“I think what you see here is a Trump effect,” Cuellar said. “If it was a realignment I think you would have seen Republicans win left and right and that didn’t happen.”
Matt Barreto, a professor of political science and Chicano studies at the University of California Los Angeles and the co-founder of the research and polling firm Latino Decisions, was profoundly uninterested in considering the shifting dynamics, telling National Review it was a “extremely dumb idea for a story” when asked for his insight.
“Only 15 percent of Latino voters in Texas are in the South Texas RGV. 85 percent are elsewhere,” Barreto, who has conducted polling for both the Biden and Clinton campaigns, said in an email.
However, Clyde Barrow, chair of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s Department of Political Science, thinks the vote could be evidence of a realignment decades in the making.
“I would suggest one of the things that’s happening here is what happened in the rest of Texas in the 1980s, and that is that these border Democrats are in many ways the last of the old southern Democrats — they’ve continued to vote Democratic out of habit and historical legacy — but they’re conservative Democrats,” Barrow said.