June 26, 2021
Austin – The four top conservative Hispanic groups in Texas support recently passed legislation to more clearly define how voters can register to vote in Texas. The Republican National Hispanic Assembly, Hispanics Republicans of Texas, Texas Latino Conservatives and Bienvenido all welcomed the passage of SB 1111, a very simple and common-sense bill that bans the use of a private PO Box as the primary address for voter registration. The groups see the filed lawsuit by LULAC and Voto Latino challenging the new law as a “red herring” aimed at confusing the public and weakening election integrity.
Opinion by Henry Olsen, Columnist, June 8, 2021
Nonpartisan mayoral races don’t usually have large political implications. But Saturday’s win by a Republican in McAllen, Tex., is different, as it confirms that Latino voters are up for grabs.
McAllen has long been a Democratic stronghold. The city, which is 85 percent Hispanic or Latino, has elected Democratic mayors since 1997 and voted overwhelmingly for Democrats in partisan races. In 2016, McAllen voters supported Hillary Clinton by a 40-point margin over Donald Trump. Trump cut that margin by more than half in 2020, and now the approximately 143,000-person city has gone red.
Republicans are naturally crowing over the win while Democrats are playing it down. But both parties know that Latino voters shifted significantly to the right last year, a development that rightly worries Democrats. They depend on winning Hispanics outside of Florida by large margins. Trump would have won Arizona and Georgia had President Biden’s margins among Latinos dropped from about 25 points to 20 points. Democrats are goners throughout the Southwest if Republicans can ever seriously compete for Hispanic voters.
This poses challenges for each party. For Democrats, it first means recognizing that Latinos aren’t a monolithic ethnic voting bloc that they can count on to view Republicans as racist oppressors. A recent analysis conducted by the Democratic groups Third Way and Latino Victory found that Democrats fell into this trap in 2020, viewing Latino voters as a demographic they did not need to persuade. The analysis specifically singled out the party’s failure to note that Hispanic men in the Rio Grande Valley and oil and gas workers in New Mexico might view issues differently than urban Hispanics elsewhere in the country.
That’s sound advice, but it will be extremely difficult for Democrats to act upon given the importance of White progressives in their coalition. White progressives are motivated to fight climate change, and that means reducing the production and consumption of fossil fuels as quickly as possible. Many Latinos in the Southwest work in those fields and will lose their jobs if production is curtailed. There’s simply no way to square that tension; favoring a strong policy on climate change means phasing out fossil fuels.
Alexander Burns New York Times June 6, 2021
Democrats defeated President Donald Trump and captured the Senate last year with a racially diverse coalition that delivered victories by tiny margins in key states like Georgia, Arizona and Wisconsin.
In the next election, they cannot count on repeating that feat, a new report warns.
A review of the 2020 election, conducted by several prominent Democratic advocacy groups, has concluded that the party is at risk of losing ground with Black, Hispanic and Asian American voters unless it does a better job presenting an economic agenda and countering Republican efforts to spread misinformation and tie all Democratic candidates to the far-left.
The 73-page report, obtained by The New York Times, was assembled at the behest of three major Democratic interest groups: Third Way, a centrist think tank, and the Collective PAC and the Latino Victory Fund, which promote Black and Hispanic candidates. It appears to be the most thorough act of self-criticism carried out by Democrats or Republicans after the last campaign.
The document is all the more striking because it is addressed to a victorious party: Despite their successes, Democrats had hoped to achieve more robust control of both chambers of Congress, rather than the precarious margins they now hold.
In part, the study found, Democrats fell short of their aspirations because many House and Senate candidates failed to match Joe Biden’s support with voters of color who loathed Trump but distrusted the Democratic Party as a whole. Those constituencies included Hispanic voters in Florida and Texas, Vietnamese American and Filipino American voters in California, and Black voters in North Carolina.
Overall, the report warns, Democrats in 2020 lacked a core argument about the economy and recovering from the coronavirus pandemic — one that might have helped candidates repel Republican claims that they wanted to “keep the economy shut down” or worse. The party “leaned too heavily on ‘anti-Trump’ rhetoric,” the report concludes.
