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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Remembering the Alamo: Demographic Change and Texas Politics


In today's American politics, there may be no place perceived as more "red"(Republican-voting) than the Lone Star State. Texas, the home of the Alamo, the gun rack,and the 72-ounce steak, hasn't voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since beforeRonald Reagan; George W. Bush won the state by over 20 percentage points, twice (ANES,2015). But demographic forces are changing the face of Texas, and it may not be long beforeits voting hue changes as well. Migration of African-Americans and Hispanics in search ofwork, and differential birth rates in those populations, have made Texas a majority-minoritystate, and state population growth is expected to come almost entirely from minoritypopulations. From 2010-2014, Hispanic population rose by 9.4%, African-American by 8.9%,and White non-Hispanic by just 2.6% (U.S. Census, 2015). Despite voter ID laws aimed atdisenfranchising minority voters, the trend lines are clear; it is only a matter of time beforeTexas becomes more likely to vote for a Democrat than a Republican for president. Onemitigating factor is that Hispanics typically have low voting rates, but in other border stateslike Arizona and New Mexico, anti-immigrant rhetoric has helped encourage turnout amongHispanic voters, which could accelerate the transition. The Republicans would bewell-advised to remember the Alamo, where poor treatment caused an immigrant populationto join the revolution against the ruling party.

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