Given that it was racists who created race as a bogus method of categorizing human beings, it is ironic that so many people on the left side of the political spectrum have bought into identity politics to such an extent that they lump very disparate communities into racial pigeonholes.

The most obvious example of this is the way voters who have a genetic heritage linked to Spanish-speaking regions of the world have all been put in the same box. We can label them Hispanics or Latinos or, in the current fashion, Latinx. We can imagine those millions of people all are driven by the same big issue – immigration. But, as Democrats and the Biden-Harris campaign learned to their chagrin on Election Day, they are not a unified ethnic group, and they certainly are not a race.

The Cuban and Venezuelan communities in Florida favored President Donald Trump because he spooked them with scare stories about Democrats tilting toward socialism. In south Texas, the dominant population is Tejano, Spanish-speaking folks whose roots run back to the Mexicans who became Americans when the border moved south at the end of the War with Mexico in 1848. Pro-Trump Tejano voters, driven by fears that Biden would disrupt their jobs in the oil industry, helped keep Republicans in charge in the Lone Star State. In Washington and in many other states, a significant share of Mexican-American voters backed Trump because they run businesses or because social issues like abortion were more relevant to them than immigration policy.

Yes, a majority of Latinos regularly vote for Democrats, but that share shifts and could decline if progressives continue to act as if all these people came across the border yesterday. No one seems to have a problem perceiving the disparate groups among white folks (including the many Hispanics who identify as white). There are non-college-educated, blue collar white men; suburban white women; urban, college-educated white voters; white evangelicals; white farmers; white surfer dudes – many shades of white to be polled, cajoled and swayed. The same diversity exists among Latinos.

Democrats need to pay less attention to the identity politics prevalent on college campuses and among activists and start listening to the real, diverse concerns of voters in distinct cultural communities. Unless that happens, the electoral votes of states like Texas and Florida may remain out of reach. 

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