With Biden’s approval rating averaging at around 41.3%, many incumbent Democrats retiring, Republicans having an average +3.8 in the generic ballot, and historical trends of the incumbent President’s party losing in the midterms, many pundits and voters agree that a Republican wave is imminent.
Still, Republicans are looking for ways to expand and satisfy their base to ensure future victories. With that comes the question as to what the future of the Republican Party is. Do we revert to the establishment and cronyistic ways of Bush, Romney, and McCain or do we move further with Trumpian populism? Recent polling may suggest the latter.
Before the age of Trump, and even the Tea Party, the standard Republican establishment playbook was simple–vaguely advocate for lowering taxes and maintain a milquetoast, wishy-washy disposition when it comes to social and cultural issues. This disposition is especially true on the issue of immigration.
As it turns out, the establishment opinion that the only way to win Hispanics is to favor amnesty seems to be an out-of-tune position. Recent polling by the NRCC states that Hispanics support many of the semi-populist positions of the Republican party. Hispanics agree that Republicans can do a better job than Democrats on issues like securing the border, dealing with crime, dealing with inflation and a higher cost of living, and dealing with the economy and jobs.
Hispanics also agree heavily with many rising themes of the conservative movement. 74% of Hispanics agree that parents should have a say in what is taught in their children’s schools. 78%, 74%, and 70% of Hispanics are extremely concerned about inflation, cost of groceries, and gas prices, respectively.
Hispanics also hold very unfavorable opinions of many Democratic figures. 39% disapprove and 21% approve of Nancy Pelosi. 36% disapprove and 26% approve of Joe Biden. 35% disapprove and 23% approve of Kamala Harris. 31% disapprove and 20% approve of AOC. This is particularly troubling for Democrats since 63% of Hispanics voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 election.
In fact, on the topic of the 2020 election, Donald Trump earned 36% of the Hispanic vote in 2020. This is a significant improvement from his performance in 2016 where he garnered 28% of their support. Notably, Trump performed better than Romney (who garnered 27% of the Hispanic vote). Romney notably supported amnesty in 2012.
Trump’s relatively stellar performance among Hispanics is noted in his focus on law and order and “table-kitchen” issues like jobs, trade, and wages.
With figures like Bush and Romney fading to the backburner of relevancy, other figures like Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, and Josh Hawley are seizing their moment in the limelight. The days of the weak-kneed GOP establishment are coming to a close as people like DeSantis and Hawley go head-to-head with the media and establishment on key issues.
Ultimately, though, Americans will decide which direction the party will go, and it looks that that direction is towards populism.