Texas’ Democratic chairman warned Thursday that Republicans’ immigration policies could doom the party for long time. The Republican chairman insisted other issues would prevail and the GOP would be fine.
They squared off at a downtown Houston hotel a few hours before Republican presidential candidates were to debate at the University of Houston. RealClearPolitics sponsored the event.
Gilberto Hinojosa, the Democratic chairman, said Republicans hurt themselves with their comments on immigration. Front-runner Donald Trump last year railed against what he termed Mexican criminals coming across the border.
“If there’s one way you’re going to get Hispanics to vote in Texas and all over America,” Hinojosa said, “It’s make ‘em mad, make ‘em scared, make ‘em proud.
“Hispanics are angry and scared and may be proud,” particularly if Julian Castro, the current Housing and Urban Development secretary and a former Mayor of San Antonio, winds up on the Democratic ticket.
There’s a problem, though. Hispanics too often are reluctant to vote, and there’s needs to be more encouragement, Hinojosa said.
Republican Chairman Tom Mechler presides over a party that has dominated statewide elections for some time. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is a contender in Tuesday’s GOP presidential primary, and badly needs a win in Texas to keep his campaign going.
If he loses, asked moderator Carl Cannon, does Cruz need to leave the race? “Ted Cruz will not lose Texas,” Mechler said.
He painted a rosier picture of the party’s prospects in the Hispanic community. Gov. Greg Abbott got an estimated 44 percent of the Hispanic vote in his 2014 election bid, calling that and other data “living proof those communities are listening to and receiving our message.”
Republicans will keep offering conservative ideas for fixing the nation’s economy and education system, Mechler said, and that should continue to have appeal.