As the American political landscape has become more polarized in recent years, the two states have found themselves at the forefront of right-wing politics and rhetoric.
Texas and Florida, both led by Republican governors and both top-ranking lawmakers in Washington, represent two different versions of that country’s political future—at least according to Luisita Lopez. Torregrosa.
Torregrosa is the author and former editor of The New York Times who recently explored the extreme right axis in Texas and Florida in article for the Texas Observer.
Torregrosa said one of the differences between the two states is that they have different heritages of conservatism.
“Texas has been a Republican, a committed Republican, for much longer,” she said. “Florida is all Republicans now, but Florida has essentially voted for Barack Obama twice. In 2016 it really worked for Trump and it started the Republican invasion.”
In terms of similarities, both Texas and Florida are growing rapidly and have powerful congressional delegations in the District of Columbia. Both states also have a large influx of out-of-state migrants and large Hispanic populations. However, Torregrosa said it would be a mistake to think of the Hispanic communities in Texas and Florida as similar or monolithic.
“The Hispanic population in both states is different. In Florida… and it’s pretty common, but more or less Florida has middle-class Hispanics,” she said. “Professionals, business people who are leaving their countries, such as Venezuela, Colombia, Nicaragua and of course, mainly Cuba, because they know how to get away from socialist governments, as well as from the bankrupt economy and corruption in their countries.”
In Texas, she says, things are different.
“There are Hispanics in Texas, and I think the word ‘Hispanics’ is not accurate enough, but Hispanics make up 40% of the population of Texas anyway,” she said. “However, Hispanics in Texas have much less political and economic power than Hispanics in Florida. Hispanics (in Texas) tend to vote Democratic, and they did in 2022. But less and less, and more and more, are turning to the Republicans.”
And while Texas is a Republican stronghold—and Torregrosa expects this to be the case for a long time to come — Texas is more likely to turn purple than Florida, she said.
“The growth of Texas, the economic growth is huge. It attracts hundreds and thousands of people from out of state, especially California, and also attracts (a lot of) the tech industry, as we all know about Austin and other parts of Texas. The talent that comes with these industries tends to move to cities,” she said. “So with these people coming in, it’s more likely that things will get a little less red and more purple. But these will be very gradual changes. Right now I don’t even see it happening. But I know it can happen.”