Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Texas Population Could Shift State Politics

Sometime between 2015 and 2020, the Hispanic population of Texas will surpass the Anglo population, according to the San Antonio Express News today.

Hispanics will account for 78 percent of Texas’s population growth between now and 2040 while African Americans will account for 6 percent and Anglos only 4 percent.

The change in demographics has implications for the state’s politics.  Republicans have been a majority in Texas and today hold all 29 statewide elected offices, yet the party has a difficult time keeping Hispanics in statewide office and attracting Hispanic voters.

According to Jerry Polinard, a political science professor at UT-Pan American, Texas Democrats get about 70 percent of the Hispanic vote.

Among the 96 Republicans in the 181-member Legislature, there are no Hispanics. Polinard says that the fact that the Legislature supports Voter ID bills and efforts to enlist local police enforcing immigration laws can be a deterrent for Latino voters to support Republican candidates.  The Texas GOP calls for an abolition of bilingual education and supports legislation that would not allow noncitizen children to attend public schools.

And while this all plays favorably for Democrats, “no political party has the right to claim ownership of the Latino community,” says Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, who chairs the Mexican American Legislative Caucus.

The chair of the Texas Republican Party acknowledges the Democrats’ advantage in the Hispanic community but believes inroads are being made.  Cathy Adams predicts that this November, Texas GOP Hispanics will be elected to Congress and to the Legislature this November. Four Hispanic Republicans are running for Congress, six for the state House.

Currently, Hispanic voters constitute 13 to 19 per cent of the total vote in the state.  It will take another decade for that percentage to increase to between 25 to 30 percent of the vote.

San Antonio Express News