Cultural Revolutions

Chief Target

Hispanic voters remain the chief target of GOP strategists, at least in Texas.  In the wake of Republican Orlando Sanchez’s December 1 runoff loss to Houston’s incumbent black mayor, Lee Brown—Sanchez garnered 48 percent of the vote to Brown’s 52 percent—news media and Republican apparatchiki were busy gushing about the growing electoral weight of “Hispanic” voters and touting the GOP’s vaunted “Hispanic strategy.”  Sanchez’s campaign chairman, Jack Rains, could hardly contain himself: Rains claimed that “Orlando” was responsible for the “awakening of the Hispanic community” in Houston and that the “charismatic” Sanchez would remain an “asset” to anyone wanting to “penetrate” the “Hispanic market.”  Rains pointed to the city’s changing demographics (whites now make up just 31.5 percent of the population, with “Hispanic” at 37.4 percent and blacks at about 25 percent, in a city of 1.9 million people) as evidence that Sanchez, whom he described as the “undisputed leader” of the city’s “Hispanic movement,” could break the Democratic hold on city hall in 2003.

Sanchez—who was endorsed by President Bush, former President Bush, and Rudy Guliani—did garner about 70 percent of the Hispanic vote, and the number of Hispanics...

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