The New York Times is obsessed with Mayra Flores, and the Hispanic vote in general. The paper looks at the trend of the Hispanic vote moving toward the Republican Party, and tries to understand it. Recently, the NYT wrote an article calling Flores an "ultra-right-winger," and now the paper is interviewing the author of the article. The congresswoman says that the newspaper has a 'Mayra Flores Derangement Syndrome'.
I think New York Times has MFDS, Mayra Flores Derangement Syndrome!! This article was published today 😅 https://t.co/HT9Op7YK12
— Mayra Flores For Congress (@MayraFlores2022) July 10, 2022
The NYT article has had a lot of impact, and so the paper interviews Jennifer Medina. The journalist started at the newspaper as an intern, and has been working for the gray lady for 20 years. In the interview, Medina shows that she knows Mayra Flores' environment well, and the reasons that may explain the change in the Hispanic vote.
The border is very present in Mayra Flores' biography, and in the biography of many Hispanics. "Republicans have been criticized for being anti-immigrant, obviously, and here’s a woman who not only is an immigrant but who worked in the fields alongside her parents as a farmworker. Flores has described herself as Democrats’ worst nightmare, but she was also Republicans’ wildest dream. She’s the first Mexican-born woman in Congress, and the Republican Party completely embraced her", says Jennifer Medina.
One interesting aspect is that Republicans, or as Medina puts it, "the people who support Trump," make a big distinction between legal and illegal immigration. "They say a version of, “Nobody who’s coming in now is doing it the right way. People should get in line and do it the way we did it.” But a lot of people I talked to, including Republicans, have empathy for immigrants", says Jennifer Medina. She acknowledges that the mood is growing to help immigrants.
In the 34th district of Texas, where Mayra Flores was elected, " It’s a place where law enforcement is revered. For a lot of people, law enforcement — not only the police, but also the Border Patrol and sheriffs — is the best path to the middle class".
Mayra Flores is married to a Border Patrol cop. This is the case for several of the Hispanic women who organized the "Trump trains," a pro-Donald Trump campaign organized for the Hispanic community in 2020.
But the question is why Hispanics feel less and less represented by the Democratic Party. Medina points out that Flores won in a low-turnout election. He still believes her victory is not just because the Democratic vote stayed home, but because some democrats opted for her.
He offers the example of a Catholic couple, with whom the journalist had been talking. They had voted for Clinton in 2016. But they have been moving away from the Democrats because they saw that "had started to feel like undocumented immigrants were getting welfare benefits that they shouldn’t, and that Democrats were increasingly hostile to anybody who was anti-abortion". In 2020 they voted for Donald Trump, and recently voted for Flores for Congress.
On the other hand, "a growing segment of Hispanic evangelicals feels much more tied to the evangelical movement than to any sort of Latino political identity".