When we focus on the rise of the Hispanic male Republican, we overlook the emergence of his consort and counterpart, the right-wing Latina. Donald Trump made gains across the board with Hispanics in the 2020 election, but the media fixated on “multiracial whiteness” and “toxic masculinity” in the voting choices of Hispanic men. Meanwhile, Trump gained more votes between 2016 and 2020 among Hispanic women than any other sector of the electorate. The woke tell themselves that Hispanic men, with their supposed chauvinism and machismo, control the lives and voting choices of the Latina. But the opposite is the case. The Latina, with her preternatural seduction skills, holds the power in the relationship. If her curves sway to the right, the men, as they always do, will follow along. Thus the figure of the Latina will shape the future of the Republican Party.
A few Democratic operatives have acknowledged that Latinas are moving rightwards. They attribute the shift to the George Floyd riots, and claim that the ladies — like most Hispanics — support law and order, so were turned off by the chaos that swept through American cities in the summer of 2020. There is certainly some truth to this diagnosis. But, as a Cuban American, I get the sense that this shift has less to do with crime and policing and more to do with the sexual and class politics of the Democratic Party.
According to Pew, 81 percent of Hispanic Trump voters were working class. The largest Hispanic vote came from the under-thirties, where he won an impressive 41 percent. These numbers delineate the Latina Republican. She is young and working class — which is to say, she has not been sullied by the woke white feminism so popular with the Democratic Party’s elites and donors. She is a paradox, at least by traditional American standards: she’s often socially conservative but she also takes pleasure in femininity and sexuality. She isn’t a “girlboss” or an HR harpy. She is the antithesis of the liberal female Democrat.
No surprise, then, that a young, working-class Latina would be completely alienated by the bland snobbery and desexualized femininity favored by the Democratic Party. Its epitomes, Hillary Clinton and Kamala Harris, are shrill and cold. They are obsessed with the rhetoric of breaking balls and shattering glass ceilings, and this appeals to white women who were educated at elite colleges and who, at best, tolerate men and masculinity. These uptight women would never be caught shaking their asses in public — unlike, say, the lively Latinas of Miami.
The new Democratic Woman is very white. You will know her by her plethora of psychological afflictions and affected neuroses; depressingly, these mark her high status. She wept and wailed and cursed the treacherous white man when Hillary lost in 2016. She donned a pussy hat and #Resisted. Becky from Oberlin lives in Brooklyn and carries around a New Yorker tote filled to the brim with grievances and prescription meds. She has nothing in common with Blanca from Miami, who works as a waitress at a joint frequented by construction workers and maximizes her tips by wearing skimpy outfits. Becky and Blanca may as well be different species, but at least they’re both women — unlike the Democrats’ latest totemic ballbreaker, the transwoman and newly-minted four-star admiral, Rachel Levine.
The elevation of Levine as a civil rights icon encapsulates the Democrats’ refusal to consider how their bizarre gender obsessions play to anyone who isn’t ensconced in their elite bubble. The woke white woman believes, or at least claims to believe, that Admiral Levine’s surgically-manufactured success is a victory for feminism. To the working-class Latina, the admiral is simply an old man in drag — and an ugly old man at that. With Levine as their female face, the Democrats confirm that they are a feminist party of anti-feminine principles.
This platform is intellectually dishonest and also, given US demographics, politically stupid. It repulses Hispanics in general, Latinas in particular, and working-class Latinas above all. The Democrats have been moving in this direction for quite some time. We saw it in their hatred of Melania Trump, a classically beautiful woman of stylish femininity. In the white feminist worldview, Melania, an immigrant who expertly navigated the NYC social scene and married rich, is an embarrassment: a traitor to the cause. To the working-class Latina, however, Melania symbolizes the American Dream. Melania’s trajectory isn’t a feminist cautionary tale: it’s a roadmap for the good life.
Some people called Bill Clinton, a jivey white boy from Arkansas who’d slip into “urban” lingo when speaking to melanated audiences, the “first black President.” In which case, the voluptuous and tanned Melania, Slovenian by birth but Hispanic in spirit, was America’s first Latina First Lady. The typical working-class Latina isn’t concerned with empowerment or the pay gap, but with maximizing her greatest asset: her sexiness. Spend an hour in a working-class neighborhood of Miami, and you see beautiful women from Cuba, Colombia and the Dominican Republic competing against each other to see who can be the hottest and turn the most heads. Spend another hour in these neighborhoods and you’ll notice that nearly every shopping plaza has a plastic surgery office offering breast augmentation and the increasingly popular Brazilian butt lift.
A white feminist who bothered to visit would be stunned — and disappointed — to see how popular these plastic surgery pop-up shops are with Latinas whose denim-destroying asses already couldn’t get much larger. She will blame the Latina desire for plumped-up posteriors on the patriarchy or toxic masculinity. This betrays her cluelessness about any woman who doesn’t live in a three-story walkup and work in publishing. The working-class Latina knows nothing of the patriarchy. She most certainly has never read Teen Vogue or the fiction of Roxane Gay — if she even speaks English. She grew up watching telenovelas and beauty pageants, programming that places the power of female sexuality front and center. She has been conditioned to be confounded by Rachel Levine, even if the admiral has embraced plastic surgery with an almost Latina passion.
The working-class Latina is equally, if not more, disgusted by the effete male feminists whom the progressive elite champion as the ideal partner. The poster boy of this vestigial manhood is Beto O’Rourke, the middle-aged Texas hipster adored by the cat ladies and wine aunts of America. For the two seconds Beto was the frontrunner in 2016, logging on to Twitter was to be bombarded by the sexless fantasies of spinster professors and repressed librarians. These ladies dreamed of watching Hannah Gadsby’s special with Beto, or having him read aloud from Ibram X. Kendi’s latest while they wept and committed themselves to the adoption of a disenfranchised POC baby. Not a single one of these deranged fantasies was penned by a working-class Latina. She, unsurprisingly, isn’t attracted to a man-boy skateboarder whose idea of masculine boldness on the campaign trail is standing on a restaurant countertop and screeching. She knows it was someone like her who had to wipe his footprints off the countertop when he’d gone.
If this is what passes for manhood in elite liberal America, no wonder Democrats were dumbfounded by Donald Trump’s gains among Latinas in 2020. But if white feminists deigned to speak to their Latina nannies or the cleaning ladies who toss the empty wine bottles they leave behind, they might understand Trump’s appeal. Like Trump, the working-class Hispanic man is “problematic” by nature, and given to the one-liners and rhetorical abrasiveness of the construction site. The Latina who has grown up around and dated these men will not find the spicy language problematic. Nor will she have a problem with using Trumpian language.
True, working-class Hispanics can be chauvinistic and macho. But the Latina prefers this to the mushiness of the Beto-male feminist prototype. Trump was certainly not an alpha male, no matter how hard he leaned into the role — but he tried to play one, which is more than can be said of the Beto boys. The working-class Latina is the anti-girlboss, so the boyboss means nothing to her. She is not looking to work at an office and accrue credentials and take down the boys’ club. She is sculpting her body and finding the perfect outfit so she can rise above her station like Melania did. Donald Trump offered that, and so did Melania. If the Republicans continue to value femininity and traditional womanhood, they’ll pick up more and more Latina voters and shift the fastest-growing sector of the electorate in their favor — and add a much-needed dose of sexiness to politics too.
This article was originally published in The Spectator’s December 2021 World edition.