A Blue Texas? Latinos Will Decide

As Latinos tilt Democratic, can Texas stay ‘red’?

That's the question Michael B. Farrell examines in his terrific article in today's Christian Science Monitor. While he doesn't give an answer, he lays out some of the political and demographic trends shaping the outcome. For example:

    • Texas' major cities are now controlled by Democrats
    • Texas recently joined California, New Mexico and Hawaii as a minority majority state
    • Texas Latinos comprise 36% of the population (eclipsing the Anglo pop. by 2020)
    • Texas in-migration of Anglos are typically younger, more urban and more progressive than are native Anglo Texans
    • Nationally, younger Latinos backed Obama 76% to 19% for McCain
    • Texas Anglos is an aging demographic (e.g., 70% of people older than 60 in Harris County/Houston are Anglo, while more than 75% of people younger than 30 are non-Anglo)
Of course, changes in demographics alone will not decide the fate of a political party. After all, immigrant groups have been known to migrate politically as they solidified their middle class status, and the same thing could happen with Latinos and other populations in Texas. It is, in part, how President G. W. Bush managed to get 46% of the Texas Latino vote in '04.

And there's always the possibility -- slim as it may be -- of the party exorcising itself and transforming into a competent, humane and forward thinking option more in-sync with peoples' aspirations instead of their fears.

But actions and words matter. And Republicans of late have been hell bent on scapegoating all of the nation's problems on immigrants -- Latino immigrants in particular. Some of their leading nativist propagandists--Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Tom Tancredo, Patrick Buchanan, Michael Savage, and many others--view Latinos in general as a threat.

As a result, Republicans have been steadily losing Latino support. According to Pew, Latino support for the GOP dropped 9% between '04 and '08.

Further dimming their prospects are Republican views on the environment, women's rights, gay rights, labor rights, foreign policy and economics. Harsh conservative views trouble today's younger voters of all stripes -- across the nation as well as in Texas.

Imagine a Texas-less Republican Party. Hard to imagine, right? But nevertheless, likely. Had Texas flipped this year, McCain would have lost by 399 to 137 EVs instead of 365 to 171 trouncing he received. If Texas flips in 2012 or 2016, the damage to the GOP will be even greater if, as expected, 1 or 2 electoral votes are added to its total as per reapportionment.

Barring a catastrophic failure on the part of President Barack Obama and the national Democrats, it's hard to see a scenario whereby Republicans stop Texas from going Blue. They have blown it! Nativism, warmongering and economic incompetence are just not selling points for people looking for brighter futures.

Related: Changing Face of Texas: Population Projections and Implications


  1. Anonymous11/30/2008

    Yeah! California's a big blue state, and look how great things are there!

  2. Anonymous11/30/2008

    foutsc said

    "Yeah! California's a big blue state, and look how great things are there!"

    What foutsc forgets is that the U.S. had a "red" (Republican) government for the last 8 years and "look how great things are" in the U.S. as Bush leaves office.

  3. Some here have referred to California. Fair enough. Just remember that California, the home state of Nixon and Reagan, was reliably Republican until prop 187-- the anti-immigrant proposition in 1994. That quickly turned California's large and varied immigrant population away from those who supported it-- the state Republican party. Since then, California has elected pretty much only Democrats to statewide office {other than one celebrity Republican who happens to be an immigrant himself and is far too liberal for most Republicans to contemplate-- but he is about the only kind of Republican who can still win statewide in California.)

    It is amazing to me that the prop 187 suicide that the California Republican party committed is now being replicated on a national level.

    As far as Texas is concerned, it is worth noting one obvious sign of impending trouble: Harris county was (light) blue this time around, a stark contrast from its red color in past elections. The movement of states like California, Illinois, Michigan and Pennsylvania to the left about 10-15 years ago (and New York ten years before that) have been marked by a deeper and deeper blue of the county containing their largest metropolitan areas, which has eventually become a big blue monster that overwhelmed the less populated, more conservative areas of the state. Even Virginia has swung largely because of a single county, Fairfax, which is a heavily populated and now solidly blue county. Houston is the largest city in Texas, and while Harris county is relatively a smaller percentage of the state than, say, LA county is of California, its shift to blue this year is clearly the worrisome seed of what could become the identical occurrence of what happened in the aforementioned states.

  4. Thanks for excellent website "American Taino"...

    I have become a Demography Junkie, studying the developments of Youth, in particular with the the campaign of Obama during the whole year 2008. That implies the study of Minorities and their numbers.

    I have been collecting Maps of Youth for the USA, and statistics for the crucial Youth States : California, Texas, the South West, Florida, and probably Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama. Those states are very young.

    I share your impression that Texas has some possibilities of becoming blue and voting for Obama in 2012, if everything goes well.

    You find maps and lots of numbers of Youngsters and Minorities in my sites :



    Vicente Duque

  5. Anonymous6/17/2011

    Yeah but what does it mean that it goes "blue"? We need concrete plans and I don't see any to be honest, just because it's likely to go "blue" doesn't say much. I know you wrote his WAY back. Now in 2011 Democrats have had a chance to change things for the better but they have not, so I don't feel any relief necessarily that Texas might go "blue." I want to see more concrete plans that specify the changes. Like...an end to U.S. intervention in foreign countries, end the drug war, improve the public school system. I have not seen Democrats seriously address these issues. Thanks for sharing Gerry, I didn't want to post this long response on Facebook. --marcia herrera