According to CNN back in 2012, the Latino population in the US as a proportion of the whole will increase to 29% in 2050. It is now 17%. As to voters, according to Pew Research, published in January, 2016, 11.3% of eligible voters in the US election are Latino. This matters in some states more than others because of the uneven spread of the Latino population. In California, for example, it is 28%, in New Mexico 40%, in Texas 28%, in Florida 18% and in Nevada 17%. Usually around two-thirds vote Democrat in presidential elections. Obama got 71% in 2012.
What matters when it comes to having an open and prosperous society? It is clear that having material resources is not particularly relevant. When all is said and done it is only culture that matters. Or, (sotto voce) does race/ethnicity matter too in affecting cultural norms? My prior is that race only seems to be important because of the association of non-Caucasian populations with the absence of deeply-seated Christian norms of behaviour and civility. Though this does not seem to work too well when it comes to Central and South America. I don’t know the answer.
The US Census Bureau classifies Latinos (or interchangeably Hispanics) as having a lineage traced to Spain (25), Argentina (13), Cuba (n.a.), Colombia (6), Puerto Rico (n.a.), Mexico (9), Dominican Republic (6), Costa Rica (11), Guatemala (4), Honduras (2), Nicaragua (2), Panama (13), El Salvador (4), Bolivia (3), Chile (13), Ecuador (6), Paraguay (4), Peru (6), Uruguay (16), and Venezuela (n.a.). In brackets is the per-capita income of each country in 2015 to the nearest thousand $US, as published by The World Bank. Some do much better than others but, leaving Spain aside for obvious reasons; none are within distance of income in North America (55) or Australia (56) or prosperous Western European nations (Germany (41) France (36)).
It is no wonder that Latinos want to get to the US. But the question is what cultural baggage they bring with them – which has led to relative poverty and political instability and corruption in their own countries — and by how much will this be ameliorated by their integration into US culture? There is a danger in these post-modern days, when Western culture is under attack from within by the left, that the negative influence of importing people whose culture is inferior (by any measure) will be underrated.
Numbers undoubtedly matter. The larger is an immigrant group the more likely it is that ghettos will form, effectively insulating migrant populations from the mainstream. Concentration in geographical areas also gives them disproportionate political power. We see this in Australia with Muslim populations and the resultant kowtowing to win seats. For example, how else do you explain the Gillard Government’s disreputable decision in 2012 to abstain rather than vote against a resolution at the UN granting ‘Palestinian territories’ observer status?
In the United States it is evident that Latinos will have an increasing influence on the political agenda and on election outcomes. If Hillary Clinton wins she will win because of a high degree of uniform voting by Latinos (and, of course, by African-Americans – but that is another story). This matters for the health of a society. It fits into identity politics and pits one set of Americans against another based on their immutable ethnicity rather than simply on their mutable political views. But it goes further than this.
What do Latinos want of their government? Why do they predominantly vote Democrat? I could be quite wrong but let me guess. They want government to do things to make life easier. After all life is hard back in the old country because the government is no good; no fault of the people. A better government equals a better life. Putting government at the centre of well-being is a dangerous cultural mindset.
In Western societies there is, or has been, a swinging core of people who can be persuaded at times that government should do less rather than more, should spend less, and interfere less. If that swinging core is negated by growing nanny-state-focused ethnic voting blocs then government has only one way to go and that is to grow continually in size and scope. Each political party competes in largesse as the only path to power. Increasingly this process is being played out. No-one knows how it will end. But it is likely to end badly.
And it gets worse when ethnic voting blocs become fixated on their own perceived ethnic interests. Alexis de Tocqueville worried about the tyranny of the majority. More worrying is the tyranny of minority ethnic groups pushing their own agendas and, by virtue of their strategic voting power, pushing the whole political process askew. No-one knows how this will end either. But it is not hard to see it taking Western societies away from their core cultural values. These are the values — free speech being one under notable pressure — which have separated Western societies from the banana republics that Latinos in America (or their forefathers) used to call home.