Izcan Ordaz voted for the first time in Texas’ Democratic primary on March 3, or Super Tuesday. As an 18-year-old high school senior, he was excited for this milestone in his young life.
That was just before the U.S. became an epicenter in the coronavirus pandemic.
The election issues Ordaz was most concerned about were the cost of college and student loans. Now, the U.S. economy and job insecurity are at the top of his mind. Meanwhile, his other high school milestones, like prom and graduation, have been postponed until coronavirus restrictions are lifted.
As the November presidential election nears, Ordaz — a Central High School student in the Keller Independent School District — said he’s paying more attention to what candidates do and say on the economy.
“I know if layoffs continue to escalate, if unemployment applicants continue to rise, then it could really start to reflect what is being done. And people are going to want to see what’s being taken care of,” said Ordaz, whose father is an immigrant from Mexico.
Democratic Party leaders in Texas say the Latino vote is an important voting bloc, one that could help make the state less red. Nearly 40% of Texas’ population is Latino, and about one in three eligible voters is Latino. The majority tend to vote Democratic, but the Republican-led state still sees higher levels of Latino support during elections compared to other parts of the country. In the 2018 midterm elections, 42% of Latinos voted for Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.
Unlike many other young Latinos who flocked to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Ordaz said he wasn’t sold on the man often affectionately called “Tío Bernie.” Sanders recently dropped out of the race for the Democratic Party presidential nominee and has endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden.
Ordaz describes himself as more of a centrist and said his parents are more liberal than he is: They were Bernie Sanders supporters.