I grew up in small-town Southwest Texas listening and learning the political viewpoints of my parents and grandparents (all staunch Democrats). When I was growing up, the area of Texas that I hail from was a hotbed of political activism. La Raza Unida Party was going strong a few miles down the road in Crystal City and people made their voices heard – most of those voices were of Democrat voters.
The times and voting habits have changed considerably. During the last Presidential election, I learned that there wasn’t a Democratic headquarters back home because the community as a whole voted “red.” Living in Austin, a city that is a bright blue bubble in a glaringly red state, I didn’t realize how much voting trends had changed.
I wondered why Texas, a state with a predominantly Latino population, is red. I figured that the best way to find out would be to go directly to the people that are casting their ballots. So, I asked some of my conservative-voting, Latino friends the big question – por que?
The Latino community is, overall, rather conservative. Immigration is a concern for the Latino population but beyond that are the core items that affect their families and lives. The GOP appeals to that sense of faith and family in many Latinos.
“The Republican party seems to place more emphasis on family values, having a strong work ethic and maintaining that,” said Patricia Q., a stay-at-home mom. “They seem to recognize the importance of having God in our daily lives and that means a lot to me. Many people have moved away from that and I really believe that is why there are some of the problems that exist in society. The family unit has fallen apart.”
Richard M., a construction business owner, said that he likes the GOP stance on limiting government involvement and supporting free enterprise. “I started my own business from the ground up, no special government loans or things like that. If I can do it, anyone can do it but you have to work hard to get it. I think that a more conservative government will help me maintain what I have sacrificed so much for.”
Carmen T., an elementary school teacher, echoed the sentiments of many other Latino conservatives, stating that having a government that strives to protect traditional family values and that recognizes the importance of that resonates with her. “My family is the most important thing in the world to me and I am passing that way of thinking on to my two kids. Yeah, I know that there are some people that may find it uppity for a Mexicana to vote Republican, but I vote with the party that creates policies that match up with what I believe in. I’m not just going to vote with liberals because Latinos have been pigeon-holed into that kind of agenda.”
One thing that my friends and I agreed on was the importance of voting no matter what viewpoints you may embrace. The more involved the Latino community is in the election process, the more likely we are to have our needs met by our government.
by Being Latino Contributor, Valeka Cruz