Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris speaks during a campaign event this Friday in Fort Worth, Texas.Montinique Monroe / AFP
The Democratic Party has a recurring dream.
Every four years, its leaders trust that this time, their presidential candidate will prevail in Texas.
Something that has not happened since 1976. However, the demographic change that this Republican fiefdom has experienced, added to the satiety of a part of the Latino community with Donald Trump, has Democrats daydreaming.
The illusion has advanced hand in hand with the participation of the electorate.
This Friday, four days before the elections, more people had already voted than all those who participated in the 2016 elections.
Is it a mobilization to maintain the
or to break with decades of republican tradition?
The answer will be known on November 3.
The only clue so far is that more than 1.1 million under-30s, a group that tends to favor the left, have already voted.
Four years ago, the participation of that group was half.
Unlike Trump, Joe Biden doesn't need to take over Texas to get to the White House.
He has not even visited the state during the campaign, in a clear sign that he does not consider it key to his victory.
But a couple of weeks ago that position changed.
The distance between the two candidates has been adjusting in the polls of the southern state to give Trump only 2.3 points of advantage.
Several bookmakers already consider it a disputed territory.
Democratic vice presidential hopeful Kamala Harris included Texas on her journey Thursday, and the campaign has decided to invest in advertising in large cities.
In another attempt, billionaire Michael Bloomberg spent $ 15 million (12.9 million euros) this week on television ads in Texas and Ohio.
Texas today is not the same state that voted for Trump in 2016. Since then, the population has grown by at least two million and an estimated 800,000 Latino youth will be able to vote for the first time.
Millennial Texans, more ethnically diverse and educated than their parents and grandparents, already outnumber older, conservative voters.
Alfredo Duarte, founder of Taxco Produce, a company that distributes Mexican products to more than 1,000 restaurants in four states, highlights a key factor that can end Republican rule in a place with almost 40% Latino population: “Since Trump came to power, the relationship between whites and Hispanics has deteriorated.
This is especially noticeable in rural areas, they see us as a job threat, ”says Duarte.
Residential areas, traditionally conservative, have already demonstrated a turn in their support in the 2018 legislative elections.
That year, Democrat Beto O'Rourke brushed past a Senate seat narrowly held by Republican Ted Cruz.
For the Democrats it was a defeat flavored with victory, and for the Republicans, the opposite.
“Many immigrants are republicans, conservatives, profamily.
The problem has been the rhetoric of this president and the unconditional support of his senators, ”says the Mexican businessman.
Duarte will vote for Republicans again, but not this time.
The welts that Trump leaves on the immigration issue and the lack of aid to the undocumented during the pandemic says that they force him to turn his back on the party.
To this, it could be added that the economy is stopped, with unemployment soaring to 8.3% in September and with coronavirus cases close to one million.
Jim Henson, director of The Texas Politics Project, points out that it is a habit to underestimate the number of Hispanic conservatives in Texas and recalls that Republicans won in the last elections with 40% of the vote of this community.
He is aware of Duarte's position, but clarifies that he does not see it reflected in the polls.
“You don't need many [who think like this], but you do need enough.
With 6% of Republicans acting in this way, it will have an impact, "he predicts.
Henson believes that Texas is only a reflection of what is happening nationally.
Rejection of Trump is mobilizing the Democratic electorate, independents are breaking with Republicans, and not all conservatives support the president.
One of the blind spots for Democrats is taking ethnic minority support as disconnected.
But in addition to how conservative many Latinos can be, the case of Katrina Hopkins also reflects that it is more complex than that.
"Obama never invited me to the White House, Trump did"
The first face you see when you enter the GOP office in Dallas is that of Hopkins, a 47-year-old African American.
All the rest of the volunteers are white with gray hair.
Hopkins voted for Barack Obama in 2012 and in 2016 he stayed home.
Disappointed with the Democrats, this year of confinement she had time to investigate Trump's policies and found that they are much closer to her position.
"The Democrats have become very radical," he explains on the balcony of the Dallas office.
He supports the judicial reform carried out by the US president, shares his “pro-life” position, the discourse on law and order, and believes that he needs four more years to finish what he started.
In a year marked by protests against police abuse of African Americans, Hopkins is aware that there are racist people in the United States, but says he has never been the victim of discrimination.
A couple of weeks ago he traveled to Washington to participate in a demonstration in support of police officers.
When he was there, the White House contacted the organizers of the event and invited them to the grounds of the president's residence.
It was Trump's first event after falling ill with coronavirus.
"Obama never invited me to the White House, Trump did," adds the now Republican volunteer.
The presidency is not the only thing at stake in Texas.
Republican control of the state House of Representatives and several congressional seats is also under threat.
O'Rourke is convinced that the main objective - and the most feasible one - is to wrest the majority in the House from the Republican Party.
Democrats are nine seats away from that goal, after having won 12 extras in the 2018 legislative elections. The Texas Democratic Committee raised $ 4.5 million in September, eight times more than during the same period in the last elections.
As Republican Senator John Cornyn, who is seeking his re-election, said Wednesday that what worries him most is all the last-minute spending the Democrats are doing: The “Silicon Valley billionaires” are fighting to turn Texas into California and New York.
It will be known next week if the Democrats were just fantasizing or this time, yes, the dream is coming true.
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