It’s an awkward truth that Ohio and Florida are the two states that get to decide who becomes president. In the next decade, however, the state of Texas may be joining that list. Texas currently accounts for 38 electoral votes, and is seen by the GOP as an absolutely crucial state to take for any presidential hopeful. In 2012, the second-largest state that voted for Mitt Romney was North Carolina with 15 electoral votes. It’s simple: if the Republican Party loses Texas, they lose the election.
And that’s exactly why Democrats are putting the wheels in motion to turn this former GOP stronghold into a contested state. Their plan does not involve converting strong-willed Texans, but instead by encouraging Texas’s several-million Latinos to get out and vote.
The political construct of Texas has shifted significantly in the past decade due to the influx of Mexican immigrants in the country. Latinos currently make up 38 percent of Texas’ total population. Some tracking data states that Latinos could become the majority group in Texas by as early as 2020.
Latinos vote for Democrats over Republicans by a wide margin. On the eve of the 2012 election, Latino voters polled supported Barack Obama over Mitt Romney by a 70-29 margin.
The goal of Democrats is not to influence Latinos to vote Democrat, but simply to get them to vote at all. Latinos are uniformly underrepresented at the ballot box compared to their white equivalents. In 2012, Latinos only accounted for 26 percent of the Texas vote, well below their 38 percent population.
Democrats are still in the planning stages regarding their move on Texas voters. Rallying the million-plus votes they need to take Texas will not be cheap, and it will not be easy. Texas Governor Rick Perry doesn’t see the Democrat’s plans working. He called their idea a “pipe dream” and said, "The University of Texas will change its colors to maroon and white before Texas goes purple, much less blue."
There’s no doubt that the Democrats have their work cut out for them in tightening, let alone winning a presidential race in Texas. But if they can, such a flip would mean incredible power for a Democratic force that is already trying to increase its lead on floundering Republicans.