GOP Surprise Showing in Hispanic Metros
Takes Steam from Dem Boost in Suburbs
By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor
November 4, 2020
The Democratic Party's campaign to turn Texas blue proved to be a high-dollar flop on Tuesday night when modest gains in the suburbs was more than offset by a shocking amount of defections by Hispanics who backed President Donald Trump.
Texas had been shifted to the toss up column in the eyes of the national oddsmakers until Trump defeated Democrat Joe Biden in the Lone Star State by almost 6 points with more than 52 percent of the statewide vote after winning here by 9 in 2016.
But Biden and the Democrats paid a steep price for taking the Latinos here for granted while focusing almost exclusively on the suburbs when Trump shaved more than 10 percentage points on average off the margins of victory that Hillary Clinton posted in 2016 in the heavily-Hispanic major populations on the state's southern border.
Biden won less than 59 percent of the vote in the Rio Grande Valley destination of Hidalgo County where Clinton had garnered 69 percent in the last presidential election. Biden scored 9 points lower in neighboring Cameron County than Clinton had there. Biden claimed 63 percent of the vote in Webb County where Clinton scored 74 percent as the Democratic nominee for the White House in 2016.
Trump carried the South Texas coastal location of Nueces County last night with almost 52 percent of the vote after failing to reach the 49 percent mark when he prevailed there in the bout with Clinton four years ago.
Biden performed about 5 points better on average than Clinton in the state largest metropolitan areas when he carried Harris county with almost 57 percent of the vote while claiming 66 percent and 59 percent in Dallas and Bexar counties respectively in Tuesday's vote.
The former vice-president fared 3.5 points better than Clinton on average in Collin and Denton counties on the northern outskirts of the Dallas-Fort Worth area where Trump landed 52 percent and 54 percent respectively at the polls this week.
But the Democratic nominee had been counting on stronger showings in the state's largest cities and suburbs without any apparent realization about the potential loss of support in major Latino locations that the president had appeared to alienate with attacks on immigrants and a reputation as a racist on both sides of the aisle.
Hispanic Democrats in Texas - especially in border areas and other parts of South Texas - have tended to be more fiscally conservative than Democrats from the big cities here. But some Texas Republicans including Governor Greg Abbott, George W. Bush and John Tower had a history of faring relatively well in Latino strongholds after making concerted attempts to win support in those areas.
But Trump's central message that sought to fuel fears about socialism, anarchy and gun control apparently played better than expected in South Texas and the stretch of the border in that part of the state.
Texas GOP Chairman Allen West made note of the gains in Hispanic areas that the state party had appeared to be ignoring while focusing on attacks on Abbott over coronavirus restrictions.
“The Texas Republican majority spoke loudly last night," West declared on Wednesday. "Heartland voters who live in rural Texas joined with urban and suburban conservative warriors and thousands in Hispanic majority counties in South and West Texas to deliver the message that life, liberty, law and order, Texas values and our Second Amendment rights are their top priority. "
But West's counterpart - Texas Democratic Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa - sought to find silver linings in his party's most disappointing showing in Texas since the Republicans took over here 20 years ago.
"We may not have advanced as far as we hoped, but we are just as ready and eager as we have ever been for the fight to come," Hinojosa said. "The next election will bring new voters, new voting maps, and new candidates. We are in the strongest position we’ve been in years and we are no less optimistic about the movement we are building. Texas is the biggest battleground state.”
more to come ...