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Why Is Trump 'Winning Hearts and Minds' in Border Communities?

Donald Trump won four counties on the Texas-Mexico border on Super Tuesday.
Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Donald Trump won four counties on the Texas-Mexico border on Super Tuesday.

From Texas Standard:Donald Trump won  five counties in Texas on Super Tuesday. Four of those were situated along the border: Hudspeth, Terrell, Zapata, and Webb Counties. That might seem odd given the candidate's stance on immigration and building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Then there's Laredo mayor Pete Saenz who said  he wouldn't rule out voting for Trump.

Kendra Ablaza, a government and politics reporter for the Laredo Morning Times, says that the headlines don't necessarily tell the whole story.


"(Saenz) said he decided to stay neutral, since he said these candidates have not been finalized as nominees and they are evolving," Ablaza says. "He said there is a diverse population of Latinos and Hispanics that live throughout the country, which is why he decided to take that stance."

Thirty-five percent of Republican voters in Webb county cast their vote for Trump in the primaries, and while that 35 percent figure might sound high, the majority of voters in Webb County – of which Laredo is the county seat – actually voted Democrat.

"Though Trump did get the majority of Republicans so far in the primary, 13 percent of voters who came out declared themselves Republican," Ablaza says. "So the Democrats that voted – that's 87 percent of all the registered voters that came out in Webb County."

She says 71 percent of those Democrats voted for Hillary Clinton. Don't expect the border to turn red anytime soon, but the question about why Trump fared better than, say, Texas's own Ted Cruz, remains.

"In terms of Laredo, many people here are tired of politicians acting like politicians," Ablaza says. "My take is that those who may be tired of that would like to side with Trump, because he possibly can do something different. I could see that being their impression."

Copyright 2020 KUT 90.5. To see more, visit KUT 90.5.

Rhonda is the newest member of the KUT News team, joining in late 2013 as producer for KUT's new daily news program, The Texas Standard. Rhonda will forever be known as the answer to the trivia question, “Who was the first full-time hire for The Texas Standard?” She’s an Iowa native who got her start in public radio at WFSU in Tallahassee, while getting her Master's Degree in Library Science at Florida State University. Prior to joining KUT and The Texas Standard, Rhonda was a producer for Wisconsin Public Radio.