Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Another report on the South Texas vote in 2020

Some interesting stuff in here.

Cambio Texas, a progressive organization whose mission is to increase voter turnout and elect leaders that reflect the community, has released a post-election report that relies on extensive interviews with elected officials, campaign workers, consultants, and most importantly, voters in the Rio Grande Valley.

In an interview with Texas Signal, the Executive Director of Cambio Texas, Abel Prado, walked us through some of the big takeaways from their post-election report. One of his first points from the report was that many of the voters who came out in the Rio Grande Valley were specifically Donald Trump voters, and not necessarily Republican voters.

Many of Trump’s traits, including his brashness, a self-styled Hollywood pedigree, his experience as a businessman, and his billionaire status, resonated with many voters in the Rio Grande Valley. “The increase in Republican vote share were Donald Trump votes, not conservative votes, and there’s a difference,” said Prado. With the caveat that Trump is a unique figure, there are still plenty of lessons the Democratic party should take from 2020.

The first is that Republicans up and down the ballot were highly effective in using local vendors. “Every single Republican candidate that was on the ballot purchased locally,” said Prado. Many Democratic campaigns abide by a well-intentioned edict to use union printers. The closest union printer to the Rio Grande Valley is in San Antonio.

Local printers worked with many Republican campaigns, including Monica de la Cruz, who came within three points of defeating incumbent Rep. Gonzalez. The report from Cambio Texas highlights the goodwill that the Republican Party of Hidalgo County fostered with several local vendors, which had no Democratic counterpart.

Prado even recounted a story from an interview with a vendor in the Rio Grande Valley, a proud Democrat and a Biden voter, who nevertheless reveled in the “Trump trains” that county Republican parties put on during the weekends. The liberal vendor was able to set up shop next to the vocal Trump supporters and sold merchandise like Trump flags..

The report also pinpoints where “investment in the Valley” went awry. According to Prado, that “investment” included parachuting national campaign operatives into the Rio Grande Valley, where they had no attachment to the local community. When there was high spending in the Rio Grande Valley, it often went towards outside groups or PACs. For Prado, that investment “depriv[ed] a lot of local vendors to earn a slice of that through their services and local input.”

Though many post-election autopsies around Texas have focused on the lack of in-person campaigning from Democratic candidates due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cambio Texas conducted a survey of Trump voters to distill where they received the bulk of their messaging. A majority of those Trump voters were actually reached by television and radio. Less than 14 percent of the Trump voters received a home visit from a canvasser from the campaign.

The report also notes that Republicans in the Rio Grande Valley invested heavily in texting. About 38 percent of Trump voters surveyed received a text message from the Trump campaign or an organization supporting the Trump campaign.

The whole report is here and it’s not very long, so give it a read. The bit about “investment” and purchasing locally resonated with me, and I hope will spark some discussion within the party. It’s not a consideration I had seen before, but it makes a lot of sense. The main takeaway for me is that there are a lot of dimensions to this issue, and anyone who says they have the one sure trick to solve the problem is almost certainly overstating things.

The Trb also had a long piece on the same question, spurred in part by the Filemon Vela retirement, and its broader and contains a lot of quotes from various political types, but didn’t make me feel like I learned anything. Still a good perspective, and a clear indicator that the 2022 and likely 2024 campaigns in South Texas and the Valley will be very different from the ones we have been used to seeing, so go read it as well.

At this point we’ve seen numerous analyses of the 2020 election, from the TDP to David Beard to Evan Scrimshaw (more here) and now these two. The big challenge is trying to extrapolate from limited data – in some sense, just from the 2020 election – and in the (so far) absence of the main factor that caused all of the disruption in 2020. Which is all a fancy way of saying what are things going to be like without Donald Trump on the scene, if indeed he remains mostly off camera like he is now? I’ll tell you: Nobody knows, and we’re all guessing. We’ll know a little bit more in a year, and more than that in a year and a half, but until then – and remember, we don’t know what our districts or our candidates will look like next year yet – it’s all up in the air. Look at the data, keep an open mind, and pay attention to what’s happening now.

Related Posts:

9 Comments

  1. Jason Hochman says:

    At the S. Texas border it seems like there is not a good answer. Lyin’ Ted Cruz went down there to see the Biden Cages, but, even a top notch Senator, such as Cruz, was not allowed in by a young women who pushed him back and said “this is not a zoo.”

