‘Where’s the Beef?’ Burgers, Latinos, and the Democratic Party

Recent polling from Opinion Research on Elections and Public Policy shows California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom at 44 percent and businessman John Cox at 39 percent in the California governor’s race, with 17 percent of voters unsure. Remarkably, “Cox is well outperforming his GOP base—fewer than 25 percent of of California voters—and captures a similar percentage of the Latino voters as Newsom.” In Cox, Californians have the opportunity of a lifetime.

Latino voters, whom Democrats expect to keep in lockstep with their party, will be the deciding factor. But do Democrats actually care about Latino citizens? Do they even see them as fellow Americans, or are they rather just a convenient ethnic voting bloc to be manipulated and cajoled?

For decades, Democrats have made pandering to Latinos a core tactic in achieving total dominance over California politics. Their policies and priorities, however, from education and taxes to small business creation, are utterly at odds with Latinos’ stated real concerns.

Case in point: The state Democratic Party’s lame attempt to boycott the fast-food chain that is the number-one dining destination for Latinos. This was tone deaf and taste blind because In-N-Out Burger consistently receives the highest marks from Latinos for its quality, affordable pricing, and family-friendly environment—and Democrats actually expected Latinos drop their delicious burgers and toe the party line.

More than tasty burgers, Democrats were in effect calling for people to boycott something that California desperately needs: decent paying entry-level jobs.

In-N-Out, for example, starts employees at $13 an hour (well above California’s inflated $11 minimum wage) and offers a benefits package with health care, a 401(k)-retirement plan, and paid leave. Unlike many entry-level retail jobs, there’s room for advancement and strong salary growth. Store managers—who virtually all start as cooks or clerks—earn on average $160,000 a year. That’s triple what other fast-food chains pay.

For California’s Latinos looking for their first job or a career path without advanced skills, In-N-Out is a godsend. Over 94 percent of employees recommend working there, according to Glassdoor.

While Latinos certainly do love In-N-Out, the same cannot necessarily be said for the Democratic Party.

According to the most recent Los Angeles Times poll, only 7 percent of Latinos back a gubernatorial candidate because that person is part of “my party” (and in California, that often means the Democrats). That’s less than half of the white voters (18 percent) who said they are more partisan-leaning. A whopping 42 percent of Latinos said “values” drove their vote. In other words, Latinos vote on issues, not on blind party allegiance, and every single Latino poll respondent named “fiscal issues” and “jobs and the economy” as somewhat or extremely important as a voting issue.

Democrats fail to understand that “Latino values” are American values, because they do not see Californians collectively as Americans with a common interest, a common vision for the future, and common values, but instead segregate them by their skin color into voting blocs.

So, for the 39 percent of Latino voters who remain undecided between Democrat Gavin Newsom and Republican John Cox, let’s explore the “values” and accomplishments of Newsom’s party.

Democrats have given Californians the highest rate of poverty in the country when factoring in the cost of living, along with the worst quality of life in the United States.  The U.S. News and World Report survey looked at drinking-water quality, air quality, and pollution and industrial toxins; community engagement, social support, and voter participation. Altogether, California ranks the worst in these categories.

But hold on to your burgers, because it gets worse.

Although Democrats have made identity politics a cornerstone of their ploy to keep minorities in the party, they have failed these communities—and Latinos in particular—most of all. Latinos comprise California’s greatest number of poor. In 2014, the California Senate Office of Research reported, “Latinos tended to earn less than Californians as a whole and were underrepresented among higher income brackets, overrepresented at lower income brackets, and more likely to live in poverty.” Today, more than 1.3 million Latino children live in such poverty.

In 2015, around 80 percent of Latino households headed by noncitizens fell at or below the level of “economic distress” calculated by the nonprofit United Way’s “Real Cost Budget,” which takes into account the cost of housing, childcare, healthcare, and transportation.

Speaking of transportation, California’s Democratic-led legislature approved Senate Bill 1 in 2017, raising the state tax on gasoline by 12 cents per gallon—a 40 percent increase. Now, California Democrats are on record opposing a gas tax repeal, despite evidence such regressive user taxes hit the poorest people the hardest.

While Latinos consistently say when surveyed that education is the key to their children’s success, “there is not a single county in California where the majority of Latino students are proficient in math or English language arts.” Instead, under Democratic Party leadership, California has lowered the standards of learning for Latino students.

“Congratulations to districts everywhere. You’ve rendered high school diplomas meaningless by replacing even the slightest attempts at academic rigor with academic garbage,” writes a high school teacher to the Los Angeles Times. “My school boasts a graduation rate of over 85% while producing less than 40% who are college ready.” To make matter worse, Democrats want to regulate charter schools—which are wildly popular and successful among Latinos—out of existence. This is progress?

Californians of all hues were made promises that were never meant to be kept, and the upward mobility that was once a pillar of the American Dream has crumbled with it.

When my father came to California in the 1950s from Apatzingán, Michoacán, Mexico, his credentials read “Federación de Colonias Proletarias.” By 1985, “Sustaining Member—Republican National Committee.” The Republican Party is far from perfect, but in November California will choose between certain calamity and uncertain hope.

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About Pedro Gonzalez

Pedro Gonzalez is assistant editor of American Greatness and a Mount Vernon Fellow of the Center for American Greatness.

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