In the leadup to the Democratic National Convention, there was a lot of consternation regarding the role (or lack thereof) for Texans. However, after the first two nights, many Texans have made an appearance, and for the Latinas in the state who have received the spotlight, that could be pivotal in November.
Focusing on Latinas from Texas is a smart move for the Convention. If Texas Latinas do turn out heavily in November, and they are trending more Democratic than Latinos, it’s possible for the state to be in play for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
The Convention officially kicked off with a segment called “We the People,” that showed different community leaders around the country reading the preamble of the U.S. Constitution. Judge Lina Hidalgo appeared in the segment with women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe, Dolores Huerta, and even Joe Biden himself.
Monday evening’s “emcee” was Eva Longoria Bastón. The Corpus Christi native is the co-founder of Latino Victory, an organization active in promoting and fundraising for many Texas candidates. Latino Victory took a prominent role for Candace Valenzuela in her run-off election. It also endorsed candidates in several state house districts, including Joanna Cattanach and Natali Hurtado, that could potentially flip from red to blue.
El Paso played a prominent role in the DNC Roll Call. Speaking alongside victims of the Walmart shooting, Rep. Veronica Escobar announced the delegate count for Biden and Bernie Sanders.
On Tuesday, another Texas Latina was spotlighted in a key moment. Nearly a week ago it was announced that State Rep. Victoria Neave would have a role in the convention. That materialized as part of a re-imagined Keynote Address, where Neave appeared with fifteen other “rising stars,” as well as former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. Neave was an early supporter of Joe Biden and was Dr. Jill Biden’s guest for the Democratic primary debate in Houston last year.
In a statement to The Texas Signal, Neave stressed that her story was emblematic of many young Latinos in Texas. “Americans and the world watched history being made at last night’s Convention Keynote. As the daughter of an immigrant and a tough Texas woman from whom I’ve learned much, I’m proud to play a part in it.”
If Texas is going to flip and support Biden, Latinas in the state will be a major factor. According to a new poll from Latino Decisions, nationwide Biden and Harris are attracting 65 percent of Hispanic voters compared to 24 percent who support Trump. That’s a six-point increase since Harris joined the ticket. However, that poll has a major red flag: 64 percent of Latinos hadn’t been contacted by either campaign or any other political group.
In Texas, a recent poll from the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation noted that Latinas in the state were more supportive of Joe Biden than their male counterparts. According to the poll, which was also organized through the Baker Institute for Public Policy of Rice University, “male Hispanics narrowly [prefer] Biden (48.5 percent) over Trump (45 percent) with only 4.1 percent undecided.” However, female Hispanics in Texas break for Biden, with 46 percent of women supporting the former Vice President over Trump (32 percent). Still, though, over a fifth of Latinas in Texas (20.4 percent) are “unsure about who they are going to vote for in November.”
Latinas in Texas will play a huge role in determining whether or not Biden topples Trump, and if the state house flips to Democratic control. Many still bristle at the snubs from the DNC Convention, most prominently of former presidential candidate Julián Castro. However, by featuring so many Texas Latinas, the national party could be promoting the difference maker in November.
Photo: Handout/DNCC via Getty Images