Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

  1. #1
    Senior Member Brian503a's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    California or ground zero of the invasion

    Hispanic voters gaining political clout

    Posted on Mon, Oct. 03, 2005

    Hispanic voters gaining political clout

    By John Kirsch
    Star-Telegram Staff Writer

    Hispanics' status as Tarrant County's fastest-growing ethnic group has made them a voting bloc that local Republicans are eager to court and Democrats are determined to keep.

    Hispanics have voted overwhelmingly for Democrats in the past three presidential elections, but an increasing percentage of voters has been switching to the Republican Party.

    The trick may be finding that hot-button issue that will get them to the polls.

    In the 2004 presidential election, 61 percent of all registered voters in Tarrant County cast ballots, according to a Star-Telegram analysis for Hispanic Heritage Month. Just over 43 percent of voters in predominantly Hispanic precincts went to the polls -- a source of frustration for Hispanic leaders.

    But that is likely to change as Hispanics gain education and income, experts say. Who will benefit most during future elections, including the 2006 local, state and congressional elections, may depend on organization and outreach efforts.

    The prize could be significant. Hispanics accounted for 19.7 percent of the county's 1.4 million residents in 2000, up from 12 percent in 1990, according to the U.S. census.

    "Demography is destiny. In the next generation, or probably sooner, this will be the population that will drive elections in Texas," said Jerry Polinard, a political science professor at the University of Texas-Pan American.

    Low turnout

    Hispanics accounted for half the population growth in the United States between 2000 and 2004, but only one-tenth of the increase in total votes cast, according to a June 2005 study by the Pew Hispanic Center.

    Nationwide, 58 percent of eligible Hispanics register to vote, compared with 75 percent of Anglos and 69 percent of blacks, according to U.S. census data.

    The reasons for the low turnout among Hispanics are complex.

    The Hispanic population nationwide and in Texas is growing so rapidly that activists have difficulty registering new voters, said Victor Landa, regional director of the William C. Velasquez Institute in San Antonio. The group studies Hispanic voting patterns.

    And there are cultural reasons. Mexican immigrants, for example, come from a nation that was dominated by the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, until Vicente Fox of the National Action Party, or PAN, was elected president in 2000, ending 71 years of single-party rule.

    Living in a single-party state can promote a sense that voting does not matter because the election's outcome is a foregone conclusion, said Fort Worth City Councilman Sal Espino. Espino was elected to represent Council District 2 in May, becoming the first Hispanic to serve on the council since Carlos Puente left in 1993.

    Then there are language barriers. Hispanics sometimes do not speak English well enough to understand issues or candidates.

    Texas has also lacked hot-button issues that could unite the Hispanic population. In Tarrant County, most Hispanic immigrants come from Mexico, but the region also has thousands from Colombia, El Salvador, Puerto Rico and Cuba.

    In California, anti-immigrant measures such as Proposition 187 galvanized Hispanic voters. The proposition, endorsed by then-Gov. Pete Wilson and approved by California voters in 1994, would have barred illegal immigrants from attending public schools and receiving social services from the state. Court challenges have prevented the proposition's implementation.

    The voting trend is likely to change, Polinard said. The Hispanic population is young and still struggling with income and education issues, he said. But as Hispanics enter the American mainstream in greater numbers, they will exert greater political influence, he said.

    A strong correlation exists between political participation and age, education and income, he said.

    Democrats are more likely to benefit than Republicans because Hispanics continue to support Democrats by wide margins in Texas, Polinard said.

    The percentage of Tarrant County Hispanics supporting President Bush increased from 2000 to 2004, but Polinard said that may represent the former Texas governor's personal appeal rather than a political shift.

    Values emphasized

    Republicans hope their emphasis on values will resonate with Hispanic voters, said Ruben Jiminez, Tarrant County chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly.

    Many Hispanics have emigrated from countries that are traditionally Roman Catholic -- a church that opposes homosexuality and abortion.

    Republicans are emphasizing conservative messages that appeal to tradition-minded Hispanics, said Jiminez.

    Daniel Arriaga of Fort Worth said he switched from voting Democratic to Republican in 1988 because he liked the Republicans' opposition to abortion.

    Democrats, meanwhile, have stressed issues such as jobs, health care and education. Those topics may appeal to working-class Hispanics trying to make ends meet.

    The median income for Hispanic individuals in Tarrant County last year was $18,825, compared with $34,841 for Anglos, $24,334 for blacks and $23,389 for Asian-Americans, according to federal figures.

    Democrats have also tried to reach Hispanics through outreach groups such as the Tejano Democrats, said Tarrant County Democratic Chairwoman Jillanne Johnson.

    To overcome language problems, both political parties have courted Hispanics through bilingual phone banks and Web sites; ads on Spanish-language TV and radio; and the use of leading Hispanics in promotion efforts.

    Local Hispanic activists have targeted the heavily Hispanic precincts in north Fort Worth. For the 2004 presidential race, they recruited bilingual clerks to work in polling places and mounted registration drives, said Vincent Perez, who has been an election judge for more than 40 years in north Fort Worth.

    And to a point, they've been successful. David Arriaga of Fort Worth said he votes for president but ignores what he calls "little" elections for City Council or mayor.

    "I don't have time. I just don't mess with it," he said.

    Whatever the reasons for low turnout, local activists say the apathy is frustrating.

    "We work so hard, and then they won't turn out," Perez said.

    Espino said he is optimistic about the future for Hispanics in Tarrant County.

    He's already seeing a change, he said. Many young Hispanics are becoming politically active and will have a greater impact on politics, locally and nationally, as they mature, he said.

    "There is a tremendous opportunity for leaders who are Hispanic to be role models," he said.


    Hispanic voting patterns in Tarrant County

    In precincts that were 65% or more Hispanic in 2004

    2004 Turnout Bush Kerry
    All precincts 61.0% 62.4% 37.0%
    Hisp. precincts 43.6% 37.3% 62.2%
    2000 Turnout Bush Gore
    All precincts 55.5% 60.7% 36.8%
    Hisp. precincts 41.1% 32.3% 66.2%
    1996 Turnout Dole Clinton
    All precincts 55.2% 50.9% 41.6%
    Hisp. precincts 43.3% 21.8% 72.1%

    Sources: Star-Telegram analysis, Texas Secretary of State
    Support our FIGHT AGAINST illegal immigration & Amnesty by joining our E-mail Alerts at

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Lonetree, CO
    Blah they have been, move Mexifornia. Arnolda Schwarzeneggerenzuela (I tried ) is getting a crash course in that adverture!
    "I can because I will, I will because I can" ME

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Arnolda Schwarzeneggerenzuela

    Vladimir Zworkin.

  4. #4
    Senior Member CountFloyd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Occupied Territories, Alta Mexico
    Hispanics accounted for half the population growth in the United States between 2000 and 2004, but only one-tenth of the increase in total votes cast, according to a June 2005 study by the Pew Hispanic Center.
    Gosh, could that possibly be because most of them aren't citizens?

    Not that I could find citizenship being a requirement for voting mentioned anywhere in this article.

    I guess it's just another old-fashioned priciple that we're going to have to outgrow in order to transition from being a nation to a loose confederation of tribes.
    It's like hell vomited and the Bush administration appeared.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    3 out of 4 Hispanics are here illegally. But if you can get them drivers licenses they can vote. Get it? It wouldn't surprise me if our President said that a Matricula Consular card would ensure voting priviledges.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts