Will the tide turn on Hispanic votes?

Paul Burka’s blog on the candidacy of state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte suggests a now-or-virtually-never scenario for Texas Democrats.


Van de Putte is running for lieutenant governor. She is a Hispanic woman with a lot of appeal to the base of her party. The question she faces — as do Texas Democrats — is whether she can motivate Texas Hispanics to vote in next year’s race for lieutenant governor and governor.

Van de Putte joins state Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth at the top of the Democratic Party ticket next year. Davis’s chances of becoming the next governor are longer than long, according to Burka and many other analysts. I’m not so sure about that … but that’s just little ol’ me.

Burka is right about Hispanics’ turnout in previous elections. It hasn’t been good. He notes also that Texas Hispanics are descended from folks who came into Texas from Mexico, where the political culture hasn’t been kind to folks who depend on government. Burka writes, “Hispanics emigrated to America from a country whose government seldom did things FOR people, but rather did things TO people. In such circumstances, the degree of trust or belief in government and politicians was, and remains, negligible. All too easily, the culture of Mexican politics was transplanted to the Texas side of the border.”

A very high hurdle sits in front of Van de Putte and Davis as they seek to break the GOP’s hold on statewide offices.

They’ll need to “nationalize” this campaign by linking the Republican nominees for governor and lieutenant governor to the extreme policies of their party’s national brain trust: government shutdown, immigration reform reluctance and, of course, women’s reproductive rights.

If they can connect those dots, there might be a Texas transformation in the making.

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