White-Latino Relations in America’s Southwest: Why a Paradox of Race Relations Is a Sign of Growing Political Polarization

Last year’s midterm election results were hardly unusual for a party holding the presidency. Similar electoral setbacks had occurred during the presidencies of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. But this one was portrayed as if it were somehow unique — an explicit rejection of President Trump’s nationalist and anti-immigration policies.

For some, the electoral losses in Orange County, California were particularly galling. “You want to see the future? Look no further than the demographic death spiral in the place once considered a cornerstone of the party,” wrote one GOP strategist.

In a state that had once launched the careers of Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, Republicans had fought the rising tide of demographic change and were crushed, they said. Now the GOP was repeating the same mistake on the national stage.

Such arguments are not new. They have long been a staple of establishment Republicans who support the corporate open borders agenda. They also represent a fundamental misunderstanding what is happening in the American Southwest.

California, New Mexico, and the region’s other states are not trending left solely (or even primarily) because of Republican intransigence on immigration. They are trending left because of larger socioeconomic trends and migratory patterns that may lead to America’s eventual dissolution.

The Southwest Paradox

For any close observer of race relations, the politics of California and the Southwest must be puzzling. Extensive research on the 2016 election found close links between White attitudes toward race and immigration and support for Donald Trump. Other research has found a similar link between these attitudes and greater awareness of demographic change, with close physical proximity to Latinos playing an important contributing role.

Given the breadth of this evidence, recent general election results in America’s Southwest seem incomprehensible. These states — defined for our purposes as including California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas — all have large and growing Latino populations, but their White populations have responded not by shifting right, but to the left.

Some observers, such as Ron Unz of The Unz Review, have noted this unexpected trend in race relations and concluded that those who argue that increased diversity will eventually tear the country apart are simply wrong. According to Unz, the Dissident Right has erred by treating White-Latino relations as if they are the same as White-Black relations. There is ample evidence that proximity to Blacks has produced a significant backlash among Whites in places like the old South, but there appears to be less evidence of a similar backlash to Latinos. Unz attributes this difference, at least in part, to lower Latino crime rates and greater mutual understanding once Whites get to know their Latino neighbors better.

“With such a large fraction of our immigrant population living in states displaying such negligible levels of nativist rancor,” he wrote, “the likelihood that today’s immigration controversy at the national level will produce any long-lasting negative consequences seems very low to me.”

Is Unz right? Will America’s Latino population simply follow in the footsteps of previous generations of immigrants by assimilating and contributing to America’s culture and growth? Are the Dissident Right’s fears irrational and unfounded, as the left and corporate elite keep assuring us?

The answer is no. The extensive research on this subject is not wrong. The Southwest Paradox is merely an artifact of larger socioeconomic forces.

Solving the Paradox

To understand why, first consider a related paradox. If one were to closely examine White voting patterns across the United States, it would be natural to assume — consistent with the experimental research — that Whites who live in highly diverse neighborhoods would be more likely to react negatively and become more conservative. But this is not true. Whites who live in diverse neighborhoods are not more conservative than other Whites, they are usually more liberal. The primary reason for this is uncomplicated: White flight.

The research on White flight has shown a common recurring pattern. When minorities first move into a White neighborhood, the reaction among Whites is only mildly negative at first, but after diversity rises above a certain tipping point — believed to be around 25 percent for Latinos — White flight begins in earnest. In general, the Whites who move first are the most ethnocentric and/or most likely to be adversely affected (often families with children). Their departure causes the neighborhood to become less White, which in turn causes more Whites to leave (and others to avoid moving in). This process produces a cascading effect that usually transforms the neighborhood within a few years.

After this process has played out, such neighborhoods will often retain a small White population, but it is usually one that is more tolerant of diversity or more able to protect itself through higher housing prices, gated communities, and private schools. The pattern is similar for Whites in gentrifying urban neighborhoods. In each case, the demographic profile of such Whites is fairly consistent — they tend to be disproportionately liberal, single, and childless. Depending on the neighborhood, they often have higher incomes and are more likely to have a college degree. These are the Whites who are responsible for the seemingly paradoxical result of Whites living in more diverse neighborhoods being more liberal.

