Immigrants in America voting conservative, the fine print on the deal for prosperity in America-
I’ve cited statistics of Evangelical White Christian support for Trump at the start of my Republican Jesus satires, but one statistic I want to discuss in non-satirical terms is one Trump’s camp loves pointing to, which is that despite his rhetoric, Trump’s 2016 exit polling showed 28% support from Latino voters.
There was a lot of battle crying among the Left that Trump’s rhetoric was going to cause a mass exodus of whatever support among non-white voters Trump was counting on to capture the electoral college in key states. That, obviously, didn’t happen. You know who captured why the best? Dave Chappelle. He hosted SNL shortly after the election and performed a sketch that captured the sentiment perfectly: that the only people who were surprised at Trump’s ascension were any but the hardened and cynical who America has pushed down for years.
There’s a surprising commonality that many immigrants, especially those with naturalized children, tend towards conservatism. I have a friend whose family arrived as refugees from the Middle East in the 80s, surely they voted for Hillary?
Turns out, they vote Republican because they want to be able to retain as much of their earnings and pass on as much of their estates to their children as possible. That was always the hope and promise of American prosperity.
The natural follow up I hear from every “woke” liberal I’ve shared this with is, “but what about the prejudice and racism?”
Here’s the hard truth: that’s part of the deal they’re accepting with America’s promise of opportunity and prosperity. It’s understood that it’s in the fine print as far as they and many other immigrants are concerned. They told me point blank: America has been racist for centuries no matter who’s in the White House.
Dave Chappelle’s character in that sketch, the people of color who all voted for Trump? That’s part of America to them. It’s part of the deal no matter what, and has been for centuries so they might as well get the party that aligns with the best returns for that.
If you’ve never watched Hasan Minhaj’s brilliant Netflix Stand Up special, Homecoming King, I strongly recommend you do. In it he relates a story in which his father’s car was vandalized and the kids doing so yelled racial slurs in the act. Minhaj’s father didn’t call the cops, didn’t even get angry at the kids or about the damages. It’s a heartbreaking moment, but Minhaj’s father says that’s part of the deal of America as he understands it, you accept that discrimination in exchange for the freedom and prosperity of your family.
Minhaj rejects that. I reject that. You should reject that. Maybe that’s the reality that is so baked into our country and its culture through history that we should be cynical and unsurprised by it, but we shouldn’t stop being appalled and outraged when we see it. We should fight it. In the words of Minhaj, “Fuck that.”