Texas: One Hispanic to convert them all. George P. Bush hit the campaign trail hard vying for Texas Hispanic support that won him the seat as Texas Land Commissioner on March 4, 2014. This has Latino political circles within Texas stirring. Some say just because he’s a Bush and Texas’ only Hispanic GOP Candidate doesn’t automatically give him a head start with Hispanic voters. Bush and the GOP have their eyes set on the next few generations of Texas voters, and they have a plan.
Recruit now Smile Later
Never before has the GOP been so committed to recruiting Hispanic voters. Latinos are currently 40 percent of the makeup in Texas and census experts predict they will be the majority by 2030. 37-year-old Bush is a lawyer from Dallas, speaks fluent Spanish and his mother is from Mexico. He is looked at by many in the GOP as the future for their party, in a state with a booming Latino population.
Bush is going to convert Texas’ Democratic Hispanics the old fashioned way. Through door-to-door campaigning in the state’s predominately poor and Hispanic barrios (neighborhoods). “We gotta tactically show up in the neighborhoods, in the barrios” He remarks during an interview with The Associated Press, “We haven’t done that as much as we should”.
What’s in it for Hispanics?
Texas lays crucially along the 1,300 mile border with Mexico and its state’s Hispanic identity holds historic trade and immigration ties between the two. Upon taking office, Bush promised to work on trade relations with Mexico. This gives left leaning Texas Hispanics that voted for Bush and the GOP hope for improved Mexican/Texan commerce.
Bush beware. Converting large numbers of Hispanics over to the GOP won’t claim sustained future party loyalty for either the asses or the elephants. Gilberto Hinojosa- Texas Democratic Party Chair stated that simply recruiting more Hispanics isn’t enough to garner Hispanic support for either political party. If a politician wants to ensure long time trust among Latinos, she must cater to the issues they hold dear. Issues along the lines of access to free education, health care and civilized immigration reform. “On those issues the Republicans are way . . . on the other side” says Hinojosa.
At the Forefront of Progress
While Republican candidates running for Texas governor are spewing out racially charged rhetoric, Bush remains at the forefront of progress. Hinojosa stated that Texas attorney General Greg Abbott a Republican nominee for Governor called the Rio Grande Valley border area a “Third-world country” in describing scandals related to corruptions cases.
Senator Dan Patrick from Houston, backed by the tea-party is favored to win the Republican primary against Lt. Governor David Dewhurst. In a TV campaign ad Patrick states that Texas is suffering an “invasion” of immigration from the other side of the Texas border.
Progress From Within
Texas isn’t the only player who is on the ball when it comes to appointing Hispanics to high-level party positions. The Republican National Committee implemented this approach last October by directing seven state parties that included Texas to hire Hispanics as state and field directors. Texas’ first Hispanic engagement director David Zapata, said he already hired seven field directors to advance the initiative since last summer.
Progress comes from within says Zapata, “Just because the Hispanic Population is growing doesn’t mean either party’s going to benefit [in the long run]” They are both going to have to work diligently towards it. Luckily, Bush and the GOP have their eyes set on the next few generations of Texas voters who will as the number have it, be Hispanic.
By Sergio Romero