Texas has a history of low voter turnout. A nationwide study released earlier this year found the state had come in dead last in turnout, with only one in three eligible voters participating in the previous 2014 midterm election. A candidate gunning for office in the Lone Star State, especially hoping to upend the Republican monopoly on statewide office, must awaken the biggest sleeping giant of them all, the nonvoter.
In this week’s episode of Underdog: Beto vs. Cruz, we travel down to the Rio Grande Valley, where host Eric Benson talks to two groups focused on mobilizing nonvoters. First, he follows Danny Diaz and Rico Garcia, cofounders of Cambio Texas (an organization that aims to change the political culture in the area by expanding the non-voting electorate), around McAllen.
Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, executive director of Jolt—a group working to build political power in the Latino community—gives our host some thoughtful analysis of the findings of “We Are Texas,” an extensive study released this month surveying young Latino voters.
Benson also spends time in a freshman-year class led by Professor Richard Coronado of South Texas College, hearing the students’ thoughts on the Senate candidates, on the divisive issues of the day—and, of course, on voting itself. Would they show up to vote this year?
The election’s right around the corner, and next week will be our last episode before the big day. In it, we’ll take a hard look at the numbers and talk with polling experts who will tell us what to look for on November 6.
Listen to Texas Monthly and Pineapple Street Media’s Underdog: Beto vs. Cruz via Apple Podcasts and anywhere else you listen to podcasts.