Now, though, Democrats are hopeful that the immovable object — the overwhelmingly male, conservative Republican power structure — is about to meet the unstoppable force: demography. Texas is home to 9.5 million Hispanics, about 38 percent of the population, just seven points behind the non-Hispanic white population. In 2020, Hispanics will begin to surpass the white population and will outright dwarf it in 2030.

But the Hispanic vote is not monolithically Democratic, nationally or in Texas. In 2004, 40 percent of Texas Hispanics backed George W. Bush for re-election. In 2010, Rick Perry got almost 40 percent of the Hispanic vote statewide, and nearly half in South Texas, the purported base for Democratic growth.

Then there is the problem of Democratic infrastructure: there hasn’t been one for years. In 1995, Ron Kirk forged a coalition of Hispanics and African-Americans to become the first black mayor of Dallas, but he could not do the same statewide; he lost a Senate race to John Cornyn in 2002.