Mayra Flores won a South Texas congressional seat that had been held by Democrats for more than a century. In the 2020 presidential election, the district went for President Joe Biden.
How did Flores come out on top?
Cesar Ybarra, vice president of policy at FreedomWorks, believes that this speaks to Ronald Reagan's message of Hispanics being Republicans. Republicans are doing a better job of explaining the party's platform to Hispanics. The bad job that President Biden and the congressional Democrats have done with the economy has made this worse.
It will take time for the GOP to make inroads with minority voters.
Changes don't happen in two years. The long game needs to be looked at. We forget about where we want to be in 15 years when we getbogged down in winning the day and week.
The shift of Latino voters from the Democratic Party to the GOP is discussed by Ybarra.
These stories are covered by us as well.
The lightly edited transcript is available below.
Cesar Ybarra is the Vice President of Policy at FreedomWorks. Cesar, greetings from the show.
Cesar Ybarra is happy to be at The Heritage Foundation.
Blair said yes. We are always glad to have you. In South Texas, there was an election. In a South Texas district that hasn't elected a Republican in more than 100 years, the Republican Mayra Flores just won a big victory and that went for President Joe Biden. We don't know how we got here. What happened when this shift occurred?
Ronald Reagan's message to Hispanics is that they don't know it yet. Republicans have been doing a better job of explaining the party's platform to Hispanics.
The bad job that President Biden and the congressional Democrats have done with the economy has made this worse. The border is in a state of disrepair.
People in the Texas 34 District were asked what the biggest issues were for them. The border is number one. Inflation is number 2. Well, guess what? Mayra Flores was able to get across the finish line with 51% because the Democrats did not have a plan to fix that.
We would have been happy if she went to a second round in August, but she crushed it and is going to be a congressperson next week. I think about it a lot. It's great.
Blair would like to discuss Flores herself. Do you have any information on Flores? Is she a moderate or conservativism?
Ybarra thinks she's conservative. She isn't a moderate. She came to America legally when she was a child. I grew up in Texas.
She has some skin in the game when it comes to the treatment of Border Patrol agents by this administration. The day-to-day flaws of the border are being perpetuated by the Biden administration and she has some skin in the game.
She wouldn't be called a moderate. She is a conservative. They said "Dios, Familia, Patria" if you looked at her yard signs. Three things are conservative.
I was talking to some of my friends who were telling me about Mayra Flores. I told you that Hispanics are conservative. Someone like Mayra Flores. I believe she speaks on behalf of all Hispanics when she talks about God, family, country.
The district hadn't elected a Republican in over 100 years, but it still went for Biden two years ago. Is it because of the Democrats and the Republicans changing their policies, or is it because of their own policies?
It is more on policy. When you start talking about inflation and border security, you talk about what's causing it, and that's more on policy. Policy is what it is. It is policy that is being driven by Democrats. Hispanics are more conservative than Republicans or Democrats.
That is what I would tell you. They are starting to realize that their policy preferences are in line with Republicans. That is something that is being shown in the polls through our Hispanic Grassroots Alliance. It was confirmed in Mayra's race.
Blair: You did some polling about this. We don't know if we are seeing a one-time, one-off or pattern emerging in other elections.
Yes, Ybarra. You have Adam Laxalt in Nevada? He is doing well with Hispanics in Nevada. We hope we can do well in Arizona. It seems that Hispanics in the Tucson area are not as strong as people in other states.
There are still some things to be done. This isn't something for us to say "We're there" Mayra Flores is a good example of what can happen when we do the right things. I don't think it's going to happen in two years or four years, it's a 10-year, 20-year project where we have to spread our message and not get lulled into a false sense of security.
Let's take a look at that big picture. The project is 10, 20 years long. In the aftermath of this election, what do you think that will look like? The 10- to 20-year plan is impacted by this election.
Mayra Flores won a D+4 district and will be running in a D+15 district in the fall.
With the national environment of how politics are, we still believe that there is a chance for Mayra Flores to pull off the big upset, but we need to double down and go harder than we did in this past race
It will take groups that are local, national, and regional to continue spreading this message.
In setting up their local offices for communities in Hispanic districts and black districts, the Republican National Committee has done a good job.
Middle Eastern people, Muslims, people from African countries, and people from Asian countries are all conservative.
This is an opportunity to win with minorities across the board, which has been a demographic that the Democrats have had a stronghold on, and now they're losing that.
Vicente Gonzalez, the incumbent running against Mayra Flores, was angry at the Republican leadership for forgetting.
Blair is the leader of the Democrats.
The leader of the Democrats forgot about the brown people in South Texas. They are starting to notice that Republicans are in a better place with Hispanics.
Blair said that the GOP should reach out to these communities more. What other lessons did they take from this?
Ybarra thinks that our policy is right. We need to double down on it. We don't need to stay out of sight. These people are conservative.
You have more conviction in your message when you are a true believer. Moderates tend to say, "Well, I support this, but no, no, we don't need to go." Good policy is good politics if we are firm in our beliefs. This is how Mayra Flores was treated.
Blair thinks it makes sense to go hard on conservative principles. Is that a rule that applies to everyone? The left always says that minority groups will vote as monoliths. Is it true that Latino voters tend to vote for more conservative candidates?
I wouldn't say it's a monolith because of California. 40% of Hispanics vote like liberals. Correct, it is what it is.
