How Arizona, Texas, and other solidly red states could soon turn purple
Some of the country’s most traditionally conservative states are at a greater risk of turning purple than the GOP might realize.
More than 25 million new Hispanic and Asian voters could join the electorate by 2020, according to a new study by the Partnership for a New American Economy (PNAE), an advocacy group for immigration reform. That number alone should raise an eyebrow—after all, no president in history has won the popular vote by more than 18 million ballots. But considering how many of those newly minted voters will be casting their ballots in states where the population has long voted Republican, it should also scare the GOP.
Many of those potential new voters could join because they are merely sitting idle—some 10 million Hispanic citizens and 3.6 million Asian American citizens are eligible to vote but have yet to register. Another 6.6 million Hispanics and 1.6 million Asian Americans will have turned 18, and therefore be eligible to vote. And, lastly, some 2 million Hispanics and Asian Americans, respectively, are expected to be naturalized and thus allowed to vote for the first time.
The Republican party performed poorly among both demographics in the last national election—Mitt Romney won just 27 and 26 percent of the Hispanic and Asian vote, respectively. And the party is only going to face more pressure to reverse the trend.
“I think Republicans are ignoring what are very very clear long term problems,” said Jeremy Robbins, the executive director of the PNAE. “Really red states are going to be purple states really soon if the Republican party doesn’t work to win over Hispanics and Asians.”
Specifically, Robbins is talking about Arizona, Texas, and a few other historically conservative states, where the rise in Asian and Hispanic voting populations over the coming six years will be especially significant. In Arizona, for instance, the number of unregistered voters alone is slated to be nearly three times the margin by which Obama lost the state in 2012. In Texas, where Mitt Romney won by more than 1.2 million votes, the number of unregistered voters is roughly twice the margin of loss.