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Texas Democrats will tell you that they lose elections not because Texas is a red state but because it’s a “non-voting” state. It’s an effective coping mechanism for a party that hasn’t won a statewide election in almost 30 years.
The data show it may or may not be true depending on how you look at it. Two-thirds of registered voters showed up in 2020, which isn’t great, but not the worst. However, just 52% of the voting age population participated in that election, suggesting there could be an opportunity for Democrats if they made a real investment to register new voters and motivate them to vote.
It appears they are finally putting their money where their mouth is – or at least George Soros’ money. The billionaire is doling out millions this election cycle to various left-wing groups and county parties to sign up new voters and get them to the polls. Typically, this is when conservatives would mock the strategy and post memes of lighting money on fire. But it might be smart for a couple reasons.
One, they’re probably targeting the right places. Hidalgo County and Cameron County are among the counties with the lowest voter participation rates in the state. Senator Ted Cruz beat Beto O’Rourke in 2018 by just a couple hundred thousand votes. There are easily enough non-voters among Democrat pockets in Texas to make up that deficit.
Two, it’s easier (read: cheaper) to get a non-voter to show up than it is to change the mind of a regular voter. Persuasion is pricey. A dollar is much better spent finding a non-voter who already agrees with you and bombarding them with urgent appeals to get off the couch than trying to convince someone who’s already voted for Trump twice to flip this time.
But here’s where the strategy might run off the rails. The Democrats have a growing problem with Hispanics this election cycle, and many of the Democrat strongholds with significant non-voting populations are places with a very high population of Hispanic Texans. Cameron County and Hidalgo County are 89% and 92% Hispanic, respectively.
According to the latest University of Houston Hobby poll, Trump is already winning Hispanics 47% to 41% over Biden. And it’s not just the head-to-head. Among Democrat primary voters, Hispanics have the least amount of enthusiasm for reelecting Biden, with just 55% saying they support Biden and 45% saying they want to nominate someone else. By contrast, 78% of whites and 79% of blacks support Biden as the nominee.
That means not only are Democrats losing straight up among Hispanics, but their own voters will also be among the hardest to turnout. In that light, it could be that the Soros strategy of dumping millions into largely Hispanic Democrat strongholds is not offense at all, but instead defense.