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June 6, 1980 Vol. 72, No. 11 .4. 7.# :Fa 1 q “‘ Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the Austin Forum-Advocate. Rod Davis Matthew Lyon STAFF ASSISTANTS: Beth Epstein, Susan Reid, Bob Sindermann Jr. CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Warren Burnett, Chandler Davidson, John Henry Faulk, Eric Hartman, Jack Hopper, Molly Ivins, Maury Maverick Jr., Kaye Northcott, Laura Richardson, Linda Rocawich, Paul Sweeney, Lawrence Walsh, Alfred Watkins CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Keith Dannemiller, Roy Hamric, Hans-Peter Otto, Alan Pogue, Bob Clare, Phyllis Frede, Russell Lee CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS: Berke Breathed, Jeff Danziger, Dan Hubig, Ben Sargent, Mark Stinson A journal of free voices We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values abate all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and’ never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them we do not necessarily imply that we agree with them because this is a journal offree voices. BUSINESS MANAGER Cliff Olofson The Texas Observer Editorial and Business Office 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701 Publisher’s Office P.O. Box 6570, San Antonio, Texas 78209 Published by Texas Observer Publishing Co., biweekly except for a three-week interval between issues twice a year. in January and July; 25 issues per year. Second-class postage paid at Austin, Texas. 750 prepaid. One year, $18; two years, $34; three years. $49. One year rate for full-time students, $12. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilmed by MCA, 1620 Hawkins Avenue, Box 10, Sanford, N.C. 27330. POSTMASTER: Send form 3579 to: 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701, 7c1020* clit? Advance /Rod Davis Hispanic Hope Confidential to Jimmy Carter: the Hispanic vote is going to make you or break you in Texas. Unless you pay it more attention, you’ll do about as well with it against Ronald Reagan as you did against Sen. Kennedy, which is to say very poorly, indeed. Just teasing. This message isn’t confidential at all. It’s obvious not only for Carter but for all Texas politicians. Just as Hispanics provided Carter with his victory edge over Gerald Democrats or third party candidates from now on. In the ’76 race, Carter took Texas by 121,000 votes, a victory that would’ve been impossible without 242,000 votes from Hispanic voters, who were about 87 percent pro-Carter. This year, the failure of the Hightower campaign to pick up the South Texas Hispanic vote what should’ve been a sure thing probably cost Hightower a seat on the Railroad Commission. According to figures released by the Southwest Voter Registration Project, based in San Antonio, the clout of Hispanics in Texas has become decisive. Since 1976, registration of Mexican-American voters has risen 65 percent to a total of over 750,000. Not only are Texas Hispanics registering they’re going to the polls. In the May 3 primary, according to SVREP data, Mexican-Americans turned out at a rate of 36 percent, compared to 34.9 percent for the population as a whole. Hispanics also worked hard at the precinct and delegate selection level, increasing participation by about 300 percent since 1976, when the SVREP operation began. Combined with this increased voting activity is an increase in overall numbers it’s estimated that Mexican-Americans will comprise 20-22 percent of the Texas population when the 1980 census data is tabulated, the single highest ethnic element in the state. Blacks, by comparison, are expected to make up 13 percent of the total population. These are numbers of portent at least one third the Texas electorate is ethnic. SVREP figures show how a Texas political candidate presumed to be written off by the Anglos can nonetheless do surprisingly well, i.e., the Kennedy-Carter beauty contest. Kennedy’s strategic decision in Texas was to obtain the strongest possible showing based on limited resources, and his tactic was to campaign in South Texas. The result, impressive victory for Kennedy among Hispanics, almost totally countered the trend among all Texas voters. Although Carter took 56 percent of the total Texas vote to Kennedy’s 23 percent, among MexicanAmerican voters Kennedy posted a stunning 68 percent to Carter’s 27 percent. Kennedy beat Carter in all Hispanic-dominated areas, and did especially well among rural Hispanics, including an 83 percent margin in Bee County in South Texas. In Nueces County, Kennedy had 77.7 percent of the Hispanic vote. In all, Kennedy obtained 58.5 percent of his total Texas support from Hispanics. The heightened activity and increase in sheer numbers of the Texas Hispanic vote can only mean good things for liberal/ populist politics in the state, for it is from such societal blocs that the forces of change emanate. But there’s going to have to be some serious re-thinking about the place of Hispanics in the liberal coalition. The first priority is to stop assuming that Mexican-American support can or should be grafted onto any and all Democratic programs. Hispanics have the power, the means and the right to set their own agenda. They should now take the lead. 2 JUNE 6, 1980 PHOTOS NEXT PAGE: