Texas Democrats' years-long unsuccessful effort to turn the state blue has hit a new and somewhat surprising obstacle---Hispanic voters. The 2020 election saw a dramatic shift toward Republicans in the mostly Hispanic Texas southern border region, with Donald Trump more than doubling his 2016 vote totals in some counties, and even winning 94% Hispanic Zapata County--the first Republican presidential candidate to win that county in 100 years. The trend continued earlier this year, with 85% Hispanic McAllen electing a Republican mayor in a dramatic upset.
This shift among Texas Hispanics is real and Democrats are taking note of it. Bill Miller, Texas political consultant with HillCo Partners, says Dems mistakenly thought the growing Hispanic population was their key to flipping the state. "Instead, the Hispanic population per se hasn't turned out heavily in any election, and now we're seeing a trend among them toward Republican support," he tells KTRH.
"It's not because of what Texas Democrats are doing, it's what the Democrats in Washington D.C. are doing, or not doing in the case of the border," Miller continues. "It's a dissatisfaction, and I think they're going to express that at the ballot box like they did a year ago."
After years of Democrats slowly closing the gap on Republicans in Texas, this shift among Hispanics could solidify Texas as a red state for years, according to Miller. "I would say that Democrats need to be very careful with the election, because if they take the Hispanic population for granted or don't otherwise establish some point of view that's more popular with them, they're going to lose that base," he says. "If you lose them a couple or three cycles in a row, you've lost them for basically ten years...and that's a long time in this game."