State Rep. Rafael Anchia: Republicans Vulnerable as the Face of Texas Changes

Categories: Politics

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Unfair Park dropped by the Democratic New Leaders Texas PAC meeting at The Kessler last night. The group is billed as a statewide network of Dems "nurturing and promoting the next generation of principled, capable Texas leaders" -- like, for example, the affable and polished state Rep. Rafael Anchia, who was on hand last night, and who many believe has a bright future on the national stage. If he wants it.

We couldn't help but notice that spirits were high.

For the most part, the gathering was youthful, so we forgave them an optimism that bordered on delusion. After all, they belong to a party whose figurehead has approval ratings that resemble the gentle but unmistakable downward slide of a bunny slope. Yeah, yeah, whatever polls are worth at this stage in the election cycle and all that. And, true, the current Republican presidential frontrunners are plagued by acts of sensibility and compassion in their recent pasts. But that ain't the half of it. These kids are Democrats in a state where the two-party system is now a not-so-distant memory.

So when somebody said "Yes, we can" at one point, we thought, "Really? Can you?" Democrats were swept out of the Texas House of Representatives in 2010, and the Republicans, before a slim majority, now outnumbered Democrats two to one.

What the hell? So we asked Anchia about a Democratic ace up the sleeve. And the answer: demographics.

"As the Hispanic community gets older and more politically mature, I think the dynamics will be right for an electoral swing in the state," he told Unfair Park last night. "I think as soon as 2012 or 2014, we'll have a Democratic candidate break statewide."

A new generation with an average age of 26 years old, many the children of foreign-born parents, is "beginning to understand the power of civic engagement in this country," he said.

And that, he noted, isn't good for Republicans, whose anti-immigrant rhetoric and legislation has grown increasingly caustic over the last few years. Of course, that's a blade that cuts both ways. It's tough to tell yet whether Democrats will pay the price for the hundreds of thousands of deportations the Department of Homeland Security has racked up under the Obama administration. Federal-local immigration enforcement partnerships such as Secure Communities and 287(g) have met stiff local opposition. Promised as a way to snag dangerous undocumented immigrants, both programs have been chastised for picking up too many immigrants guilty of only minor infractions.

"The president has most recently taken great pains to review deportees in the queue to make sure people being deported are criminals and not just grandmas getting picked up for no proof of insurance," he said.

The face of the Texas electorate is changing. Fact is, it has already changed, and the Republicans seem to realize that, if belatedly, with the formation of the Hispanic Republicans of Texas, a PAC aimed to make over an exceedingly Caucasian party into a visage a tad more representative of a state where nearly 48 percent of the population under the age of 18 is Hispanic.

Pretty soon, Anchia predicts, the landscape of Texas electoral politics is going to shift. Question is, while Republicans shore up their base with voter and employee ID measures, how will Hispanic Texans coming of age vote?


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13 comments
Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

So why does Mr Anchia support a GOP idea like charter schools in Dallas? Why not first get full funding for DISD, the place where he was once a trustee? Oh, I know, because he needs the support of the upper class Dems and their GOP friends in Kessler Park, Winnetka, etc...

Why is the only thing we hear from Hispanic politicians is the promise of a demographic shift? Why no truth to power on the REAL problems of Hispanic dropout rates, teen pregnancies, drug cartels fro Mexico setting up shop in the HEART of our Hispanic communities? (I have personally already taught at least two children of full-fledged cartel members...Yes, they tell us...)

I don't give a chihuahua's butt if there are more Hispanics ready to vote. As they get older--and they are Americans who can speak English, they will surprise many and NOT vote as a bloc. What they WILL care about is what is being done to curb the violence, unemployment, and other problems endemic in Hispanic areas of Dallas --and Texas. Many of my former students who fit the demographic shift he talks about will not vote for a Medrano, an Alonzo or a Garcia, because they see them as pandering and condescending.

So, let's see what happens....

Jpotrammell
Jpotrammell

First of all many of the 2nd and 3rd generation of hispanics believe that there needs to have immigration enforement. Many have married outside of the hispanic group. Many have graduated high school and gone on to college. When you look at the 3rd generation and older, you do not have the same thought process as you see from the hispanic leadership here. I know many hispanics who have told me they have the same feeling as many whites and blacks do. Many won't say it out loud. A hispanic who is a 3rd generation living in Frisco married to another American is going to think the same way as 1st generation living in off of Harry Hines or Jefferson.

