Growing Republican Strength Along the Rio Grande River?

(Note: I strongly encourage you to click the image links on this post when reading; they're essential to understanding what I'm saying.)

The state of Texas is one of the Republican Party’s most valuable strongholds. It adds a good 38 electoral votes to the Republican candidate’s electoral vote; Democrats have not been competitive in the state for at least a decade.

One of the only Democratic regions in Texas lies along the Rio Grande River:


Link to Map of Texas, 2008 Presidential Election

This region is the part of Texas that borders Mexico. It is readily apparent in the map above as the only group of blue counties that President Barack Obama won outside of a major city.

The area is one of the most Hispanic areas in the United States; there are places, especially next to the border of Mexico, where the Hispanic percentage approaches 100%. Some of these people have lived along the Rio Grande for hundreds of years, with roots dating back to when Texas was a part of Mexico.

There are several other distinguishing characteristics. The parts of Texas along the Mexican border are among the poorest regions in the United States. Politically speaking, voter turn-out is very low – perhaps lower than any other part of the country.

When the rest of Texas moved steadily Republican, South Texas swung leftwards for much of the twentieth century. In 1996 the Democratic presidential nominee won almost every single county south of San Antonio, some with over 80% of the vote.

Since then, however, Republicans have recovered their verve. President George W. Bush did incredibly well amongst Hispanics in Texas; in 2004 he even won 86% Hispanic Cameron County in the Rio Grande Valley. In 2008 the Democratic presidential candidate once again posted solid numbers along the Rio Grande. Nevertheless, they ran well behind their 1996 performance throughout the region:

Link to Map of Texas, Voting Shifts From 1996 to 2008

(Note: Edited NYT Image)

Compared to 1988 – a year in which the Democratic presidential candidate suffered a resounding national defeat – the 2008 nominee, despite winning a solid national victory, also failed to improve markedly in the Rio Grande area:

Link to Map of Texas, Voting Shifts From 1988 to 2008

(Note: Edited Center For American Progress Image)

(Note: This image can be accessed here.)

Note that in 2008 Democrats lost Texas by 11.8%; in 1988 they lost Texas by 12.6%.

In the 2010 midterm elections Republicans also made several gains in South Texas, winning two heavily Hispanic congressional districts. The first was the 23rd congressional district, which is 65.5% Hispanic; the second the 27th congressional district, which is 71.6% (!) Hispanic.

Link to Map of Texas Congressional Districts Along Rio Grande River

These patterns are not unique to Texas. In rural south Colorado, for instance, traditionally Hispanic counties have also trended Republican since the 1990s.

Whether the areas of Texas bordering the Rio Grande River will continue moving Democratic or Republican is up-to-question. In Texas, the effects of Mr. Bush’s appeal to Hispanics still are heard; Hispanics in the state are some of the more conservative in the country. The Texas Republican Party has also been relatively moderate on immigration issues. For instance, Republican Governor Rick Perry – a firecracker on other issues – opposes SB 1070.

Needless to say, Republican success at cutting Democratic margins in the counties bordering the Rio Grande would constitute a major achievement for the party.


If a Democrat is ever to win Texas – and none has done so for more than a decade – he or she will need enormous margins there. If Republicans go from 30+% to 40+% of the vote in El Paso or Hidalgo County, it is very difficult to imagine Democrats ever winning Texas.

For more than a decade Democrats have latched onto the Great Hispanic Hope: that growing numbers of Democratic-voting Latinos in Texas will one day turn the state blue. Republican success at winning Hispanics would crush that dream.

--Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

 

Republicans: Judicial Activists in Immigration Reform Clothes

So the Party of No has suddenly become the party of simpering “Judicial Activists”. Those paragons of the rule of law – represented by their Sharia-like interpretation of the Constitution – Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-Nelly Bottom) and Jon Kyle (R-Independent  Duchy  of Arizona), are yapping about repealing the 14th Amendment (the one giving citizenship to babies born in this country).

There’s no legitimate argument that numerous administrations and Congresses from both parties haven’t ignored immigration reform. Performance on the issue has been on par with the handling of Katrina and is well past due. But rewriting the Constitution to do something you’re too weak-willed to do honestly is a tad disingenuous. You can’t just constantly carp about a strict interpretation of the Constitution 250-years removed from its writing and then just argue to rewrite it if something is giving you political heartburn.

Many people don’t think women are capable of anything, including voting. Why not just repeal the Franchise? Heck, “We’re at war dammit! Let’s repeal the First Amendment because the teabagger’s public statements are offensive.” And that whole habeas corpus thing is a real patriotism buzz kill. Let’s get rid of that too. This is not a case of racism, it’s a case of “Stupidism”.

It’s time for the immigratirati to take a dip in the Rio Grande and start dealing with the problem rationally instead of like Lou Dobbs on a Red Bull bender. It’s this type of squeaky wheelism that built the Fence to Nowhere – America’s very own Maginot Line. This thinking led to an Arizona law that essentially requires police to do what they were already able to do voluntarily and does nothing to solve the problem.

The people of this country want solutions to problems, not a bunch of bickering over who is an opportunistic crapweasel looking for votes or who is a racist. There are a number of actions that could be taken with simple discussions by honest negotiators. Others would take a little negotiation. And, there are still others that will only be done by inflicting pain. But have no question. We do have a place to start.

So Gov. Tea Brewer get on with something useful. Jon and Lindsey, stop trying to throw the (immigrant) baby out with the bathwater. And Messiah, get off your duff, corral those cats that pass for a political party, and fix the problem.

We the people thank you.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

 

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