The GOP's mid- to long-term problem, however, is that there's not enough white people to offset the state's explosive demographics. And the San Antonio Express' Gary Scharrer illustrates just how dramatic those changes are.
In cities large and small, including urban centers like Dallas and Houston, and towns like Amarillo and Beaumont, the percentage of Anglo children is steadily shrinking. The average in most major cities is about 10 percent, and in cities like Brownsville and Laredo it's less than 1 percent.
Non-Hispanic white children are the minority in public schools, with Anglo enrollments in larger districts nearly vanishing and suburban schools following suit.Out of Laredo's 24,788 students, just 81 are Anglo. In Houston, just 8 percent of public schoolchildren are white, and that number is 5 percent in Dallas. In Fort Bend, 40 percent of kids were white in 2000. Today, it's 19 percent. Lubbok went from 42 percent to 28 percent.
The group is on track to count for less than 30 percent of the state's 5 million public school students by 2013.
In the past two years, the number of white students has declined by 88,256, a 5.5 percent decrease, while the number of Hispanic children has increased by 187,181, or 8 percent.
In the entire state, 43.1 percent of public schoolchildren were Anglo in 2000, compared to just 30.5 percent. And if Republicans are hoping that those are undocumented immigrants, turns out that just 5.4 percent of Texans lack the proper paperwork. Yes, that's a serious number—1.2 million—but it won't save them in the long term. As one Texas demographer noted:
"It’s basically over for Anglos.”In that recent PPP poll, Latinos broke toward Obama by a 56-34 margin. Texas Republicans can stave electoral trouble only so long, particularly as they continue to antagonize their state's Latinos by pushing Arizona-style immigration efforts.
But for their part, Democrats will have several challenges—the state's Latinos are below voting age or disproportionately young. And as we all know, ethnic minorities and young voters are two of the least-performing voting demographics. It's a double whammy. And even by 2015, it's expected that 30 percent of Texas Latinos will still be too young to vote.
Furthermore, Texas Democrats have an abysmal record turning out their Latino constituents. In 2008, just 38 percent of Texas Latinos cast a ballot, compared to 57 percent in California. In 2010, less than a quarter of Texas Latinos turned out. But the potential is huge:
"[Sen. John] McCain’s margin of victory over [President Barack] Obama was only something like 950,000.”It's a state that can be competitive, and certainly will be at some point. But how quickly that happens depends, in large part, in how effective Democrats are in registering and activating the state's young Latino electorate.
And Texas has roughly 2.7 million Hispanics who qualify to vote, but haven’t registered, she said.