She also fears what Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s administration could mean for people she knows who rely on jobs in refineries or hauling crude oil. So, faced with a ballot and a choice, Ocañas decided she preferred four more years with Donald Trump in the White House.
“Not all of us take it to heart when we’re called rapists and bad hombres,” she said. “We have tough skin.”
In Texas border towns with chronically low voter participation, residents did actually show up to the polls this election, exceeding county turnouts from 2016. But when results rolled in Tuesday night, Biden’s overall success was nowhere near Hillary Clinton’s slam dunk four years earlier, revealing Democratic vulnerabilities among a key bloc whose votes had largely been taken for granted.
“Democrats have just assumed and relied on this historical loyalty by people in the valley to the Democratic party,” said Natasha Altema McNeely, an associate professor of political science at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. “And that assumption, I think, is very dangerous for the Democrats if they expect to continue to help the valley remain blue.”