Tentative Pocket Strategy
Latinos: Keep Texas Red
While the Republican Candidates enter the last lap toward the November elections, Latino Republican Organizations and those seeking to be elected to office should be ready to address the issues that are currently in the mind of Latino voters. Districts where the Latino population is more than 50%, or where the share of the registered voters is at least 30%, is where Latino voting-bloc can be more realistically captured. Apart from Presidential and Senatorial election, there are many statewide elections that can be decided with a 10-point margin (46 -54) . These are the races where Latinos can be effective in gaining leverage with Republican candidates and the state Party by addressing issues important to Latinos such education, job, immigration, and voter apathy.
During the last 82nd Session, the Texas Legislature was one of the most effective to date since Republicans carried a virtual super majority. However, some of the legislation passed by the 82nd Session has been mostly publicized by the Spanish-Speaking and liberal “Anglo” media as anti-Latinos. Legislations such sanctuary bill, Voter Id, Re-districting, cuts in public education, and immigration have become tools for Democrats to attack Republican Candidates. Though some of the bills are still pending their implementation (Voter ID), or some have been defeated (sanctuary bill), the perception is already out there that Republicans in Texas have become anti-Hispanic/Latino. Therefore, preparing candidates to answers such questions by the media and Latinos voters in their respective distinct can serve to debunk the Democrats attacks that all those bills have been detrimental to Latinos in Texas.
The Democrat Machinery in Texas: Registration drives, using the Voter ID, Redistricting, and “Sanctuary” against Republicans candidates. Also, general election and coattails will increase the Democrat chances: Latinos coming out to vote straight Party line.
The General election will increase Latino vote by 2 millions nationally.
Voter Turnout: Latinos in Texas have the lowest turnout in the nation, but Democrats are working to register 2 million of unregistered native Latino Texans. New Mexico has the higher turnout since majority of Latinos in NM are already 4th or 5th Generation.
Where Latinos vote on the issues:
- Redistricting: Republican Hispanic Candidates needs to have basic knowledge of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and to understand which legislation wins the majority-minority districts and how it relates to new Republican Proposed map . Essentially, is this new Republican red-districting map good for Latinos in Texas and in Congress while following the intent of 1965 Voting Rights Act?
- Voter ID: Republican Candidates need to be prepared to explain how identical legislations in other states have actually increased voter turnout among minorities. Though, the law is not yet implemented, Latinos perceived the law intended to suppress Latino voters. Candidates need to focus on why the intent of the law was/is intended to curtail fraud (dead people voting). Or how this will serve as encouragement for Latinos to come out and vote.
- The Impact of Immigration Issue in the Election in Texas and Nationally.
The Texas Solution has opened the door for Republican, while demanding Border Security, to have reasonable conversation based on the economic needs of Texas, immigrants helping to pay for entitlements, and the aging population of the state. Also, this will allow a discussion on how the Republican legislature has dealt with the issues regarding immigration in more pragmatic ways than other states.
- Education: Though Republicans did cut 4 billion in public education, for the last 10 years the Republican legislature has worked hard to provide the necessary tools to Latinos in the state: the Top Ten Percent, In-State-Tuition. This has worked to the benefit of Latinos as it has encouraged more Latinos to stay in school and become high income wage earners.
Voter Apathy: NALEO/Pew Hispanic estimates about 4 million of Latinos eligible voters in Texas. However, only about 2.3 million are registered voter and only 40% turnout.
We need to establish a “Pocket Strategy.” That will reach out to smaller organizations, schools and churches so that they can touch on these subjects and affect the voters.
Latino voters should clearly listen to those GOP Candidates and their message. They must have clear Conservative words that will indicate to the voters that they are indeed Conservative and Latino friendly.
Linda Vega, Founder of Latinos Ready To Vote!
Alex Gonzalez, Political Director