Evan Smith, writing in the Texas Tribune, suggests that it is San Antonio mayor Julian Castro. I can see the logic of his argument — the most prominent Hispanic politician in the state — but that is all there is to it. Castro is not Henry Cisneros. He doesn’t have a magnetic personality. And he doesn’t meet the number one qualification for a Democratic candidate: You have to be able to self-fund. Hence the candidacy of Tony Sanchez in 2002. Hence the candidacy of Bill White in 2010. The Democrats have no fundraising base. Their candidate will get no support from the business community. Any money the Democrats can scrape together is going to have to be spent on rebuilding their strength in the state House of Representatives, which is going to take a big hit. Make that two big hits: the election and redistricting. The reality is that outside of the Rio Grande Valley, Texas is a one-party Republican state. Democrats dream of a surge in the Latino vote that could propel them to victory, but the numbers out of Houston suggest that the opposite is happening: The Latino vote is less of a factor in 2010 than it was in 2008 (based on consultant Marc Campos’ analysis of early voting). Even the Voter I.D. and Arizona immigration-law fights have not caused a spike in Latino voting. Why Latinos do not vote in large numbers is one of the mysteries of politics. Campos blames the Democratic party for taking Latinos for granted and failing to spend money on Spanish-language media. One might ask: What Democratic party? It is on life support.
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Weekly dispatches from the middle of the road of Texas politics.
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