While this Chron article is saying that the Latino vote split among the two political parties, and this Statesman article points to discrepancies in GOP exit polling on Latinos and that the GOP didn’t get the numbers they say they got, it is pretty obvious that Latinos just didn’t vote. While the Republicans will celebrate supposedly higher percentages of support, the fact will remain that Latinos are a lot more progressive thinking than the backwards-thinking GOP.
As the article states, Latinos made up 17% of those voting on Tuesday in Texas (8% nationally) and there was an obvious decrease in Latino turnout compared to 2010
(I haven’t seen a turnout number, but I’d venture to guess about 16% to 18% of [eligible] Latinos turned out on Tuesday)*. [Update: The Immigration Policy Center reports that there are 2.7 million registered Latino voters in Texas, so that would change my estimate of Latino turnout to 28 to 30 percent. So, obviously, I’m still looking for harder numbers which no one seems to provide.]
The evidence becomes a lot more obvious in the race for Congress, District 23.
In the state’s only competitive congressional race, a heavily Hispanic district between San Antonio and El Paso, Republican challenger Will Hurd narrowly beat Democratic incumbent Pete Gallego.
Democrats say that had less to do with Republican inroads than general voter apathy in midterm elections. “Latinos either voted for Pete or stayed home,” said Gallego strategist Anthony Gutierrez. “They were not voting for Will Hurd in numbers that would justify saying he made in-roads among Latinos.”
Republicans have won this seat in the past because of the high-turnout Anglo areas in San Antonio and Medina County, and because turnout on the border is low. It’s obvious, when Latinos don’t vote in Texas, Democrats lose, and the 1/3 of Latinos who usually vote for the right-wingers become a bigger share of the Latino electorate.
But leave it to the Republicans to celebrate higher percentages of Latinos for themselves (by few percentage points, according to the poll mentioned in the Statesman), rather than lament the fact that a lower number of Latinos voted. In fact, this was their goal all along, given their redistricting tactics.
Still, already Republicans are talking that same tired line that Latinos are conservative, when a poll found that issues like immigration, economy/jobs, education, and health care access are the top issues; issues Republicans have voted against Latinos on time and again. No, Republicans, you are wrong and you will always be wrong about Latinos.
The Statesman article, though, does point to a bigger problem, which I first mentioned in yesterday’s post:
Democratic consultant James Aldrete, who advised Davis and Van de Putte, said the poll shows the Democrats have “a white people problem” – and, admittedly, a turnout problem – but that “We don’t have a Hispanic problem.”
Still, I can’t help but chuckle when asked by Anglo Dems: How do we get Latinos to vote? And I want to ask: How do we stop Anglos from giving 80% of their vote to bigoted Republicans? But that may open up a whole other bushel of jalapeños.
That said, it still doesn’t explain why Latinos didn’t vote. While Democrats probably had more of an effort to contact Latino voters, nationally, a poll found that less than half of Latino voters had been contacted by campaigns. Others blame Voter ID, which has disenfranchised many Latinos. And the more obvious one that has been on the news and this blog is President Obama’s political move to delay executive action to save a few anti-immigrant Democrats (although I point to an even bigger problem regarding immigration, so read that post).
I’m more inclined to state that these may have lowered turnout of usual mid-term Latino voters; however, there are plenty more Latinos who just don’t vote. Why is this? Whether it’s the media, Democrats, Democratic donors, and certainly Republicans, no one has tried to find out. But if the intent is to change the mind of only those who usually vote, then, Democrats should expect lower turnout in 2016. Maybe we should start by reading this article?
Some might say Latinos are content as long as they have their big screen TVs, Texans/Dynamo/Rockets/Astros tickets and gear, and a life that just goes on without many challenges caused by bad public policies. In other words, la pinche huevonada, as my late Dad called it. If this is the case, here in Harris County even the suburbs suffered from lax turnout (example, District 132 in Katy/Cypress area had 33%), but they were Republican-heavy enough to win handily. So, maybe everyone has la pinche huevonada, not just Latinos, in 2014.
Obviously, our civic duty took a major hit across the board, given that only 1/3 of Texans voted. When one takes all the numbers into consideration, Greg Abbott really earned the support of 19% of the 14 million registered Texans (thanks to my friend Susan for that point of fact). It is wrong for so few people to give that much power to one right-wing zealot. But it is what it is.
Civic duty doesn’t stop with voting, so, my hope is that the
pendejos folks that didn’t vote wake up when Abbott, Dan Patrick and their buddies begin to dismantle Texas as we know it. Because civic participation also means we can march down Congress Avenue to the Capitol and demand something different than what is being offered.
Pilar Marrero of La Opinion in LA offers some more perspective.
* There’s been some confusion on Latino turnout, which is why I stated “eligible,” since that is the term used in various articles by groups like NALEO, but that didn’t necessarily mean “registered.” The Immigration Policy Center states that there are 2.7 million registered Latino voters in Texas, which, if there were an estimated 800,000 Latinos who voted in the 2014 election, then we’re looking at more like 28 to 30 percent Latino turnout. Still, lower than 2010. Obviously, Latinos still didn’t show up.