Just 46 residents of Starr County, Texas, cast ballots in the state’s Republican primary two years ago. But last week, nearly 1,100 Republicans voted in the sparsely populated county that hugs the Mexican border.
A similar surge in Republican turnout unfolded across South Texas, a longtime Democratic stronghold dominated by Latino voters. In five U.S.-Mexico border counties, nearly 30,000 people voted in the GOP primary, an increase of more than 25% in participation from 2020.
The Texas primary, which ushered in the 2022 midterms, is emerging as an urgent warning for Democrats who are clinging to narrow majorities in Congress. The drift of Latino support toward Republicans that surfaced while former President Donald Trump was in office may prove to be a more enduring political trend that could force Democrats to reassess how they win elections.