RTGolden
RTGolden

I won't take sides in this argument, for I think anyone who votes for either reps or dems is an absolute moron if they really believe they're voting for change.  It is my sincerest hopes that the youth of this nation realize that Mom and Dad, of any ethnicity, creed, color, or gender have spent futile years voting the two-party system with a result of rapidly diminishing returns.  I'd love to see 4,5, or even 6 national parties on the ballots, I would be satisfied with 3.However, I think you fail to make a critical distinction in your allegations against the Republicans.  You cannot disenfranchise people who do not have a stake in the game.  The voter ID program was intended to identify legal citizens as eligible to vote.  Illegal immigrants, while certainly deserving of being treated with respect and dignity and honor, do not have the right to vote, nor should they.  You want to vote, become a citizen.That being said, there's no way to mandate a voter ID program without imposing some sort of fee (or tax) and that would be unconstitutional and unacceptable.  It's a classic case from both parties, the right intentions coupled with patently wrong execution.  You cannot protect the Constitution by violating one of its bedrock principles.

M Streeter
M Streeter

Can someone bring up the Holy Roman Catholic Church and its stranglehold on Hispanic voters?  You've got the right-wing Bishops bitching about abortion and same-sex marriage so that congregants vote Republican.  Justice issues have no place in today's Catholic Church.  It is an adjunct of Fox News.

J. Erik Jonsson
J. Erik Jonsson

Anchia's a hell of a good politician, and he could well be right.  The one thing I'd be a bit worried about if I were in Texas Democratic leadership is Bexar County, which may be providing the first evidence I've seen of the Sasquatch known as the Hispanic Republican.

Pat Boyack
Pat Boyack

"For the most part, the gathering was youthful, so we forgave them an optimism that bordered on delusion. After all, they belong to a party whose figurehead has approval ratings that resemble the gentle but unmistakable downward slide of a bunny slope. "

One would think that the Observer would hire a political reporter who knows about local politics. But then again I am fairly used to it in the music and restaurant departments. If Mr. Hargrove would take a look at the elections of late he would see a huge Democrat swell in the counties with cities like Dallas. As a matter of fact the last two elections saw a Democrat dominance in these counties. If I was a Republican I would be worried about this and the rise in the Hispanic population. I would also worry if I was a Black politico.

Reality Check
Reality Check

No, they are not buying until they work hard enough and save enough and have the courage to start their own businesses. After they in a position to provide jobs for others they come on board full force.

TimCov
TimCov

I think Anchia is overstating the possibility. Hispanics are not a monolithic voting block. This is even more true when you are talking about children of Hispanic immigrants. Immigration issues are important to them. But, so are other issues that put them in the social conservative camp.I believe that what will happen is that they will bring a little more balance to Texas politics.

Tom_Bl
Tom_Bl

I see why Rep. Steve Wolens picked former DISD board member Rafael Anchia as his replacement.  I always enjoy hearing Anchia's remarks.

GAA
GAA

Meet the Press stated a few months ago that over the next ten years 500,000 Latinos will turn 18 every year for the next decade.

"Every year for the next 20 years, 500,000 Latinos will turn 18 and become eligible to vote."-http://www.blog.rockthevote.co...

Hannah Katz
Hannah Katz

Agreed.  Look at Mexico.  The conservative National Action Party (PAN) has won the last two presidential elections.  Not allowing Democrats (or anyone else) to take them for granted is a good thing for Latinos.  As they mature and pay more taxes, you will find this immigrant group, like those before them, voting more and more Republican.

Mike
Mike

It is not a Democratic swell. It was a Republican abandonment. They left for the suburbs. I expect the Hispanic vote will someday matter, but it is a ways off. Yesterday we saw it when it mattered. It is easy to give a speech, but when drawing the districts, the Hispanic team acknowledged with 74 per cent of the population in a district, they could not win it. It was not going to get better in the next 10 years. It only matters who shows up to vote. Having lots of 18 - 30 year olds that are not citizens or if they are do not register and vote makes their numbers beside the point.

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