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Look Closely at Texas' Politics

Texas is the second most populous state and the largest minority-majority state. Yet The Romney-Ryan ticket swept it and Ted Cruz became a new Republican member of the US Senate. Repubicans apparently did about ten percent better among Hispanic voters (38 percent of the Texas electorate) than they did nationally. Obviously, whatever they're doing in Texas should be studied elsewhere.

But it is not altogether clear that the Texas story, however it may provide lessons for the future, is an adequate model. The 2012 returns may be have been the high water mark for the GOP. The party holds all major statewide offices and large legislative majorities. Its sway reaches down into many county governments, evidence of a strong base. It routinely now runs Hispanic candidates. However, even if Republicans continue to get, say, forty percent of the Hispanic vote, that will not be enough to sustain it in the future as the Hispanic vote continues to grow and the non-Hispanic white vote to shrink (relatively speaking). Forty percent won't be enough.

The most hopeful sign for conservatives is that a poll of Hispanics in Texas shows that "conservative" is the largest ideological category of identification, followed by "moderate", then "liberal". Obviously, the job of Republicans is to connect that ideological disposition with actual voting. In time, then, "Mexican voter" will be about as relevant as "Italian voter" in the political lexicon--a description, not a definition.

You can email brucechapman@discovery.org

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