Politics

Hispanic Republicans See Growth In Party’s Popularity Along Border

Several Texas Hispanic Republican leaders told the Daily Caller they're seeing a conservative surge in the Hispanic community near the border

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As the 2022 midterm elections get closer, both Democrats and Republicans are beginning to shore up their strategies. Democrats in recent years have heavily relied on identity politics, and no doubt will lean into that strategy to keep their majorities in the House and Senate.

But the demographic shifts occurring in some areas could upset that strategy – especially in southern Texas.

Several Hispanic Republican leaders spoke to the Daily Caller News Foundation about what they’re seeing in the Hispanic community: a liberal decline and a conservative surge.

The Texas GOP is hoping to capitalize on that.

They’re seeing a shift among Hispanics, particularly women, in a very interesting place: areas along the U.S.-Mexico border where the population in those counties is heavily Hispanic.

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Women Are Leading The Way

One of the best illustrations of this new crop of Republican leaders is to take a look at who the leaders are in just one Texas county. In Hidalgo County, GOP Chairwoman Adrienne Pena-Garza, along with Hilda Garza-DeShazo, and Mayra Flores are leading the way.

The Daily Caller reports that Pena-Garza grew up in a traditional Hispanic family who voted Democrat, and whose father was actually a Democrat state rep. who switched to the GOP.

As a Democrat he was very popular, as a Republican, Pena-Garza says he was treated with “incivility.” Not too long after, she too became a Republican. Pena-Garza says of the Democrat Party that “Things have shifted dramatically.”

Monica De La Cruz-Hernandez ran against incumbent Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) for Texas’ 15th congressional district in 2020, and was narrowly defeated by just under three points.

In February, she announced that she is running again to “flip” the district red. Her reasons for running reflect how many Hispanics in the area are feeling about the Democrat Party.

She told the Daily Caller,

“The Hispanic culture really aligns with pro-life, pro God, and pro country. Those are the values of the Republican party. Democrats have just simply gone too far to the left and towards socialism.”

After the 2020 election, NBC ran a piece about how Trump’s gains with Hispanics should not be a surprise.

Speaking of south Texas, NBC notes that Trump won “41 percent to 47 percent of Hispanic voters backed Trump in several heavily Latino border counties in the Rio Grande Valley region, a Democratic stronghold.”

Trump’s message could be the key for the Texas GOP going forward:

Beyond the economy, Mexican American voters in the Rio Grande Valley tend to be more conservative on the issues, said Fraga, author of “The Turnout Gap: Race, Ethnicity, and Political Inequality in a Diversifying America.”

“This year, the law-and-order rhetoric used during the campaign really resonated with an already predisposed population to question things like Black Lives Matter” and youth protests, and this was effective for Trump, Fraga said.

Monica De La Cruz-Hernandez’s story dovetails with explanation:

“I grew up as a strong Catholic. This area has got strong Catholic roots today, Christian roots. Being pro-life and pro God was very important to me as an individual. And my family is a family that has served its country. My grandfather served in World War II and in the United States Navy, and my brother served 20 years honorably in the United States Air Force. I saw that the Democrat party was just moving quickly to the left and towards socialism. And those just did not did not align with my values any longer.”

Can Democrats Counter The Surge?

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), who has been outspoken about President Joe Biden visiting the border, also says that the Democrat Party has been taking Hispanics for granted, and that they are not heeding warning signs.

Hidalgo County Republican Chairwoman Adrienne Pena-Garza says that, “I am starting to see this need to connect with the Hispanic community and let them know nationwide that it’s the Republican Party that offers opportunities.”

Democrats might want to pay attention in 2022.

This piece originally appeared in ThePoliticalInsider.com and is used by permission.

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