I don't have any data or evidence to show this, but I would love for the movement to invest in some polling out in California to see how they feel about these issues. The state of California has produced two Republican presidents. Imagine if we could do that again.
A lot of people are leaving California. People in California are angry about the homeless situation and high gas prices.
I ask why you are complaining. The government you voted for is this one. You voted for taxes, you voted for everything else. You can now live with them. Something can be done about it. If there is a change, you can vote Republican.
It isn't a single vote. I think it is a regional thing. People in Doral, in Miami, are going to be different than people in San Diego, California, or the San Fernando Valley, so we need to start going community by community. We have to go region by region because it is not a single thing.
The Border Patrol had an impact on the election. Flores' husband works for the border patrol.
Christina Pushaw is a comms person for Florida's governor. Her husband is a Border Patrol officer. In South Texas, Border Patrol is one of the largest employers. The majority of U.S. border patrol agents are Hispanic. These men and women have been attacked by the Democrats. The time is up.
The corporate media and the left have portrayed the view of immigration amongst Latinos in a way that doesn't square with the consensus view of the Latino community.
Yes, Ybarra. That is correct with border patrol agents. If you're a border town kid like me, you cross the border every day and it's always Hispanics, it's always Asian people doing the visa-checking and all of that.
The Democrats have been demonizing border patrol agents.
It is not good politics for the Democrats and the media to defund Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Vicente Gonzalez is angry at the Democratic Party leadership because they abandoned the Border Patrol agents.
You know what it is. If you look at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus' account, you'll see that they always use a #NoSonOlvidados, which means "you are not forgotten" in Spanish.
Are you aware who they forgot about? Legal immigrants. They forgot about the agents. The interest of the Hispanic people, of Hispanic voters, of Americans who got them there, has been forgotten.
Democrats are more concerned with Hispanics who are in the country illegally.
In this region, South Texas, how much does the border play into the minds of Latino voters when they go to vote, is a topic we discussed in detail.
The border is the most important thing. According to the most recent polling done in that district, the border and immigration issues are at the top of people's minds, followed by inflation.
Everyone is feeling the effects of inflation. It is bad when border security is above that. Why is it not good? The caravans of people are not parked in the Rio Grande Valley. The people are being released into their community.
A reasonable person is going to ask what is going on. We didn't sign up for this so it's not the people. We need to follow the rule of law if we want to live in a peaceful community. We have rules and a government.
The border and immigration issue is very important to people in South Texas.
Vicente Gonzalez is upset that the Democrats lost the election. How are they telling the story of this loss? They are either saying that they messed up or that it was the racist Republican. How are they putting it together?
The Democratic Party leadership said that it was a D+4 and that they were going to lose anyways. We will get Mayra Flores back in November. They took that attitude. They don't care about that district.
I was watching some of the negative ads that the Pelosi super PAC was running against Mayra Flores. You are trying to convince people that Mayra Flores was involved in the Capitol Hill riots.
These people don't understand. I would like to tell them that it is not that difficult. You don't have to lose that much.
You know what. We have to keep spreading our message and be positive even though their loss is ours. We have to tell Hispanics what we are for instead of what the Democrats are for. Promoting how good our policies are is more important than how good their policies are.
This has to be a positive message because Hispanics tend to favor conservative policies over Democrat ones. The focus should be on the positives.
There are a lot of outlets that have noted that Flores is a Mexican-born congresswoman. I believe she is the first Mexican-born woman to serve in congress. How do we not fall into the identity politics trap that the left always does by celebrating the fact that is a first?
It's good to acknowledge it. We have to point out that Mexican immigrants are Democrats. Democrats are the only ones who can be immigrants and in congress. Mayra Flores is breaking through that and not the other way around.
This is what we should be celebrating. You are a conservative if you are Hispanic, Asian, or black. We don't have to worry about identity politics because your vote is more important than who you are. Let's celebrate it. It is important to own the libs.
yes, but no I don't think we need to getbogged down in that. We celebrate for a day and just make sure that when Mayra Flores gets into office, that groups like FreedomWorks, like Heritage, go out and ensure that she votes the right way and is well-educated on the policies, because we know there are people in congress who are going to
This is when the real work begins to make sure that what she's campaigning on is used to her advantage.
We have seen the victory in South Texas. Many minority groups are shifting over to the GOP. How does the GOP continue to do well?
The party is doing a good job of putting this in different inner cities. That is what FreedomWorks is doing. We are going to the inner cities of San Antonio and Arizona through our Hispanic Grassroots Alliance. They say we have to go to the bad neighborhoods.
Some local candidates are running in South Phoenix, which is overwhelmingly Hispanic, but they are conservative. They are still going out there to spread their message. They're going door to door. They're probably going to lose, they're probably going to lose again, but you're planting seeds. We need to do that.
Big changes don't happen in a couple of years. The long game needs to be looked at. We forget about where we want to be in the future when we getbogged down in winning the day and week.
It will be a long time from now.
You get my point but it's a long time from now. You understand my point. The long term should be planned. Good work is being done by us right now. We should just keep doing what we're doing. Let's learn from the wrong thing. Continue to educate and campaign.
It's possible to lose the battle and win the war.
Ybarra is absolutely correct.
Blair is okay. Cesar Ybarra was the vice president of policy. Thank you so much Cesar.
Ybarra would like to say thank you.
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