The political effects of White flight and gentrification are reasonably well understood, but it is becoming increasingly clear that interstate migration is playing a similar role. This phenomenon was first noted in the popular press by Bill Bishop, author of an influential book on the subject called The Big Sort, which attributed much the nation’s growing political divide to differences in where we choose to live. Although Bishop’s methodology was criticized, his conclusions were substantially confirmed by other academic research. The only real disagreements were not over whether it was happening, but why.

Some, like Richard Florida, have focused on the migratory patterns of college-educated Whites — specifically what he calls the “creative class” — who are disproportionately moving to a select number of cosmopolitan regions and states for economic reasons. Others have cited the departure of more conservative working-class Whites from these same areas, often because of rising costs of living. Still others have highlighted more explicitly political reasons or other lifestyle choices that produce the same net effect.

Whatever the reasons (probably a combination of the above), the resulting demographics look a lot like those produced by White flight. Just like the Whites who live in more diverse neighborhoods, the Whites who live in more cosmopolitan cities and states tend to be more liberal, better educated, less religious, and disproportionately unmarried and childless. Nearly every state in America’s Southwest exhibits these same traits.

These demographic changes have helped nudge southwestern states to the left, but the trend has also been reinforced by another recent political development. The “Great Awokening,” a sharp left turn in the racial attitudes of college-educated White liberals over the past few years, has further accelerated the leftward drift of Whites living in the nation’s more cosmopolitan regions.

Given this increase in White wokeness, a final contributor is noteworthy for its implied hypocrisy. Despite the Southwest’s purported reputation for benign White-Latino relations, these states rank among the most segregated in the country. Racial segregation is growing not just in more conservative places like suburban Dallas, but also liberal cities like Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. According to a study by UCLA’s Civil Rights Project, the two states where Latinos are least likely to attend a majority White public school are liberal New Mexico and California respectively.

The Impact of Latinos on White Voting

Taken together, these trends suggest that the liberalism of America’s Southwest is not due to more amicable relations between its White and Latino populations. Instead, they are the accidental byproduct of larger social factors that have offset and concealed the negative effects.

To confirm this hypothesis, we turn to a large, publicly available survey data set housed at Harvard called the Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES). This survey was administered to over 60,000 individuals in 2016, over half of whom voted and were White. Each survey respondent was also geo-coded, which allows the incorporation of state, county, and local (zip code) variables such as local levels of diversity and other demographics from the Census Bureau.

The full multivariate regression results can be found at the bottom of this article, but the top-line results are straightforward. In general, after controlling for a wide variety of other factors such as gender, marriage, religion, and education, the analysis finds that Whites who live in more diverse states were more likely to vote for Donald Trump, with proximity to Latinos having roughly half the impact of proximity to Blacks. (The effects of living close to Asians and Native Americans were statistically insignificant).

These effects are not uniform, however.  As suggested by similar studies, Whites who live in heavily diverse zip codes (Black or Latino) tend to be more liberal and were thus more likely to vote against Trump. By contrast, Whites who lived outside of heavily Latino neighborhoods, either elsewhere in the same county or the same state, were more conservative and more likely to vote for Trump. These results demonstrate the variable effects of White flight.

Altogether, the combined effects — state, county, and zip code — shifted the White vote toward Trump by about one percent for every 6 percentage points of Latinos in a state’s population. In California, for example, where Latinos comprised 38% of the population in 2016, the model estimates that White Californians shifted right by about 6 percent from where they otherwise would have been based on their education and other demographic factors.

Importantly, however, these are average effects. A more detailed state-level analysis shows that in the Whitest states there were no county or state-level effects. The impact was strictly local, with growing local Latino populations causing Whites to become more conservative, a common pre-White flight result.

At the other end of the demographic spectrum in heavily Latino states, state level pro-Trump effects do not appear until a state’s Latino population approaches 20 percent. They peak at 30 percent (Arizona), and begin to decline after that (Texas, California, and New Mexico). This suggests that states with the largest Latino populations are starting to experience the same liberalizing White flight effects that are found in the nation’s most diverse zip codes.