    Now, Cruz is much like Biden. He has no solutions, just wants to criticize. However, it is important for the US public to see the terrible conditions in the Biden Cages. Just like Biden told us how Trump had cages, and killed all of the Civid victims. Then, Biden got in office, and had no solutions. He was also all criticism, as we now see with the border crisis, and a man of Syrian descent who went on a shooting spree after Biden initiated bombing of Syria. Plus the other mass shootings provoked by Biden, and the Covid deaths under Biden. In just about two months he killed 38% of the number killed by Trump in a full year. In one year, Biden is on track to kill about 750,000 people, with the benefit of the vaccines right before he took office. So, Biden and Cruz are alike, just criticizing, but no solution.

    Biden is also like Gerald Ford. Both struggle with stairs. Both followed the worst, most corrupt president in history. Neither was elected. Everything just goes in a big circle, which is why I don’t vote. The two parties serve up plates of cold tripe every time. Just thinking.

  2. C.L. says:

    Jason, weed must be legal at your house. What else could explain that stream of conscience…

  3. Jen says:

    Hmm… ask Mandrake

  4. Jason Hochman says:

    C.L. , no drug just thinking and creativity. I am planning to write a book, it will be a story of a dystopia where fear is a virtue signal, and courage is bad. Where being an eternal victim is better than self actualization and personal responsibility. Somehow it will relate to the Second Coming…the Satanic Bible advises its followers to do everything in reverse, and invert everything. In the Gospel of John Jesus advises his followers that he will leave soon, and the ruler of the world is coming, and “has no hold on me.” This ruler is the Evil One, who will have hold over the fallen world of humanity. Very interesting that now our society is doing everything the opposite…perhaps it is a sign. I still have a lot of thinking to do. I can’t tell if this book will be fiction or non-fiction.

  5. C.L. says:

    Jason, I’m sure it will be a best seller. Here’s a suggestion for ya – name your main character, the Evil Ruler, Agolf Twitler.

  6. Bill Daniels says:

    Wait. Whut? Cruz has no plan? There’s a very successful plan, actually implemented before, that we can use as a direct guide, that being, merely re-institute the Trump border policy. Finish the wall. Don’t let anyone in, period. Repel ALL invaders. Trebuchet those that get across while the wall is being finished back across.

    Once the teeming masses figured out that paying cartel smugglers their life savings wasn’t a good idea because they didn’t get into the US, what they were paying for, they stopped trying, and fewer people even tried to get in.

    So to recap, the successful plan:

    ~ built wall
    ~didn’t let anyone in without permission
    ~kept disease out of America
    ~kept drugs out of America
    ~kept trafficked sex slave kids and women out of America
    ~kept criminals out of America
    ~no kids in cages
    ~didn’t separate families
    ~hit the cartels in the wallet

    There you go, folks, there’s the solution to the Biden border crisis. Just return to the Trump policies. Of course, now you’re going to need trebuchets set up to toss the hundreds of thousands of illegals Biden has already let in, in the span of a few months back. Maybe the My Pillow guy will be gracious enough to donate some pillows and soft bedding for the LZ’s in MX, so the repatriated illegals have a soft spot to land on?

    But Jason, no one here really WANTS to stop America from being flooded with illegals. No one here really wants to stop our schools, hospitals, jails, ICE facilities, etc., from being overwhelmed. That will lead to massive failure of the institutions themselves, which will help usher in the Marxist utopia of the left. Overwhelming and breaking down the institutions is a feature of this, not a bug. Trump understood this, and he was vilified for trying to stop it.

    Jim Eagle out……..

  7. C.L. says:

    I don’t know how building a wall would prevent six of the eight items that followed…

  8. Manny says:

    Over 400,000 died from just covid not to mention other diseases during Trump’s final year. Trump’s plan failed.

    Don’t have any idea what world Bill lives in, but if he believes all drugs were kept out of American, he does not live in this world.

    Crazy Bill, like his cult god, just makes up stuff, all of what is listed is a lie and he can’t prove any of it.

  9. Manny says:

    C.L. great title, got a chuckle from me.