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Texas Hands Donald Trump Its 38 Electoral Votes


All right, Steve, let's indeed go across that border and into the state of Texas, which handed Donald Trump 38 electoral votes last night. Any hope the Democrats had of younger Latino voters turning the Lone Star State blue were wiped out by Trump's very strong support among white men, which was a trend across the country. NPR's John Burnett covers Texas and the U.S. border. He joins us from San Antonio. Good morning, John. Where are you hanging out?

JOHN BURNETT, BYLINE: Hey, David. I'm actually at a - kind of a famous local restaurant, El Milagrito, which is The Little Miracle Cafe. For those - and this is central San Antonio. For those who are hoping for a miracle for Hillary, it definitely didn't happen last night. I've been speaking with lots of patrons here this morning over their chilaquiles and barbacoa tacos. And...

GREENE: You're making me hungry, John.

BURNETT: (Laughter). This is a great place. Gobsmacked, incredulous has come up. You hear - you know, I'm overhearing, you know, trump Trump at all the tables. It's what everybody is talking about. But really, there's just a lot of shock here this morning. Interestingly, though, you know, especially from what Carrie, you know - was speaking to Mexicans - we just heard from her. We're not really hearing the sky is falling here in central San Antonio with a lot of the Latinos that I've been talking to here, that, you know, there are three branches of government. You know, he's not going to be the dictator of America. You know, we are going to get through this. You know, that God is in control, ultimately.

The first piece - I want you to hear a piece of tape - is Refugio Rodriguez (ph). He's 48 years old. He's a music administrator from Houston. And interestingly, he told me that he had a feeling all along that Trump was going to surge. And he wasn't really hearing that in the media interviews before the election.

REFUGIO RODRIGUEZ: I think that sometimes in the media, that you hear a lot from - stories that want to make us feel good or want us to think a certain way. But when it comes down to it, it's the voter that makes the difference. And from what I would see, the people who actually said, are you voting, what I saw was they were voting Trump.

BURNETT: Right, so this was just an enormous sort of reality check, he thought, that happened last night.

GREENE: Well, you know, it's interesting to hear Mr. Rodriguez say that because there was a narrative building that - that Hillary Clinton could win a lot of Latino voters, even compete in a state like Texas. It sounds like, in many parts of the country - at least some parts of the country - Donald Trump actually picked up more Latino support than Mitt Romney had four years ago. I mean, what do you make of that? I mean, there was a perception that a lot of Latinos might not love the hard-line anti-immigration message from Donald Trump.

BURNETT: Well, and that's very true. And a lot of them were really offended with how he referred to Latinos. But, you know, it's - it's so complicated. And down here, you know, the question of Hillary's stance on abortion rights, you know, was not popular among Catholics. I don't think she just energized people. She wasn't a popular candidate. I mean, I talked to folks in south Texas yesterday, and they just, you know, weren't excited by her.

And in fact, several folks here in the cafe this morning, Mexican-Americans I spoke to, they didn't vote at all. And they just kind of shrugged their shoulders. But I do want to - one more piece of tape here. This is from Richard Ramirez (ph). He's 46 years old, a registered nurse. And again, it's like, you know, he's - he's not feeling like the sky is going to fall.

RICHARD RAMIREZ: I think that process will work. I don't think he's just going to be able just to say, I'm going to start deporting people left and right. There's going to be a process. There's going to be people in the government and the Congress and the Senate who are going to have their say, as they should.

BURNETT: So he's hoping the three branches of government prove their worth.

GREENE: All right, speaking to NPR's John Burnett in San Antonio, Texas. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

As NPR's Southwest correspondent based in Austin, Texas, John Burnett covers immigration, border affairs, Texas news and other national assignments. In 2018, 2019 and again in 2020, he won national Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio-Television News Directors Association for continuing coverage of the immigration beat. In 2020, Burnett along with other NPR journalists, were finalists for a duPont-Columbia Award for their coverage of the Trump Administration's Remain in Mexico program. In December 2018, Burnett was invited to participate in a workshop on Refugees, Immigration and Border Security in Western Europe, sponsored by the RIAS Berlin Commission.
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