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Voter Reaction To Hispanics May Mirror Similar Response To Immigrants Years Ago In Snowy Buffalo

A book I’ve been reading makes a point about Buffalo, New York in the early 20th century that may have relevance to politics today.

The book is Richard Hofstadter: An Intellectual Biography by David S. Brown. Richard Hofstadter was a political scientist and author who lived between 1916 and 1970. He wrote the Pulitzer Prize winning Age Of Reform. 


Hofstadter grew up in Buffalo. 

As Eastern European immigrants moved into Buffalo in the first third of the 20th-century, the old WASP establishment of that city knew its days of political power were numbered.

The response of the Buffalo establishment was not to work out a transfer of power or a sharing of power with the newcomers.

Instead, as author Brown quotes a Buffalo historian—“the WASP gentry strove consciously to define and to strengthen their identity and their legacies as the bearers of a noble, yet clearly threatened, New England Tradition.”

Anglo voters in Texas realize that a big demographic switch is on the way. Already Anglos are a minority of all Texans. The response of many white voters has been to support immigrant-bashing and right-wing candidates. These voters know that once power is lost it may not return in their lifetimes.

It remains to be seen if Democrats can take power in Texas without a few more years of demographic change.     

February 9, 2007 Posted by | Books, Immigration, Political History, Politics, Texas | 5 Comments