With voting in the predominantly white states of Iowa and New Hampshire completed, presidential campaigns are setting their sights on bigger and more diverse states, including Texas. Do the current leading Democratic front-runners have what it takes to engage African American, Latino and Asian voters?
Juan Carlos Huerta is professor of political science at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. He says the significance of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ win in New Hampshire shouldn’t be overstated.
“I think a lot of political commentators and observers are reading a lot into two small, unrepresentative states,” Huerta says. “The real test is going to be when we leave now, and got to states that are really more reflective of the Democratic Party coalition.”
Huerta says Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s third-place New Hampshire finish, after trailing other leading candidates for some time, isn’t that surprising. New Hampshire often elevates lesser-known candidates, he says.
Next on the primary calendar is South Carolina, with large African American and Latino populations, and many labor union members. And on March 3, voters in Texas and 14 other jurisdictions will cast primary ballots.
“In the Democratic Party, African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans now, too, are becoming very vital parts of the Democratic Party coalition,” Huerta says.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who struggled in Iowa and New Hampshire, has a chance to do better in larger, more diverse states.
“He’s well known. Being the vice president for Barack Obama has very strong appeal, and I would expect him to run on that,” Huerta says.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.