The analysis also sheds light on why the politics of America’s Southwest are so different from the similarly diverse South. Whites in the South are conservative in part because of the presence of large Black populations, but they are also more conservative because their White populations are much more religiously conservative.

The migration patterns that helped make California and the Southwest more liberal are also having the reverse effect in the South. States like Alabama and Mississippi draw relatively few college-educated White liberals from elsewhere in the country. Unsurprisingly, the few exceptions to this rule (places like Atlanta or North Carolina’s Research Triangle) have politics that more closely resemble the Southwest.

Two Americas

If our analysis stopped here, the conclusions would be only mildly interesting. Yes, the seemingly benign White-Latino race relations in the Southwest are largely illusory, the incidental byproduct of larger interstate migration patterns, but so what? The politics of these states are still trending left, no matter what the cause. How does this change the conclusion that Trumpism is a losing political proposition in the long run?

The answer can be found by stepping back from a narrow examination of trends in the Southwest and instead looking at the nation as a whole. The Whites who flee or avoid moving to these states have not disappeared into the ether. They have simply chosen to live elsewhere and, in the process, made the rest of the nation more conservative.

The following map shows White voting trends from 2000 to 2016, two comparable election years when the GOP won the presidency but narrowly lost the popular vote. As expected, the map shows Whites in the Southwest and on the West Coast trending left over this period. But it also shows Whites in much of the rest of the country shifting to the right. This rightward trend includes the midwestern states that helped elect Donald Trump. It also shows a substantial rightward shift even in the liberal Northeast, where Whites in states like New Jersey, New York, and much of New England have also been moving sharply to the right.

This is a story that one almost never hears from the mainstream media. There are countless articles concern trolling the GOP for its losses in more diverse states like California, but there is almost nothing written about the rightward drift of the rest of White America.

These trends are two sides of the same coin and they point to a very different conclusion. This is not the story of Republicans or the Dissident Right waging a losing demographic battle. It is the story of a nation that is slowly, but inexorably, becoming more divided along racial and geographic lines. (See The Racial Realignment of American Politics).

To anyone even vaguely familiar with the larger literature on ethnic conflict, this pattern is completely predictable. The fact that there is not even a hint of the dangers in the mainstream media despite obvious lessons from conflicts in Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and Darfur only demonstrates the establishment’s control over the media narrative. The warning lights are flashing red all around us — and we are flying directly into the coming storm.

Patrick McDermott is a political analyst in Washington, DC.

22 replies
  1. Curmudgeon
    Curmudgeon says:

    What cannot be measured is the bandwagon effect. In a more diverse voting district, where whites are a minority, are they truly “liberal” or, knowing/perceiving that Blacks and Latinos overwhelmingly vote Democrat, are they afraid of being called a racist for supporting a White Republican candidate?

  2. Richard B
    Richard B says:

    “The warning lights are flashing red all around us — and we are flying directly into the coming storm.”

    Any attempt that Whites make to organize so as to protect and defend themselves will be crushed, mercilessly, by the Hostile Elite.

    If they even suspect an attempt is being made they’ll orchestrate another shooting, or something, that everyone will have to believe in, or else.

    And this in spite of the fact that everyone one of their attacks on the Host Population has the same telltale signs.

    1. Destroy the Evidence
    2. Control the Narrative
    3. Enforce the Law (on anyone looking for evidence to question the narrative).

    1. Victimize
    2. Blame Victim
    3. Play Victim

    Their obvious success in this regard marks the Hostile Elite as the only real Supremacists. Which, of course, is the ultimate objective, ie; to reign supreme.

    Because a Supremacist is defined by the ability to effectuate their insane demands to be

    1. Placed Above Criticism
    2. Loved Unconditionally
    3. Blindly Obeyed

    Also, it has to be said, to the extent White is equated with The Right, Whites don’t stand a chance.

    Isn’t it obvious?

    So then, let’s say that Whites organize as Whites by mobilizing around an organizing principle, or principles, such as race, culture, or freedom.

