GOP Should Heed Obama's Warning

The Chicago Young Republicans cordially invite you to our 2012 Deserve Victory Summer Bash at 6pm on August 24th at the LaSalle Power Company, 500 N. LaSalle Drive in Chicago. The event is free so bring a friend or three!

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"You're not considered one of the battleground states although that's going to be changing soon."

That was President Obama's off hand comment during a fundraising speech in San Antonio yesterday.

Of course, no one expects Obama to make a serious run at Texas's 38 electoral votes in this election. However, the scariest part of his comment is that it may not be far from the truth.

Of the 6 of states that have 20+ electoral votes, Texas is the only one that votes reliably Republican for President. Florida is the only other one of the "Big 6" that Republicans have a reasonable chance of winning.

Under the current political climate of the country, the GOP path to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency starts in Texas and builds from there. Without Texas, there is no path to 270 for any Republican presidential candidate.

Texas seems safe enough for now and the last Democrat to win the state was Jimmy Carter in 1976 when he swept the entire south except for Virginia.

The state is home to both Bush presidents, has Rick Perry for a governor and went 56%-44% for John McCain in 2008. It doesn't get much more red for a big state than that.

However, there are warning signs for Republicans that may put Texas in jeopardy in coming years.

The demographic changes taking place within Texas have become common knowledge. Nearly 38% of the population is now Hispanic, 12% African American and 4% Asian. Each of those minority groups is growing, with Hispanic and Asian communities exploding in size. Those are legal U.S. Citizens or permanent residents, thus all able to vote.

The cities and suburbs of the Lone Star State have seen a huge infusion of new residents moving from other parts of the country. In many cases, these are white, middle class or working class residents from northern and northeastern cities who have moved to Texas to seek better paying job opportunities.

While Texas loves the new residents and all they add to the state economy, many of these new comers are old school Democrats. They tend to be conservative on matters of taxes and deficits, but liberal on social issues and the overall role of government. Census data and IRS tax records indicate that many of Texas's new residents are coming from blue states like California, Illinois, New York, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

You can make the case that these new residents are really Republicans who are finally fleeing their minority status in dark blue states to set up a life in GOP friendly Texas. However, Census data seems to suggest that the folks coming into Texas are not suburban soccer moms from the Chicagoland area, but rather younger couples and singles from the heart of major cities on either coast and the upper Midwest, particularly the Great Lakes region. Don't expect the majority of 20-somethings from San Francisco to be GOP voters.

In addition to the growth of Democrat leaning minorities and the migration of Democratic voters to Texas, let's not forget the age old rebellion of native youth.

There is growing evidence that younger Texans, those who are currently unable to vote because they are under the age of 18 are rebelling against their parents politics. It is not uncommon for kids to reject the politics of a previous generation that they consider too old or too stale to be relevant in their own time. Polling data across the nation shows the those under that age of 25 tend to be either liberal on social issues like gay marriage, abortion or illegal immigration or they just ignore the topics altogether.

Finally, there is a group that is often ignored in American politics but is making up a bigger and bigger share of legal immigration to the United States and Texas in particular: Asian Americans.

Of course, Asia is a huge continent with a wide variety of cultures. However, Chinese and Indian immigration have exploded, particularly in Texas. Houston is the epicenter of the Chinese immigration boom. Fort Bend County, just southwest of Houston saw a 150% increase in Asians in the last decade and Montgomery County, just to the north of Houston has a 192% increase. The city itself is in Harris County, where a quarter of a million Asians now live, having increased by nearly 100,000 in just 10 years.

While the Asian immigration growth is largest in the Houston metro, the Dallas/Ft. Worth area is experiencing similar trends. San Antonio and Austin's Asian populations are also experiencing steady increases.

Many of these immigrants are either Chinese or Indian, groups that have not committed to either major party in any huge numbers, though recent polling seems to show a slight tilt toward Democrats. Generally, Republicans polled better among Americans with links to South Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam while struggling to connect in the Japanese and Thai communities.

Chinese and Indian immigrants will be two big prizes in future elections. With such big numbers of Asian immigrants already in Texas and many more to come, that state will see the impact first if either party grabs their imagination in large numbers.

While demographics have changed over the last 30 years in Texas, Mitt Romney should have no problem capturing the 38 electoral votes come November.

However, with the major influx of immigrant groups, migration from more liberal regions, the rebellious youth vote and the growing role of Asian voters in elections, the Republican dominance is not guarantee for 2016 and beyond.

If we lose Texas, we can't win the Presidency. Now is the time to deeply engage all the groups mentioned above across the country. If Democrats lock in majorities within these groups, the President's quip in San Antonio may become a frightening reality for the next generation of Republican presidential candidates.

 

Filed under: National Goverment

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