Who lost south of Uvalde County?


Insulting comments appear:  A few weeks ago, we offered an award-winning report which carried this tough-talking headline:

Who lost Uvalde County?

We noted the fact that Uvalde County, Texas is very heavily Hispanic—but the county voted for Donald J. Trump in the last two White House elections.

At issue was an important demographic fact. Hispanic voters in South Texas may be trending in a conservative direction. 

This flies in the face of conventional BlueTribeThink, according to which Hispanic voters were supposed to belong to us. This morning, a news report in the New York Times gives readers another chance to ponder this possible trend.

In her report, Jennifer Medina focuses on three Hispanic women who are running for Congress, as Republicans, in three South Texas districts. One of the three, Rep. Mayra Flores, has already won a special election and is currently serving in Congress. In this passage, Medina completes the roster, profiling the other two:

MEDINA (7/7/22): Two other Latina Republicans, Monica De La Cruz in McAllen and Cassy Garcia in Laredo, are also on the ballot in congressional races along the Mexican border. All three—G.O.P. officials have taken to calling them a “triple threat”—share right-wing views on immigration, the 2020 election and abortion, among other issues.

They share the same advisers, have held campaign rallies and fund-raisers together and have knocked on doors side by side. They accuse the Democratic Party of taking Hispanic voters for granted and view themselves, as do their supporters, as the embodiment of the American dream: Ms. Flores often speaks of working alongside her parents as a teenager in the cotton fields of the Texas Panhandle.

Ms. Flores, Ms. De La Cruz and Ms. Garcia grew up in the Rio Grande Valley, a working-class four-county region at the southernmost tip of Texas where Hispanics make up 93 percent of the population. All three are bilingual; Ms. Flores was born in Tamaulipas, Mexico, and the other two in South Texas. Only Ms. De La Cruz has been endorsed by Mr. Trump, yet they all remain outspoken advocates for him, his movement and his tough talk on restricting immigration and building the border wall.

Rep. Flores "worked alongside her parents in the cotton fields." We think of Woody Guthrie's lyrics:

I've mined in your mines, I've gathered in your corn.
I've been working, Mister, since the day I was born...

That said, do the three nominees actually share "right-wing views"—about abortion and immigration, to cite two of Medina's examples?

We don't know how to answer that question, in part because Medina never specifies their views. For our money, we'd be just as happy if Times reporters stayed away from such tangy language. We feel the same way about the language found in the report's dual headline:

The Rise of the Far-Right Latina
Representative Mayra Flores is one of three Republican Latinas vying to transform South Texas politics by shunning moderates and often embracing the extreme.

Based on Medina's report, Rep. Flores has embraced a lot of unfounded Trumpist views concerning stolen elections. But have she and the other nominees embraced "extreme" (or "far-right") views—about abortion and immigration, to again cite those two examples?

We have no idea. We think the Times should perhaps be a bit more careful about the language it uses in its news reports. Then again, we note the insulting remarks about these women found in comments to this news report—comments from members of our own largely infallible tribe.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but our tribe is nowhere near as moral and good as we relentlessly claim we are. When push comes to shove, we may tend to lose our sense of respect for people with backgrounds like these:

MEDINA: Ms. Flores, Ms. De La Cruz and Ms. Garcia grew up in the Rio Grande Valley, a working-class four-county region at the southernmost tip of Texas where Hispanics make up 93 percent of the population. All three are bilingual; Ms. Flores was born in Tamaulipas, Mexico, and the other two in South Texas. Only Ms. De La Cruz has been endorsed by Mr. Trump, yet they all remain outspoken advocates for him, his movement and his tough talk on restricting immigration and building the border wall.

The Rio Grande Valley has long been a politically liberal yet culturally conservative place. Church pews are packed on Sundays, American flags wave from their poles on front lawns and law enforcement is revered. Ms. Flores’s husband is a Border Patrol agent, a note she often emphasized on the campaign trail.

In 2020, the Valley’s conservative culture started to exert a greater influence on its politics. Mr. Trump flipped rural Zapata County and narrowed the Democratic margin of victory in the four Valley counties and in other border towns.