    Is this even possible? Do Whites have it in them?

    Let’s put it this way to make it clear as to whether or not they do.

    When non-Whites are attacked (or claim to be) they don’t say, “One of us was attacked.” and go about their day.

    They say in unison “WE WERE ATTACKED!” and immediately spring into action.

    And Whites?

    • Richard B
      Richard B says:

      Regarding TUR and Ron Unz.

      I like the site and its excellent library.

      As with anything, it’s possible to respond in different ways to the site in general and Mr. Unz in particular.

      Regarding Mr. Unz we could, in a spirit of good faith, say that he’s simply an intelligent man who likes to be intellectually challenged by opposing points of view. That he genuinely believes in freedom of speech, and the site is there for him to practice that belief.

      If we were feeling a bit cynical we could say that he’s so sure of his own position and so convinced it will win sooner or later, if it hasn’t already, that it doesn’t matter what anyone else says.

      Why not let them share so thinker/writers like himself can be intellectually entertained and stimulated until that fine day when there’s simply no one left to debate because his side has been completely victorious?

      Who knows?

      Regarding TUR itself. Again, great library, some really nice articles and interesting exchanges of thoughts and ideas among the commenters.

      But it could just serve as a data-gathering site to see who’s who and where.

      Again, who knows?

      But one thing is obvious. It’s oozing with trolls and informants.

      Trolls can be random, they can be paid employees, or they can volunteer.

      But Informants are forced to do what they do. And to do it well they’ve got to make it look good. For this reason it’s often hard to tell the difference. But then, that’s the point. Because, in the end, what difference does it make?

      Obviously, the idea of trolls and informants is nothing new and would hardly be a surprise. So I simply offer this point of view to TOO and its writers, readers and commenters for their consideration.

      Because in this day and age the trolls and informants are out and about like The Night of The LIving Dead.

      In any event, speaking of telltale signs, one of the telltale signs of both trolls and informants is that they often engage in aggressive, personal attack at either the site, or its writers, or commenters (or all of the above) for not being Nazi enough.

      If the site, writers and commenters do not value and admire Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler or National Socialism, these troll/informants will let you have it by writing in the tone of a shaming parent to a recalcitrant child.

      In short, they’ve got Nazi on the brain. Dead giveaway.

      Which is why, for all the sympathy one might actually have with some of what they say (again, they’ve got to make it look good), they’re ultimately so repellant and obnoxious.

      Naturally, you’d have to be not all there yourself to engage with such people. Not because that history isn’t important. But because debate is the last thing they’re interested in.

      They’re there to lecture, harange and harrass, using ridicule, sarcasm, shame, blame, misrepresentation,
      denial and projection.

      The only thing to do with the unhinged, or compromised, is either ignore them, or dismiss them with a joke.

      Because the real point of such trolls and informants is to contaminate the site by their mere presence and disperse the crowd.

      That way the usual suspects that represent the Hostile Elite can simply point and say, “See?”

      • Angelicus
        Angelicus says:

        I don’t get at all your theory of “Nazi trolls”. What is the point of it? And, who are the members of the “Hostile Elite”? Could you be more specific?

    • bruno
      bruno says:

      Thank you. I really enjoyed your commentary.

      With 40 mln AfroAms in Amdom BLM has a new trend. Makes one reflect on the riot era(s). Remember the LA, Brooklyn, Detroit… riots? All that might be Mickey Mouse compared to what could happen due to this new BLM endeavor. Watch the video for better comprehension. Kinda looks like an update of the 1960s Weather Man mindset. A potential modern day Toussaint L’Ouverture?

      So, what’s the solution for normalizing failing black schools and communities? Already trillions of $$$ have not eradicated the dilemma.

      What’s the solution for all the Black on Black shootings? Well? Would a resolution for reducing the sky high crime be to give more weapons to low IQers, disgruntled elements and those believing their failures are due to others?

      Perhaps the new BLM activity of giving out guns, as shown in the video, is not a ploy. Whata think? Will it be the solution for reducing fatalities? You know, by giving more ammunition. Certainly there should be a way to advance civilization, character and peace. Right?

