The outcome of the election is still unclear, but there are certain enduring voting trends that are crystal clear. One of the most telling results of this election is that the man who, according to the ruling class, hates Hispanics got votes from Hispanics in greater numbers than any recent Republican nominee, despite those voters directly experiencing his "anti-Hispanic" policies and rhetoric for four years. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Texas border counties of the Rio Grande Valley.
In what is perhaps the most shocking result of a night full of surprises, Trump swung some heavily Hispanic border counties in Texas by 25-50 points. The Rio Grande Valley's three counties – Starr, Hidalgo, and Cameron – are among the most Democrat counties in Texas. Hillary Clinton won them in 2016 by 60-, 41-, and 32-point margins, respectively. These were margins that endured for years. Indeed, Starr County has been one of the most Democrat jurisdictions in the entire country.
Who lives in these counties? Starr is 96% Hispanic, Hidalgo 92%, and Cameron 90%. These people have deep ties to Mexico, nearly all of them have family there and travel back and forth regularly, and many are dual citizens. If there is any place where you would find vociferous opposition to the idea of making any sort of sovereign separation between the two countries at the Rio Grande River, it would be residents of these counties. If there is any person who has done everything to turn them off – at least according to the playbook of the political elites in Washington – it is Donald Trump.
Yet, four years into his tenure of doing everything that we were told for years is tantamount to telling Hispanics they are "ugly" and then "asking them out to the prom" … well, they agreed to go to the prom!
According to preliminary results, Trump lost Starr County, a county with a 96% Hispanic population, but by just 5 points! That is a 55-point swing! He lost Hidalgo by 17 points and Cameron by 13 points. In Starr County, he did even better than George W. Bush, who was a popular governor of Texas with deep ties to the community.
The results are even more remarkable when you consider that Trump's signature issue was the border wall, which was constructed for the first time in parts of these counties. For years, we were told that the landowners would rebel against placing a border wall behind their properties and physically and proverbially separating their families and heritage. "They don't want a fence down here," warned Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar in 2017. "I can tell you this is going to start legal fights and the courtrooms are already overloaded."
Well, so much for that. Evidently, Hispanics are "racist" against Hispanics. The difference between the two candidates on this issue couldn't have been starker, yet after Trump having implemented this policies for four years, they swung 25-55 points in his direction.
Moving north along the border, Trump is leading in Zapata County, where 94% of the population is Hispanic, by 5 points after having lost it by 33 points last time. He also flipped Val Verde County. He even improved his margin by 6 points in El Paso, the home of Beto O'Rourke. Trump appears to have won over 40% of the Hispanic vote statewide. That strong performance is likely the reason why Republicans might not lose a single congressional seat in Texas after prognosticators had them losing several suburban districts.
There is a broader lesson here that undergirds the general election results and reverberates beyond the Hispanic vote and the politics of immigration. The way to winning people's hearts is not to shamelessly pander to them based on superficial identity politics, but to appeal to them culturally. We don't know yet how this election will turn out, but what is clear is that Trump won on the key issues with voters. To the extent he lost suburban voters, it's mainly a function of their disdain for his personality and style, not policy positions. There wasn't a groundswell for open borders, banning oil, pro-criminal policies, and cultural Marxism.Regardless of what happens going forward, last night's preliminary election results show that independent-minded conservatives who can sound smart and reasoned have a bright future to remake the electoral map and unite disparate groups against cultural Marxism. The us vs. them is not about one race against another, but about a country class vs. a ruling elite.