The Texas Democratic Party, and the national Democrats along with them, have a racist strategy to flip Texas from reliably Republican to purple or even blue. Talk to any Democrat leader here or nationally and they will admit that they have no intention to change or moderate any of their policies. They are not going to back away from their high-tax, anti-business policies, and they are not going to moderate on abortion or lend any meaningful support on the Second Amendment (Wendy Davis’ unconvincing conversion on open carry only serving to reinforce the Democrats’ party position). They won’t even step away from Barack Obama despite his unpopularity here. They even stand with Big Labor in this right-to-work state.
Democrats are just waiting for the state’s rising Hispanic population to turn Texas into a swing or even blue state. That’s their strategy.
The Democrats’ strategy assumes several things. One, that Hispanics in Texas vote as a bloc. Two, that Hispanics pay no attention to policy save immigration. Three, that most Hispanics who pay attention to immigration are uniformly in favor of an essentially unsecured border and amnesty. Four, that the Democrats’ positions on social issues will not hurt them with Hispanic voters. And five, that taking a strong stance on immigration and border enforcement is a sure-fire loser for Republicans, and therefore a winner for Democrats.
A new Gallup poll throws gallons of cold water on everything that Democrats think about Hispanic voters in Texas.
The poll finds that nationally, Hispanics prefer Democrats by 30 points, but in Texas, the gap is just 19 points. Hispanic voters have gravitated toward Republicans in Texas at a time when Democrat policies like Obamacare are clearly failing and hurting the economy, and Democrat policies on energy have clearly hurt the Lone Star state. Despite that, Texas is outperforming the national economy largely because Texas has elected Republicans, and those Republicans have enacted serious conservative policies that are working across Texas. The Democrats have also gone all-in on abortion, electing the most pro-abortion president in American history while promoting the radically pro-late term abortion state Sen. Wendy Davis as their standard-bearer in Texas. The Democrats have lurched too far to the left on social and economic issues generally. Texas Hispanics have noticed.
At the same time, most Texas Republicans have not only not avoided the subject of border security, they have tended to articulate strong and clear policies on border security that include security first, followed by no amnesty, but compassion for the very few illegal aliens who were brought into the U.S. as young children and only know America as their home. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, son of immigrants from Cuba himself, articulated strong border policies during his primary campaign, and attracted 40% of the Hispanic vote on his way to victory.
Overall, the trend for Hispanic voters in Texas is not one that will change the state’s voting habits anytime soon.
Relative to 2008 — the year of President Barack Obama’s landslide presidential victory — Texan Hispanics have gradually become more Republican, even as the percentage of Hispanics identifying with or leaning toward the Republican Party has remained relatively stable nationwide. The six-percentage-point gap between the percentage of Texan Hispanics and Hispanics living in all other states who identify or lean GOP is the highest it has been in over six years.
Policy does matter, and how it is articulated matters too.
The national GOP could learn a few lessons from the Texas GOP on the issue of border security and attracting more Hispanic voters — voters who are vital to the Republicans’ viability from now on. They can listen to the pundits who essentially agree with the Democrats’ cartoon view of Hispanic voters, or they can watch what works and what doesn’t in majority-minority Texas. Pandering and surrendering to the Democrats will not work. The first is a good way to insult voters, while the second will fracture the party’s base.
The fact is, many of Texas’ Hispanics have been in this state for four and five generations or more. Hispanic voters are not single-issue voters. The Texas GOP has been successful in encouraging and recruiting quality conservative Hispanic candidates for offices from the county and local level to the legislature on up — state Rep. Larry Gonzales, the aforementioned Sen. Cruz, and many others across the state. Independent grassroots outreach groups like Duke Machado’s GOPisForMe are making a big difference too. The Texas GOP has also focused on connecting with Hispanic voters on jobs, on values, and on the future — not one issue, but a range of issues. At the same time, Texas Republicans aren’t going soft on the border. Quality candidates and a full-spectrum approach on issues — that’s how Texas Republicans are outperforming the national and other state-level Republicans with Hispanic voters.