“Growing up down there, you always have closeted Republicans,” said Ms. Garcia, a former aide to Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. “Now, the desire to embrace Republicans is really spreading. They feel a genuine sense of belonging.”

Are denizens of the Rio Grande Valley starting to feel a sense of belonging to the GOP? We don't know, but our tribe's frequent condescension toward South Texans and their cultural history could hurry that process along.

We tend to be especially shocked when such people support harder lines on immigration. In comments, we rarely wonder why they might hold such views. We just let the insults start.

Our tribe's condescension towards Others can sometimes tend to be strong. The Others can sometimes discern this. 

South Texas Hispanics are real people too. They're entitled to disagree with our own tribe's always infallible views. 

We wouldn't vote for Rep. Flores. We would be willing to show some respect for her region's cultural traditions. If we want Others to vote our way, we know that we have to persuade them.


  1. They "share right-wing views on immigration". Right-wing views on immigration are that the government should do what it can to enforce the law. Left wing views are that the government should help people evade the law. No wonder many consider the left to be extreme.

    1. Remind us who voted to let Trump get away with treason, again.
      David thinks he can be as lazy as a Clarence Thomas, and we'll let him get away with it.

    2. No David. Right wing views on immigration are to assume that anyone with an accent or who speaks Spanish needs to be sent to Mexico, no matter where their family originated or how many generations they have lived in the US. It is also that immigrants have no rights and that asylum seekers should be treated as cruelly as possible to discourage them from coming here. And anyone with brown skin should be assumed to be undocumented until proven otherwise. And Republicans don't seem to understand that most immigrants who are here without permission came on an airplane and have overstayed their visas, not by crossing a river or being smuggled in a truck. And only half are from Latin America -- the rest are from places like Canada and Europe, or were working on a tourist visa like Melania.

      No one who is a Democratic candidate or elected official has "helped" immigrants evade the law, or advocated doing that. Democrats want humane treatment for immigrants while enforcing the law.

    3. Here is info from Daily Kos about Abbott's Operation Lone Star, which is being investigated by the DOJ:

      "Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesperson Amanda Hernandez did claim in the report that the the agency “has and continues to follow all state and federal laws as the state of Texas responds to the ongoing crises at the border.” Well, that’s just a flat-out lie. Reporting since last year has revealed that Texas has illegally detained migrants without any charges at all, in violation of state law. This has not been a mistake, with these illegal detentions continuing into this year.

      It’s also encouraging to see that the Justice Department is reportedly reviewing whether Abbott’s scheme has violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a claim made in a complaint by a coalition of civil rights organizations late last year.

      “Arrest records show profiling based on race and national origin, including with numerous descriptions of observing or receiving reports of ‘undocumented migrants,’” the organizations said in the complaint. “Virtually all if not all of those arrested to date are Latinx and Black men and are migrants.” Mirroring concerns from human rights advocates, the groups pointed to “evidence of racial profiling and biased policing” and racist rhetoric from right-wing elected officials that further endangers a state that’s already been a target for deadly white supremacist violence.

      Kinney County, which has gone all-in with Abbott, has “repeatedly” sought to “partner with vigilante actors,” groups said. Kinney County also recently boasted of “sending undocumented individuals back to Mexico,” which is most certainly not at all the job of a sheriff. Following blowback from policy experts who said that “deputies could be subject to enormous legal liability for doing that,” the sheriff claimed that deputies had merely “transported four back to the port of entry in Mexico so they could return home. There was no formal deportation,” KSAT reported."

      This is ultimately why Democrats do not need to worry about losing the Hispanic vote to the Republicans.

    4. David,
      Which Republican wants to shutdown Tyson Foods?

  2. You don't have to dig up these three women to find conservative Latinos. Rafael (Ted) Cruz is far-right Hispanic. So is Devin Nunes.

    Somerby says: "At issue was an important demographic fact. Hispanic voters in South Texas may be trending in a conservative direction."

