Taco Trucks on Every Corner
A Simple Idea with Global Appeal
During 2016’s presidential race, Latinos for Trump founder Marco Gutierrez referenced his Mexican heritage saying, “My culture is a dominant one, it’s a problem. If you don’t do something about it you’re going to have taco trucks on every corner.” The barb spurred Rigsby Hull to get busy turning those taco trucks into voter registration booths. Why? Texas is a state with low voter turnout—dead last among the 50 states—and fewer than a quarter of eligible Texas Latinos even register to vote. With 27 million mostly disengaged US voters, and immigration issues featuring prominently, the Hispanic community is America's political “sleeping giant”. We hoped those taco trucks might incite an awakening.
Our project, partnered with Mi Familia Vota, went wildly viral, with coverage in New York Times, ABC and CBS News, Fox News, Reuters, Washington Post, Texas Monthly, Houston Chronicle, and many more, and international press from Times of India, French news journal Kobini, Australian Broadcasting Corp, Voice of America and others. Registrations poured in. Ultimately nearly 324,000 new voters registered—breaking all Texas and Harris County records—with Hispanic surnames counting for 76% of the increase.
NPR news wrote that taco trucks “now straddle the worlds of political symbol and internet meme”. And guess what: they're still a great place to get lunch!
Keeping the Republic
Find our “Taco Trucks on Every Corner” project in the newly-released Social Science/Law textbook, Keeping the Republic, by Barbour & Wright. The book’s stated aim, “teaching students to think critically about American politics—exploring who gets what, and how, and the twin themes of power and citizenship”, is one we wholeheartedly support.