Republican leaders are trying to walk back the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the past campaign and explore the possibility of reviving something like the DREAM Act, but they might find it hard to stop the teabaggers from immigrant bashing. A generation of Latino citizens are coming of age and Republicans can’t afford to have them voting 70% Democratic — particularly in Texas, which hasn’t elected a Democrat statewide since 1994 — but a growing Hispanic electorate could change that. (Obama got 41% in Texas — and Mexican Americans weren’t fooled into thinking new Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, a Cuban American, has much to do with their interests. Democrat Paul Sadler got 40% and carried many of the same South Texas counties as Obama.)
Democrats would be glad to let the racist attitudes of Republican leaders mold a new generation of Latino Democrats. After all, Democrats harvested votes from Irish Americans for 150 years based on the memories of Republican hostility to Irish immigrants dating back before the Civil War.
News media exit polls were not conducted in Texas, but Latino Decisions polled in Texas and found that 70% of Texas Latinos supported Obama, 71% supported the Democratic congressional candidate and 65% of Texas Latinos voted for Democrat Sadler over Republican Cruz.
In Texas, 48% of US citizens under age 18 are Latino, say researchers at the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute at the University of South California. Only two other states have higher percentages of Latinos aging into the voting electorate: California with 51% and New Mexico with 58%. Texas public schools tipped majority Latino last year, according to the Texas Education Agency. When those students become voters, Republicans could find the door to the White House closed to them.
“In not too many years, Texas could switch from being all Republican to all Democrat,” Senator-elect Cruz recently told Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker. “If that happens, no Republican will ever again win the White House. New York and California are for the foreseeable future unalterably Democrat. If Texas turns bright blue, the Electoral College math is simple. We won’t be talking about Ohio, we won’t be talking about Florida or Virginia, because it won’t matter. If Texas is bright blue, you can’t get to two-seventy electoral votes. The Republican Party would cease to exist. We would become like the Whig Party. Our kids and grandkids would study how this used to be a national political party. ‘They had Conventions, they nominated Presidential candidates. They don’t exist anymore.’”