“In Texas, we have been waiting for what’s called a Pete Wilson moment for a quarter century,” said Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University, referring to the former California governor who led the campaign to pass a controversial anti-immigrant law in 1994, setting the state on a trajectory toward its current liberal status. “A Pete Wilson moment that would awake the Hispanic electorate has never come.”
It’s far from clear that the El Paso shootings — the fifth mass shooting in Texas in the last five years — will be that moment, though its potential for further roiling the state’s politics is obvious.
Meanwhile, population growth in Texas has given Democrats new opportunities.
The Texas miracle that three successive Republican governors have touted has attracted millions of new residents in search of jobs, and those newcomers, many of them from California, are shifting the state’s politics. One percent of the state of California, with a much more liberal population, has moved to Texas.