The political inevitability of Eva Longoria

Which national Democratic Hispanic leader can say they have had serious discussions about economic empowerment with former President Bill Clinton, developed a partnership with Warren…
The political inevitability of Eva Longoria

Actress Eva Longoria and politics. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Which national Democratic Hispanic leader can say they have had serious discussions about economic empowerment with former President Bill Clinton, developed a partnership with Warren Buffett’s son to dole out $2 million in microloans to Latina business owners and runs charities that promote college access and aid developmentally disabled children?

SEE ALSO: Eva Longoria’s group looks to help Latinos build political power

Not to mention the usual litany of advocating for immigrants rights, raising millions of dollars for Democratic presidential candidates and becoming a spokesperson for the emerging Latino generation in America?

There is only one.

Eva Longoria and politics

But how long can actress Eva Longoria continue to insist that she has no interest in running for any public office, much less being considered for the Democratic national ticket in 2016?

“No, gosh, no,” Longoria has said jokingly on her most recent round of media interviews – not to promote some new TV show but to launch her new political group, the Latino Victory Project. “I mean, you think Hollywood’s dirty?!”

A growing number of Texas Democrats are hoping they can change her mind, and Las Vegas betting books who don’t believe her disinterest in going into elective office already have her on the books – as a very long shot, for sure, but wanna make a bet on her?

Actress Eva Longoria

Actress Eva Longoria, left, is seated with Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, at an event launching The Latino Victory Project, a Latino political action committee, at the National Press Club in Washington, Monday, May 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

For today, Eva Jacqueline Longoria, 39, who in 2003 emerged as one of Hollywood’s biggest stars in the TV series “Desperate Housewives,” has clearly had a new breakout role as arguably the hottest national political star of Democratic politics.

In her home state of Texas, she has come to be increasingly regarded by a growing number of people as one of the potential Hispanic Democrats destined for higher office, up there with the Castro brothers of San Antonio.

“She would be a very strong candidate for statewide office,” says Texas Democratic Party chairman Gilberto Hinojosa. “I’d love to have her run for governor…”

“It would appear that for many Texas Democrats, Longoria has now replaced (Oscar winning actor) Tommy Lee Jones as their fantasy celebrity candidate for public office,” says professor Mark P. Jones, chairman of the political science department at Rice University in Houston.

So how long can Longoria hold out from jumping into Lone Star State elective politics as Democrats, who haven’t been able to elect a candidate to statewide office since 1994, try to turn the red state blue and take advantage of the increasing Latino numbers in Texas?

As Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has been telling audiences packed with Latino voters as he campaigns for re-election in South Texas:

“The future of Texas is the future of Hispanics.”

But only if they will go to the polls and vote, and Longoria is now one who wonders if the low turnout numbers for which Latino voters are notoriously known for aren’t really indicative of there being nothing of interest for them to buy politically.

“When the ballot doesn’t represent the national population,” she asks, “who are Latinos to vote for? Who are we to get behind and back?”

The Latino Victory Project

It is a point she has been hammering home as she criss-crosses the country in this mid-term election year, drumming up support for Democrats, President Barack Obama’s remaining agenda and her new movement.

Actress Eva Longoria,

Actress Eva Longoria, center, Henry R. Munoz III, co-founder of the Latino Victory Project, left, and Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, are seated at an event launching The Latino Victory Project. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

“So the Latino Victory Project is going to do three things,” she says. “We’re going to develop future Latino leaders. We’re going to mobilize support for those future leaders and existing leaders today. And then we’re also going to shape public policy.”

But some wonder if the Latino Victory Project and its political arm, the Latino Victory PAC, aren’t really a big stalking horse for Democrats. The Republican National Committee this week accused Longoria of that, pointing to the group’s failure to highlight Republicans such as Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas.

Could this new Latino political initiative also be setting up Longoria’s own political career?

“I’ve been involved in politics long before I was an actress,” says Longoria. “I just happen to have a platform now. I just happen to have a voice.”

Longoria, who in recent years returned to college to get her masters degree in Chicano Studies, also steadfastly insists the Latino Victory Project is bi-partisan and that she personally is open minded politically.

“I’ve been studying the Constitution for myself but also as a way for me, as a Democrat, to comprehend the Right,” she says. “I think it’s important that people who are politically active understand both sides.”

Meanwhile, Longoria has a personal narrative that is a politician’s dream.

She is beautiful, glamorous, charismatic and smart. She is a highly recognized Hollywood star who is brainy enough to also make that an asset.

“I find it irresponsible to go, ‘She’s an actress, what does she know?’” she says when her Hollywood background is thrown up negatively. “That means if you’re a dentist, what do you know? If you’re a lawyer, what do you know? It’s our profession. It’s what we do. It’s not who we are.”

Eva Longoria

Actress Eva Longoria speaks with Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, at an event launching The Latino Victory Project, a Latino political action committee, at the National Press Club in Washington, Monday, May 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

She has not lost touch with her roots, having worked all through high school at a Wendy’s.

“The Eva Longoria who worked at Wendy’s flipping burgers — she needed a tax break,” says Longoria, talking about tax loopholes. “But the Eva Longoria who works on movie sets does not.”

And she is tailor-made for gun-toting, football-minded Texas voters, having been taught to fire weapons as a youngster by her father and, formerly married to San Antonio Spurs star Tony Parker, saying things like “I find it a turnoff whenever men aren’t into some kind of sport.”

“I was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, the youngest of four girls, including my oldest sister, Lisa, who has special needs,” she says of her growing up. “My mom was a special education teacher, and my dad worked on the Army base. We weren’t wealthy, but we were determined to succeed.”

The family is also one of the oldest in Texas, having settled in the area in 1603, not only long before it was a state but more than a century and a half before the founding of the U.S.

“My family has lived there for nine generations, under multiple flags,” she says.

Longoria’s ninth great-grandfather, Lorenzo Suárez de Longoria emigrated to the Viceroyalty of what was then New Spain and in 1767, her 7th great-grandfather received almost 4,000 acres of land along the Rio Grande in a land grant from the King of Spain.

In her home state, that qualifies the Longorias for exclusive membership in long revered groups like the Daughters and Sons of the Republic of Texas, and Longoria recognizes the political reality of being all she can be to all segments of the land.

“It’s not the ‘Latino Vote’ — I think we have to start thinking of us as Americans,” she says. “We’re all Americans. Immigration is not the top issue for Latinos. We have the same top five issues as other Americans:The economy, jobs, healthcare, education.

“The Hispanic community is intimately tied to the success of America.”

SEE ALSO: The year of Latina Power