Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez just announced her candidacy for U.S. Senate today in Texas. While there are many upcoming senate races in 2020, this one promises to be more interesting than most.
The Texas electoral college accounts for 38 electoral votes — second only to California with 55 votes, and as large as Pennsylvania and Ohio combined. Given the demographic shifts, along with the turnout game that Cristina is likely to have in the Latino communities, there is a very real possibility that Texas can flip to blue in the 2020 presidential. If this happened, it would be an almost impossible 76 electoral college vote swing for Donald Trump to overcome.
All of us have been affected by the disregard for our democratic institutions by this administration, but there has been no group as affected as the Latino community. The racist and nationalistic ethos that have lead to events like the recent mass shooting in El Paso have given this community good reason to want to show up in 2020. And they could be a force: they are on track to make up the largest ethnic population in Texas, and most of them are young. The number of young Latinos eligible to vote in the state of Texas will continue to sky-rocket over the next year, as over 210,000 young Latinos will turn 18 between now and the election. This trend will continue each year over the coming decade, which along with other demographic shifts, will bring the state from 39% to around 50% Latino by 2028. Young Latinos are increasingly engaged in political issues, a trend likely to continue as immigration, healthcare, and economic opportunity are increasingly the focus of that national political discussion. However, while young Latinos have the potential to significantly impact the outcome of each election in Texas moving forward, the data suggest there is significant work to be done to translate this potential to actual participation in the electoral process.
Cristina’s campaign can uniquely activate this potential voting bloc. Grassroots campaigns that focus early and heavily on direct voter contact will be essential to reaching young Latinos, especially when it comes to increasing voter registration. Cristina’s commitment to organizing her field program around this direct voter contact sets her apart from every current candidate. Her career successfully working directly with and organizing diverse groups of people specifically around civic engagement for Latinos demonstrates that she’ll be able to communicate her positions on the issues. While many Democratic candidates will share similar stances on immigration, healthcare, gun control and other issues that are popular, effectively communicating their plans to make real change related to those issues is key to increasing actual voter participation. Finally, Cristina’s commitment to hiring a culturally diverse and culturally competent staff means she will be in constant communication with young Latinos and sensitive to what they need to see in a Senate candidate.
If you are concerned with the current state of politics and would like to help ensure change in 2020, consider helping Cristina through sharing your support on social media, and through a contribution to her campaign.