South Texas is increasingly becoming a subject of fascination for political pundits as Hispanic voters of the state have started to vote Republican.
Democrats thought that the Hispanic population of Texas would be the key to turning the state blue, but recent polls have contradicted this expectation.
No one expected the Hispanic population to vote for a Republican candidate due to Trump’s actions on immigration of the Latino population.
In the 2020 presidential election, Democrats failed to turn out Latino voters as the party struggled to reach voters, according to a recent post-election report released by Texas Democrats.
Democrats were expecting to flip the Texas state in this election cycle, but this dream was not realized because of the lack of Democratic campaign efforts.
Even during the pandemic, Republicans were out in the field campaigning, but Democrats did not pursue any effort religiously.
Many counties of Texas that have been voting Democrats since the 1890s were either won by Donald Trump, or he came close to winning them.
Even after the election, the situation has not gone back in favor of the Democrats, as many Latino voters are leaving the Democratic Party.
Latino Voters Leaving the Democratic Party is a Fair Sign of Worry for Blue Ranks
After the presidential election, a narrative was built that Latinos voted Republican in the election because of Cubans in Florida and Mexican Americans in South Texas.
Even though this might be the case for many, this was not the general reason for the Latinos not to come out in support of the Democratic party.
First, Democrats failed to reach the Hispanic voters, or they did not want to reach them because they thought that Hispanics would automatically vote for them because of their hatred towards Donald Trump.
The report released by Texas Democrats showed that most of the Hispanic voters were not reached face to face.
Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa says that the inability of Democrats to reach the Latino base was “devastating” for the party.
The report showed that the party found it difficult to reach the voters whose phone numbers could not be found, or who lived in rural areas, “as well as people of color.”
The Democrats’ model of the digital election campaign was flawed, to say the least. They struggled with faulty and incomplete data, and hence, paid the price.
In part, the study also found that Democrats failed because the aspirations of many top leaders of the party did not align with the aspirations of President Joe Biden.
Latino voters in Starr county of the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas loathed Trump but distrusted the Democratic party as a whole.
This region was considered to be the stronghold of Democrats in Texas and the key to flipping the state.
Another major reason for Hispanic voters to turn Republican was the Democrat’s agenda of clean energy sources.
The largest industry of Texas is oil and gas, and nearly 60,000 oil and gas-related jobs were lost .
The Hispanic population believes that the Democrats will move toward cleaner energy sources that could ultimately cost them their jobs.
This was also one of the reasons that Texas Latino voters decided to vote for Republicans, as the Republican government would guarantee the further expansion of the oil and gas industry.
This was also evident during theTexas electric breakdown crisis, when Democrats vowed for green energy, compared to conventional Republicans.
Mayoral Loss in the Texas Majority Region Set Off Democratic Alarms
In June, a Republican became mayor of McAllen, a Latino-majority region in South Texas. The Mexican Americans in Texas were historically Democrats, but the recent victories of Republicans from this region have shown a shift in the trend.
This victory has further alarmed the Democrats, who were already evaluating the electoral loss in presidential elections.
Pundits believe that in the recent few years, Democrats have not engaged and invested in the Hispanic population, who have historically voted blue.
To win these voters back, there is a need to mark a shift in the Democratic narrative. Democrats need to alter their narrative and talk about jobs and not take these regions for granted.
The recent loss of the mayoral election in South Texas is a wake-up call for Democrats ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
The Rio Grande Valley went solidly for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary, proving that voters in this region are all about the economy and will support a narrative of providing new jobs instead of snatching away the older ones.
Addressing the Distinctiveness of South Texas: The Need of the Hour
Mexican Americans are expected to back Democrats all around the United States, mostly because of the Republican agenda on immigration.
But the Latinos of South Texas are culturally different to a great extent than Latinos elsewhere, as they incline towards conservativism as compared to Latinos elsewhere in the United States.
Democrats, to regain the Latino voters of South Texas, will have to address this distinctive behavior of Latino voters.
The candidates in the 2022 midterm election will have to decide to position themselves as moderate Democrats or more conservative.
As Texas state Republicans are also pursuing their regressive agenda of voter suppression, it signifies that the voting behavior against Democrats can intensify in days to come.
Coupled with redistricting, this problem is promising to play against Democrats.
Texas Democrats need to redefine their political ideologies at a time when the state is turning more conservative, evidenced by the decision of lawmakers to ban abortion in the state.