Republicans are claiming that the common migrant caravan making its way towards the border is a threat to American homeland security. Democrats are using the military enforcement tactics as a method to scare Hispanic voters into casting ballots for their side. All in all, one could argue that once again, the Hispanic population is being drawn into the middle of sickening domestic politics.
It’s nothing new in Texas. Democrats like LBJ and the infamous George Parr in Duval County had used Hispanics for political gamesmanship for years. They routinely bought votes from them, forced them to the polls and even dogging them to the death, manipulated them to vote for the democratic cause.
For years, democrats relied upon being able to manipulate the Hispanic vote in Texas and they made little secret about doing it. But as Texans head to the polls in just a few short days, the stakes have never been higher for both sides.
In a recent special election for state Senate, Republican Pete Flores ousted the democrat challenger for a long held democratic seat. Republicans argue that it was because of all of the positive change that Texans are seeing coming from the GOP camps. Democrats argue that is was political gerrymandering. The fact is, everything is the way that it seems, and nothing is the way that it seems. In the middle is reality.
The likely reason that Hispanics voted in favor of Pete Flores was not largely politics at all. It was Hispanics banding together to send a message to Texas democrats that never again will they be used for political wrangling in Austin.
Hispanics had heard for years that the democrats would represent their best interest in Austin. All the while, former Democrat Senator Carlos Uresti was playing games in a Ponzi scheme. While state democrats rushed to distance themselves from Uresti, Hispanic voters in Texas were busy among themselves trying to figure out how to send the “never again” message to party leaders. It wasn’t long before they figured it out—vote republican.
But where does it go from here? Democrats hope that name recognition will carry them among Hispanics. They placed people with names like Valdez and Beto on the ballot. That was a jab insinuating that Hispanics are not capable of voting on issues, but vote only off of name recognition. Republicans have pulled that card too, trying to prove to the Texas Hispanic population that United States Senate Candidate Beto O’Rourke is really not Hispanic and only using them for votes.
The manipulation of Hispanic voters in Texas goes a very long way back in history and even today, the manipulation from both parties continues.
“Democrats tried the ultra left wing candidate in Wendy Davis and that went over like a smelly fart in church,” says South Texas republican Gary Martin. “But now look, they (the democrats) are working hard as ever to get that Hispanic vote.”
And Martin might very well be right. Democrats are using O’Rourke’s command of the Spanish language and his deeply rooted El Paso culture to attempt to win the base.
Republicans know that if it works, Hispanics could very well steal their beloved power from their evangelical base.
“Hispanics are generally very deeply Catholic and what we are seeing is priests asking deeply philosophical questions from the alter,” says James Gonzales of San Antonio. “They are using the Bible to help educate Hispanics on what the Bible says about abortion while also speaking on what the Bible teaches about immigration and helping the poor.”
Gonzales feels that Catholic clergy are not urging anybody to vote one way or the other, but rather helping educate the Hispanic population in accordance with their values.
“It’s race baiting,” says South Texas democrat Rogelio Mendoza. “Both parties are working to get the Hispanic vote and that’s just putting us in an awkward spot because they know that they need ya to win.”
It’s too early to say who the best historic early vote benefited or exactly how the Hispanics in Texas voted. One thing is certain, the ever present demographic is insisting that never again will they be used for political gamesmanship—and that in itself could be the greatest debate yet on this native soil.