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Texas Turning Purple

Texas reached an historical milestone yesterday, when the U.S. Census Bureau announced that it has become the fourth state in the nation with a majority of its residents in non-white racial categories. Some conclusions, noted by the AP's Alicia A. Caldwell notes in her L.A. Times article, "Texas Now a Majority-Minority State" (no link):

According to the population estimates based on the 2000 Census, about 50.2 percent of Texans are now minorities. In the 2000 Census, minorities made up about 47 percent of the population in the second-largest state.

Texas joins California, New Mexico and Hawaii as states with majority-minority populations -- with Hispanics the largest group in every state but Hawaii, where it is Asian-Americans.

Five other states -- Maryland, Mississippi, Georgia, New York and Arizona -- aren't far behind, with about 40 percent minorities.

We might also add that North Carolina has the fastest-growing Hispanic population of any state.

The political implications of this pivotal demographic trend are thoroughly discussed in The Emerging Democratic Majority. Although growth in Texas and other states has been led by Latinos, large percentages of whom are not yet citizens, they will soon be voting in ever-increasing numbers.

Republicans are already reaching out to Hispanics with a range of initiatives, but it is likely that GOP success in winning their electoral support will be limited as long as their major policies are anchored in, well, Republican priorities. Dems are in a good position to benefit -- especially if we develop more credible policies that address Latino concerns, recruit more Hispanic leadership in decision-making positions within the Democratic Party and campaigns and make political education in Hispanic communities more of a priority.