Donald Trump worked hard during his four years as president to reduce the flow of illegal immigration at America’s southern border, particularly in order to prevent criminals, terrorists, drugs and weapons from being smuggled into the country by cartels and traffickers.
Democrats and the media routinely disparaged that effort as “racist” and “xenophobic,” but it appears that a majority of the predominately Hispanic population in the border town of McAllen, Texas approved of Trump’s work, as they just elected a Republican as mayor in what was previously a Democratic stronghold, The Free Press reported.
The McAllen mayoral win for the GOP is merely the latest example of strengthening Republican support along the southern border, an area that used to be considered a lock for Democrats but has been steadily trending red in recent election cycles.
GOP makes gains among Hispanic voters
Local NBC affiliate KVEO reported Saturday that Republican mayoral candidate Javier Villalobos received approximately 51% of the vote in a special runoff against Democratic candidate Veronica Whitacre, defeating her by slightly more than 200 votes.
Villalobos previously served as a city commissioner in McAllen and had been the chairman of the Hidalgo County GOP, where McAllen is located, TFP reported.
His victory appears particularly significant — and provides insight into the trend of Republican gains — in light of the fact that President Joe Biden won Hildago County by 17 points in the 2020 election after failed 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton carried it by 41 points.
Border counties trending toward GOP
The Washington Examiner noted that the victory by Villalobos pointed to “a wider pattern of incremental successes for Republicans in South Texas, a heavily Hispanic region that has been politically dominated by Democrats for decades.”
Trump managed to flip five Hispanic-majority counties in South Texas from blue to red in 2020, and substantially closed the gap in several other counties that have traditionally voted overwhelmingly for Democrats, such as Starr County, which Clinton won by 60 points in 2016 but Biden secured in 2020 by only 5 points.
The trend toward Republicans has also been evident in congressional races in the area, with several Democratic incumbents barely hanging onto their seats in 2020 after winning by wide margins in previous elections.
Biden’s border policies backfiring
TFP noted that according to political operatives on both the left and right, Trump’s strong stance in support of a secure border and legal immigration has seemingly been embraced by the predominately Hispanic population that, while traditionally having voted for Democrats, are generally conservative in most of their views.
The fact that Biden has reversed virtually all of Trump’s border and immigration policies certainly hasn’t helped Democrats in the region either, as was noted by Republican National Committee (RNC) spokesman Nathan Brand.
“BIG win for Republicans tonight in a border community. Biden’s border crisis has real world ramifications for communities across the country, especially in cities like McAllen,” Brand tweeted Saturday.