      Watch this one. Send to others.


    • Tim Folke
      Tim Folke says:

      The reasons why Whites (the real people of colors) do not react ethnocentrically is complex, but in this day and age two reasons stand out:
      1) Fear of economic loss.
      2) The mistaken belief that ‘Jews’ are descended from the ancient Hebrews and are therefore entitled to the blind support of Christians.

      If we want to see what will work for our people, then we must study what has worked in the past. A good place to start is by taking a close look at the value systems of Victorian England and National Socialist Germany.

  3. Panadechi
    Panadechi says:

    We must analyze this inter-ethnic phenomenon from the biological point of view, if one observes nature, all interspecies bio-systems tend to look for symmetry to group or mate. This makes sense because of the successful transmission and perpetuation of genes. The similarity and homogeneity fulfills that objective coupled with psycho-social-cultural factors of similar individuals. Every system needs a high margin of symmetry to exist, asymmetry leads to dilution, failure and disappearance.
    I would change the term diverse or multicultural and homogenous societies to: Symmetric Societies and nations (Homogeneous, Japan and Asia) and Asymmetric Societies and nations (Diverse Multicultural, USA and West).
    Guangzhou, China..

  4. RobertDolan
    RobertDolan says:

    hispanics are NOT friends of white people. They are anti-white and they hate the GOP
    because they see it as the white party. An individual hispanic might be a decent person,
    but as a group they are far left and generally hostile to traditional America.

    • Richard B
      Richard B says:

      That’s about right. Good comment.

      I’ve spent lots of time in Latin America and was told by many that there was tension in some parts between Whites and non-Whites, darker Latinos, or browns or whatever they call themselves, and in some pockets, blacks, though nowhere near the situation in the US. Not even close.

      I personally didn’t see any evidence of this when I first visited. But I did later. Still, it’s nowhere near what Whites have experienced in the US.

      So the real problem is from those who identify as non-White in Mexico. They are mostly definitely chock-o-block full of resentment and envy toward America Whites. Not so much toward Mexican White elites, oddly enough. But then, that could be chalked up to simple patriotic chauvinism.

      Still, there is a grudging respect for Whites who show some toughness, who don’t back down so easy.

      In fact, since I’ve been able to talk with a good many of them, some are very respectful and not at all unhinged. The reason? Latin America from Mexico City to Buenos Aires is a low-trust culture. It’s stressful living in a low-trust culture. Conformity only goes so far. In fact, since the shadow of conformity is stupidity (a sad reality easily confirmed the world over) they know they can’t entirely rely on themselves.

      This is very obvious in prisons. In fact, I’d say that that’s where society is headed. The socialization of our DOC will be the model of society. And in that social system Latinos and Whites get along pretty well. Race riots are mostly a thing of the past because they’re bad for business. But when they do happen it’s not uncommon for Latinos and Whites to unite against blacks.

      Unfortunately, as things stand now, it’s not all that easy to find Whites outside of the prison system near as tough as those inside.

      And, to be perfectly blunt, a White man who has survived the prison system for some years is as tough as they get and, for that reason alone, ironically, will become somewhat of a model for young Whites not at all interested in living out their lives as anyone’s whipping boy.

    • Ed
      Ed says:

      This is generally true and should definitely be used as the norm.
      However, as a texan there are many multigenerational hispanics who are fiercely texan/american and HATE illegals and have no use for anything other than an american or texan flag. Im a 2nd generation american born(white from italy) and i understand their views because i have only loyalty to the american Founders views(shared by the republic of Texas and the Confederacy). I have zero loyalty or interest in italy that can move me one iota from defending my american and southern homeland against all comers.

  5. Tom
    Tom says:

    All politics is racial and within a multi-racial society it is also the politics of opportunism. Opportunism is also entirely banal in character and this banality is what explains ideological patterns. Latinos are entirely aware that their forefathers got their asses whipped by the westward expanding gringos. And now it’s time for payback. It is really quite this simple. Anyone who says otherwise is sorrily naive. Racial resentment against gringos is alive and well in Hispanics regardless of how amicable they might be in all dealings with traditional European Americans. This is why Latinos adopt leftist anti-American open borders attitudes. They want more of their own kind to inhabit their living spaces in the southwest. But general Latino leftism is not strictly devoted to open borders. Latinos view all aspects of traditional white society with suppressed disdain. Therefore, any political stance that erodes traditional America is viewed with favor.