Jennifer Medina, New York Times, May 2, 2021
McALLEN, Texas — The front door of the Hidalgo County Republican Party’s office is covered with photographs of high-profile politicians in the party: Gov. Greg Abbott, Senator John Cornyn and former President Donald J. Trump. Nearly all of them are white men.
Step inside, and you’ll see a bulletin board with pictures of local Republican leaders: Adrienne Pena-Garza, Hilda Garza DeShazo, Mayra Flores. Nearly all of them are Hispanic women.
Hispanic Republicans, especially women, have become something of political rock stars in South Texas after voters in the Rio Grande Valley shocked leaders in both parties in November by swinging sharply toward the G.O.P. Here in McAllen, one of the region’s largest cities, Mr. Trump received nearly double the number of votes he did four years earlier; in the Rio Grande Valley over all, President Biden won by just 15 percentage points, a steep slide from Hillary Clinton’s 39-point margin in 2016.
That conservative surge — and the liberal decline — has buoyed the Republican Party’s hopes about its ability to draw Hispanic voters into what has long been an overwhelmingly white political coalition and to challenge Democrats in heavily Latino regions across the country. Now party officials, including Mr. Abbott, the governor, have flocked to the Rio Grande Valley in a kind of pilgrimage, eager to meet the people who helped Republicans rapidly gain ground in a longtime Democratic stronghold.
One of those people, Ms. Pena-Garza, the chair of the Hidalgo County Republican Party, grew up the daughter of a Democratic state legislator. As was common for most Hispanic families in the area, she said, voting for Democrats was a given. But after her father switched parties in 2010, Ms. Pena-Garza soon followed, arguing that Democrats had veered too far to the left, particularly on issues like abortion and gun control.
“Politics down here did scare me because you didn’t go against the grain,” she said. “If someone’s going to tell you: ‘Oh, you’re brown, you have to be Democrat,’ or ‘Oh, you’re female, you have to be a Democrat’ — well, who are you to tell me who I should vote for and who I shouldn’t?”
Ms. Pena-Garza said she was called a coconut — brown on the outside, white on the inside — and a self-hating Latino, labels that have begun to recede only in recent years as she meets more Hispanic Republicans who, like her, embrace policies that they view as helping small business owners and supporting their religious beliefs.
Now, she says, the political choice is a point of pride.
“You can’t shame me or bully me into voting for a party just because that’s the way it’s always been,” she said.
From the Texas Tribune:
JUNE 11, 2021
George P. Bush’s first trip outside Austin after he announced his campaign for attorney general wouldn’t surprise anyone watching Texas politics these days: Like many other ambitious Republicans, he visited South Texas.
The state’s current land commissioner, who is seeking to unseat incumbent Attorney General Ken Paxton, spoke with members of the Border Patrol union along the Rio Grande, met with high school students in San Juan and helped clean beaches on South Padre Island.
It was part of a flurry of GOP activity in the heavily Hispanic region this month. Nearly a year ago, Republicans’ relative success in the areas along the Texas-Mexico border helped them fend off the strongest challenge to their political dominance by Texas Democrats in decades. Now the GOP wants to take the fight to the Democrats in next year’s midterm elections and attack one of the state’s most reliably blue regions.
The work has already begun.
In addition to last week’s trip by Bush, Associated Republicans of Texas, a GOP political group, announced this week that it would target six Democratic state House seats in South Texas, citing growing support for Republicans in the area. On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott held a border summit featuring local leaders from both parties. At the event, he announced that plans were in the works "for the state of Texas to begin building the border wall," but he didn't give details.
And in a development Saturday that gained national attention, a former chairman of the Hidalgo County GOP was elected mayor of McAllen, long a Democratic stronghold. According to the county party, Javier Villalobos was the first registered Republican elected mayor of the city this century.
“There’s something going on down there,” said Aaron De Leon, political director for Associated Republicans of Texas. “We see a great opportunity in South Texas and we want to take the offensive and take it to the Democrats in what has historically been their territory.”
READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE
June 10, 2021
by Lance Tarrance, Jr.