    As we went to some trouble to show, the issue is that Hispanic people in Uvalde County do not vote in as high a percentage as Anglos. Further, the dynamic may be different now, after the shooting and given the Texas Republican position on guns. The polling is certainly suggesting that is true for Texas.

    Maya Flores ran in a district that is changing due to redistricting, after the incumbent retired (decided not to run again). The Democrats did not bother opposing her for this last election. That makes her election non-representative and certainly not indicative of any trend. She is an extreme candidate but she won't be around for long. No one with any sense considers her indicative of anything, but the Republicans have been promoting the meme about Hispanics switching parties (presumably to encourage them to do so) and Somerby either doesn't understand what is going on or is pushing that conservative meme himself. Either way, reflects poorly on Somerby.

    Hispanics voted for Biden in 2020 with the same percentages as for Al Gore in 2000. There is no evidence they are leaving the Democrats. There is also a backlash against Republicans happening and it is unclear how that will affect the midterms. Polls are showing a much more even race than expected, and the idea of a Republican wave is now gone.

    Somerby has some health issues and has been busy lately, so maybe he isn't aware of the most current info. I would take what he is saying with a huge grain of salt.

  3. Hispanics may feel like they're being taken for granted by Democratic Party.

    1. Yes, that is what the right wing has been suggesting. Meanwhile, Republicans have been doing nothing for Hispanics, other than stigmatizing them, treating them like a bogeyman used to scare its base, and telling the nation that anyone who comes from Mexico is a rapist or other trash. Why would anyone Hispanic respond to that message, which came straight from Trump and Melania, who visited kids in cages wearing a jacket that said "I don't really care, do you?"

    2. If what you say is true and you support the Democratic party, then you have nothing to worry about.

    3. And I am myself Hispanic. I think I know more about this topic than Somerby does.

    4. It sounds like you don't have anything to worry about then.

    5. Hispanics may feel like red vines are better than junior mints at the movies...so what?

    6. So what if Hispanics feel like they're taken for granted by the Democratic party?

    7. They are hated by Republicans.

    8. We need Bob to keep pounding the drum that Republicans are great for Hispanics. That way, for every new Hispanic voter the GOP gains, they'll lose at least 3 white voters who are pissed that the GOP is great for Hispanics.

  4. "Ms. Flores, Ms. De La Cruz and Ms. Garcia grew up in the Rio Grande Valley, a working-class four-county region at the southernmost tip of Texas where Hispanics make up 93 percent of the population. "

    Those who have lived in the US for several generations are eager to differentiate themselves from newcomers. They want to be recognized as "good" Hispanics, as opposed to the "bad" Hispanics who are causing trouble at the border. Being welcomed by Republicans may signal that they are part of the establishment, but it will not result in progress in addressing their issues. Further, this dynamic is less pronounced as you look at Hispanic voters who live further from the border.

    Somerby presents this as a new phenomenon, but it has been a concenn for decades, as long as there has been a so-called immigration problem. When Reagan encouraged Mexican workers to cross the border as braceros, there was a class issue between Hispanic citizens and the migrant workers, but Hispanics didn't feel as much of a need to separate themselves from the desperate border crossers as they do now.

  5. That makes Republicans abnormal then.

  6. "Who lost Uvalde County?"

    Obama did, twice! So did Bill Clinton, twice! So did JFK, even with Texan LBJ on the ticket! So there must be other factors than what Somerby suggests. This is a traditional Republican voting county that is small, rural and largely Hispanic.

    1. Except, as noted, only half of the Hispanic residents vote.

  7. Dechristianization attempts always fail.
    Open borders is backfiring magnificently on Democrats.
    Millions of new pro-life, pro-family Christians finding their political homes in the GOP.

    1. "Christians finding their political homes in the GOP."

      Did you come here in a time machine? That happened within the first hour of the Brown vs. Board of Education decision.

  8. This idea about Hispanics switching parties is just another big Republican lie.

  9. Rep Flores will lose her seat in a few months because she represents a district that Republicans gerrymanderied out of existence.