WSJ: Democrats Lost South Texas Latinos Due to Shutdowns, Oil, and Abortion

A supporter of the US president hold signs reading "Latinos for Trump" as they attend a "Keep America Great" rally at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas on October 17, 2019. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

The chairman of the Texas Democratic Party said the red wave that moved through South Texas’s Starr County was due to three issues critical to Latino voters in that area: pandemic shutdowns, oil industry jobs, and abortion.

According to a report at the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Sunday, the idea that Starr County would have 8,224 residents vote for President Donald Trump is mindboggling.

In 2016, Democrat Hillary Clinton held a 60-point margin over Trump in Starr County, but, in 2020, Joe Biden barely slid over the edge to beat Trump by five points, making the county the largest swing to Trump of any in the United States.

The WSJ also observed that, in 2016, Clinton won nearby Zapata County by 33 points, but the president won it by six points this year.

Breitbart News reported Thursday, in fact, that Trump “made significant strides in traditionally Democrat-held counties on or near the Texas border,” and that “Biden lost more counties than almost any Democrat candidate in Texas’s history.”

“There is a systematic bias in the Democrat world that pigeonholes people into voting certain ways,” Dave Carney, chief political consultant for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), told Breitbart News Wednesday. “There is a belief that if more Latinos voted, more Democrats would get elected.”

WSJ reported the results in South Texas are shocking to Democrats since the Latino population in that region has been loyal to the Democrat Party, unlike Republican-leaning Latinos in Florida:

Gilberto Hinojosa, chairman of the Texas Democratic Party and resident of the Rio Grande Valley, said the group was trying to figure out exactly what happened. What seems likely, he said, was that Democrats didn’t counter Republican messaging on three issues important to Latino voters: pandemic shutdowns, oil jobs, and abortion.

Small business owner Elizabeth Lazo told WSJ she and her family all voted for Trump.

“For our community, all the good work is in the oil lines,” Lazo said in Spanish. “There are no factories here. No work. The biggest thing is Walmart.”

Additionally, jobs in law enforcement are among the highest-paying locally, so calls from Black Lives Matter to defund the police fell flat.

Elia Saenz, a campaign worker who drives voters to the polls on behalf of local candidates, also told WSJ that, while she has not paid much attention to national politics, she decided to vote for Trump because her husband explained the president was pro-life, and Biden was not:

During three weeks of early voting in Texas, Mrs. Saenz drove some 350 people to the polls on behalf of school board candidates. While she had them in her car, she also talked about supporting Mr. Trump. Mr. Saenz knows at least two other Trump-supporting local politiqueras as well, he said, both wives of oil workers.

Democrat Party officials in South Texas said the unexpected Latino shift to Trump this year is an eye-opener, and means they have to invest more time and money in the region.


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