Democrats’ Climate Goals Will Test Their Latino Appeal

Democrats’ Climate Goals Will Test Their Latino Appeal

October 4, 2021

Voters in Texas’ 34th congressional district located in energy-rich South Texas are weighing their options as Democratic Congressman Filemon Vela is retiring, leaving his seat open for 2022 midterm elections. Democratic congressional candidate Rochelle Garza is up against Republican candidate Mayra Flores. 

Democrats are in trouble as many Latino voters turned against the party during last year’s presidential election. Last year, Trump won 10 percentage points more from 2016 of the national Latino vote. Some of his most dramatic gains came in heavily Hispanic areas that produce large amounts of oil and gas, including Texas’ 34thcongressional district where Trump’s margin of the vote increased by 20 percentage points over 2016.

The Associated Press reports:

It [Texas’ 34th congressional district] stretches from Brownsville, where there are proposals to build liquified natural gas terminals for export, more than 150 miles (240 kilometers) north to sparsely populated portions of the hydraulic fracturing-dependent Eagle Ford Shale.

“We are very dependent on oil and gas. That’s the reason you saw those numbers,” said Flores, who was born in Mexico, came to the United State at age 6 and picked cotton every summer growing up after age 12. “That’s what people do. That’s where they work.”

The spending package being debate in Congress seeks to push efforts to fight climate change into overdrive, however. It includes language on instituting high fees for polluters and tax incentives for clean energy and electric cars, while introducing new requirements that the nation’s power grid rely more heavily on renewable energy sources.

Rolando Lozano, a 62-year-old manager at an electric utility, was one of 200-plus people who recently filled a community center in the border town of Harlingen, west of Brownsville, to see Flores and other Latino Republican candidates. He said Democrats have moved so far to the left that “it looks anti-American.”

The issue these energy-rich communities have with the left’s environmental proposals is that they are too extreme and eliminate millions of jobs in their communities and communities across the country. A complete overhaul of our energy industry without job alternatives for those who would be put out of work or the energy infrastructure necessary to support moving over to renewables is ill-informed policy plain and simple.

Daniel Canales, 33, who is between jobs and attended the Harlingen conservatives’ event said it best, “The problem is the Democrats seem to be too urban-oriented. They’re too fixated on problems where they live,” Canales said. “Out here, that doesn’t mean much.”

Democrats’ heavy-handed top-down approach to energy proposals is poor policy and those who support this administration’s extreme eco-left proposals will feel their constituents’ frustrations come midterms.