A New Race in Texas: Evaluating Potential Democrat Gains and "Swing State" Status
Jarquin, Ana G.
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At the national level, Texas is seen as a Republican powerhouse, a “solid red” state. Few recall that prior to the 1960s the Lone Star state was home to a Democratic majority. However, given changes to the Democrat platform triggered by the introduction of New Deal policies, the majority of Texans began to worry about the implications regulatory policies would have on the state’s booming post-war economy. With their opposition to government subsidized welfare programs and their strong stance against the inclusion of ethnic minorities in political and economic matters, the Republican Party was able to win over the majority of Texans. However, the establishment of the Republican Party as majority party has also happened alongside substantial changes to the ethnic composition of the Texas population. As the Latino community now makes up over a third of the state’s population, the political priorities of voters of this community are likely to influence the electoral outcomes in Texas. Furthermore, though the majority of Texans still identify with the Republican Party, youth voters have shown increasing support for Democrats over the last three presidential elections. For observers living outside of Texas, it may be difficult to think of the state as one with the potential to become a party battleground, where both Republican and Democratic candidates are viable condensers for elected offices. However, significant Democrat gains in the important cities of Houston and Dallas allow this possibility to persist. The following is a thesis evaluating the potential for Democrats to make electoral gains in Texas given that the rise in the Latino population and the strong support they enjoy among Latino and youth voters.