Texas’ Rio Grande Valley promises to be one of the more interesting playing fields as the Democratic race continues. From Sunday’s Dallas Morning News:
Whether Mr. Obama can mitigate the simpatico feelings between Latinos and the Clintons in Texas is a large concern for his time-challenged campaign. The Clintons will rely on surrogates trusted by Hispanic voters – including Henry Cisneros, former housing secretary and San Antonio mayor – and their record on issues of top concern to Hispanics, such as education…Mr. Cisneros pointed out that Mrs. Clinton was first in South Texas registering Latino voters for George McGovern in 1972. … Complicating Mr. Obama’s task is long-standing political competition among black and Hispanic political leaders that may make it tougher for a black candidate to win Hispanic voters.
Illustrating that tension, last week, Jesse Diaz – president of the Dallas-area League of United Latin American Citizens – suggested on a Dallas blog that Latinos will respond to Mr. Obama with the same “distaste” that some black leaders in Dallas have shown toward Hispanics.
Nick Jimenez addressed the Black/Brown tension meme in his Corpus Christi Caller-Times column.
If the election were held today, I believe that Hillary Clinton would win most of the Hispanic vote in Texas…The Clintons have a known history of supporting legislation that nurtures children and children are a touchstone for Hispanic voters. Obama has voted for children’s issues, too, such as expanded Children’s Health Insurance, but probably many voters don’t know that….The history of Hispanics and blacks in Texas is one where they often found themselves competing against each other for the table scraps of justice. Now that minorities in Texas are at the crux of a big decision, we shouldn’t allow the old hang-ups to determine history.
“Obama’s life story and his values are so much closer to the Latino community than any candidate other than Bill Richardson,” Gallego said.
“Part of what drives me is his life story. It’s a fascinating life story. It’s more than just the issues, it’s his values. I think Hispanics and South Texas should really be able to relate to him.”…Gallego said the biggest drawback for Obama along the border and South Texas is that his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, is a household name.
“Clinton is a known brand. The last time our community really voted was during the Clinton years,” Gallego said.