    Now, it is true that Latinos are behaving in a normal human manner in attempting to dominate the southwest racially and culturally. In fact, their political behaviors are even racially beneficent and good – within their specific racial context of course. What is curiously abnormal is for whites to do the opposite when it comes to their own racial and cultural interests. Politics is mildly akin to sport in some ways. Soccer is a good example. If Germany is playing Brazil for the world cup, how will soccer fans worldwide decide which team to root for? Overwhelmingly, it all depends on the racial types of the fans relative to the racial types of the players. All extremely banal and unsophisticated but also entirely true.

  6. pj dooner
    pj dooner says:

    Three points.
    First, Unz is a jew and his innate jewness appears to have bubbled to the surface when he predicts that Hispanics will assimilate with whites in multicultural bliss.
    Second, many or most of those white, single childless liberals are either jews or Qs or both
    Third, the reason that there are so few Latino students in white-majority public schools in California and New Mexico is that there aren’t very many white-majority public schools in California and New Mexico. You can zoom in right down to the census tracts at the link below and deduce that for yourself:

    • willfulknowledge
      willfulknowledge says:

      And just where did he say ” … Hispanics will assimilate with whites in multicultural bliss.” He specifically said, ” … benign White-Latino race relations in the Southwest are largely illusory, the incidental byproduct of larger interstate migration patterns…”

      • PJ Dooner
        PJ Dooner says:

        I was referring to what Unz said, not what the author of the article, Patrick McDermott, said. Go back are read the article more carefully.

  7. Young Curmudgeon
    Young Curmudgeon says:

    I never had an issue with Latinos after all I had never lived with them and never known any. I met a girl online and flew to Mexico and lived and loved with them. Upon moving to California however I witnessed first hand how the Canaanite Jbirds are fomenting an immigration crisis by exclusively hiring them and supporting the illegal infestation of the state. The attitudes of the wets coming in illegally is a cocky , self assured and dominant one. The anchor babies have grown into a population of law evading shady characters after watching mom and dad skirt immigration laws and every other law their entire life. I had to stand in line at the dmv while an illegal alien worker there handed out real ids to illegal aliens who couldn’t speak a lick of English. The obviously illegal alien DMV worker denied giving me a real id because she said a honda finance bill was not a good enough bill for proof of address. I’ve been nearly killed several times by illegal aliens and anyone asking how I know they were illegal should have their head examined if they’re too stupid to figure it out. California is fast becoming a shit hole of unparalleled proportions. The wetbacks will undoubtedly torpedo California in time as the retarded liberal white populace chooses to ignore the problem,.

  8. Earl
    Earl says:

    Why the silence on the present genocide against whites in the US via massive legal and illegal non-white immigration and the murderous black criminal cancer?Because of the third world invasion, whites will soon be a racial minority in a country founded by our ancestors. This is a deliberate action perpetrated by the Democratic Party in a diabolical plan to keep them in power and impose socialism on us. They try to silence us by screaming “racism,” “xenophobia,” and other epithets. It is for us, the victims of this massive social engineering project, to resist our demographic replacement. We have to resist. Go to numbersusa to protest; contact congress to demand and end to this invasion. If you do nothing, you are part of the problem. Build the wall now.

    • RobertDolan
      RobertDolan says:

      Not just the Democratic Party pushing open borders/white genocide.

      The jewish donors fund both “sides.”

    • Andrew
      Andrew says:

      Petitioning Congress is a waste of time. Republicans want cheap labor. Democrats want votes from non-white immigrants.

      Above all, both parties answer to the Jews, who want white genocide.

      We are being replaced by brown people, and only the formation of a white ethnostate or confederation of white ethnostates will stop that — no Jews or non-whites allowed.

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