There were a number of key municipal city elections in Texas that stunned political observers because Republicans were elected with Hispanic support. These city elections in Texas are traditionally nonpartisan, but the shift in Hispanic support of conservative Republicans attracted national media news. These small and medium size city outcomes are now being linked to the Hispanic election shifts that started in last November’s Presidential election.
Democrats are now raising concern that they are losing valuable ground with the Hispanic vote in Texas.
To quote one Democratic Congressman in the Rio Grande Valley: “Democrats have a big problem in Texas”.
READ THE FULL STORY
May 17, 2021
V. Lance Tarrance, Jr.
The big new census reports that will be coming out in the 2020 U.S. Census will show the new trends reshaping the electoral battlefield of Texas and the U.S. In the U.S. today, the Hispanic population makes up 18% of the total population, however in Texas, it is now almost 40% (39.34%). These population trends will immediately translate in how political influence will be measured over the next ten years. For example, Texas gained two new Congressional House seats (over half came from new Hispanics) and this will make Texas even more important in terms of its political power.
Texas is part of the U.S. population shift away from the Northeast and Midwest to the Southern and Western states. Only thirteen states experienced double digit population increases over the past decade – and eleven of these fastest growing states were in the South and the West. Texas, for example, has now over 11 million Hispanic residents.
The Bottom Line is that over the last decade the shift in U.S. population with its Electoral College votes and seats in the House of Representatives is away from the Northeast and Upper Midwest to the prominent Sunbelt states of Texas and Florida. One hundred years ago, in 1920, the Census showed that 60% of the nation’s total population was in the Northeast and the Midwest. However, in 2020, the population flipped to more than 60% of the population in the South and West; and in the so-called Northern regions, just 38%.
The accompanying New York Times article on May 2, 2021, and The New Yorker article of December 31, 2020 (see below), show the political influence of Hispanics starting to shift, particularly in rural, conservative areas. The new Republican-Conservative coalition for the future appears to be coalescing with New and Old South voters, along with Midwestern Rust Belt voters and a shift of new Hispanic voters -- in effect, the working middle class of America. See the post-election analysis by the New Yorker magazine which showed how Democrats are having a hard time understanding the Hispanic voting shifts.
New York Times:
In South Texas, Hispanic Republicans Try to Cement the Party’s Gains
The New Yorker:
Deconstructing the 2020 Latino Vote
Tejano Day, an initiative of Texas Latino Conservatives, is inching closer to to becoming a reality in Texas!
From Bloomberg News:
Key to a Biden upset in Texas is the Hispanic vote, with Latinos making up 30% of all eligible voters. Nationally, Latino participation in early voting is more than double what it was in 2016. Like the rest of the country, the vast majority of Hispanic votes in Texas is expected to go to Biden, and Harris’s visit to McAllen will take her to the heart of the four-county Rio Grand Valley border region. But polling has been all over the place, leaving room for a stronger-than-expected showing of conservative Latino voters.
“In Texas, the Latino vote has tended to lean Democratic, but that’s exactly it: It leans Democratic,” said Renée Cross, senior director at the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston. “I don’t think there’s any doubt that the majority of Hispanics will vote for Biden, but the question is how many of the ones who vote Republican will vote for Trump.”
October 15, 2020
HOUSTON – Texas Latino Conservatives issued the following statement regarding Gov. Greg Abbott’s intent to appoint former Justice Rebeca Huddle to the Texas Supreme Court.
“Rebeca Huddle has been a principled leader in the Texas judicial system since her appointment to the First Court of Appeals in 2011 by Gov. Rick Perry. In her time on the court, she gained extensive knowledge of our state’s appellate system, authoring more than 400 majority opinions and adjudicating more than 1,000 appeals. Ms. Huddle’s Hispanic heritage illustrates the power and potential of the conservative Latino community. She will be a strong addition to the Texas Supreme Court and Texas Latino Conservatives looks forward to her long career on the Court protecting the rights of Texans”.
Texas Latino Conservatives is a statewide organizing force of the conservative Latino community working to increase Latino representation and participation in government.
Download the Press Release