters on a personal level."
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