Why Do Hispanic Voters Prefer Big Government?
Eligible Hispanic Voters Will Reach a Record 27 Million This Election Cycle
Recent surveys by the Pew Research Center reveal that eligible Hispanic voters will reach a record 27.3 million this election cycle, an increase of over 19 percent since the 2012 election.
As a “category,” the Hispanic electorate will make up a record 11.9 percent of all US-eligible voters, nearly the same as black voters, who make up 12.4 of the electorate. Youth is a bigger defining characteristic of Hispanic-eligible voters than for any other group.
And though specific interest-group issues such as US immigration policy are often offered as the main drivers for the Hispanic vote, there is a more fundamental sociopolitical factor at play.
For the Hispanic population, the post-colonial experience of Latin America has created a vastly different understanding of the role of government than the one embraced by the US founding fathers.
According to the Pew Research Survey, “When it comes to the size of government, Hispanics are more likely than the general public to say they would rather have a bigger government providing more services than a smaller government with fewer services.”
But the difference is not small. Overall, 75 percent of Hispanics prefer bigger government, compared with only 41 percent of the general US public. Interestingly, Hispanic support for large government declines after more time immersed in American values.
For 81 percent of first-generation Hispanic immigrants, a bigger government is more desirable. For the second generation, the preference drops to 72 percent. By the third generation, only 58 percent prefer bigger government.
Hispanic preference for bigger government prevails regardless of party affiliation, and Hispanic Catholics are particularly supportive of a larger government. Overall, 56 percent of U.S. Hispanics either identify with the Democratic Party or are independent but lean democratic, while 21 percent identify with or lean toward the Republican Party. Parenthetically, Cubans are somewhat of a political anomaly. Cubans who are registered to vote are closely split in party affiliation: 47 percent identify with the GOP, while 44 percent tilt toward the Democrats.
Clearly, the political philosophies of classical liberalism that limit the role of government are not nearly as ingrained in Hispanic heritage as they are in the American sociopolitical historical discourse. Classical liberalism does not come naturally to Hispanics. To some degree, the Hispanic sociopolitical heritage undermines the pluralistic participation of Hispanics in the civil institutions of free societies.
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