The Road To A Blue Texas

12 Aug

HDR-Inside-the-Austin-Texas-Capital-top-floor“They have too many white men, and we don’t have enough,” (via The Texas Tribune)

Optimistically I”m a white voter bringing the blue to Texas. Politically that’s insignificant, as State Rep.Mark Strama, D-Austin, can lament. The reason for that depressing fact is immigration.

cyclo4But someone needs to rain on the rodeo: Democrats don’t have a chance of snagging Texas in a competitive presidential election any time soon. That’s because Latinos in Texas are disproportionately ineligible to vote. Too many either aren’t citizens or are too young to upend the state in the next few election cycles.

In order to win Texas in the near future, a Democratic presidential candidate would need not just record Latino turnout, but a historic performance with white voters, too.

So when, then, could a Democratic contender have a reasonable shot of moving Texas into the toss-up column?



In order for Democrats to win Texas within the next three cycles6, boosting Latino turnout would be just step one. The second step would be a presidential candidate who could do as well with white voters as President Obama did in 2008. Of course, such a candidate would be on his or her way to a national landslide, in which case Texas’s electoral votes would be gravy, not a cornerstone of victory.

So, short of death, what is the best liberal wisdom on what to do? Find a savior.

“If you get one strong candidate to jump in, others will follow,” he said. “The other thing you need is a strong party.”

That second item on his list will be harder to find than the first. Davis, a state senator from Fort Worth who rose to Ted Cruz-like stardom with a filibuster in June, has narrowed her political choices to two: She told an audience at the National Press Club last week that she will either seek re-election next year or run for governor.

Most pundits and other self-appointed experts took that to mean she will run for governor — probably more an expression of the fight they want to watch than of whatever Davis might be thinking.


Texas government runs red.

Davis might fail in a statewide race. She has to figure out whether it’s worth the risk.

The breakthroughs sometimes come at the top of the ballot: The Republicans who first breached the Democratic wall in Texas were John Tower, who became a U.S. senator, and Bill Clements, elected governor in 1978. Sometimes they don’t: while Clayton Williams and Rob Mosbacher were losing the 1990 races for governor and lieutenant governor, fellow Republicans Kay Bailey Hutchison and Rick Perry were winning the contests for treasurer and agriculture commissioner.

The Republicans that year had both of the things on Hinojosa’s wish list: big-time candidates up and down the statewide ballot and a political organization to back them up.

And something else: just a little bit of magic.

Did I move to Hogwarts? I can’t tell you how much this type of argument disgusts me. Appeals to authority made by a “Democrat” just stoke me to apoplexy. No, if Dems want Hispanic and white votes, then they need to earn them. It’s about policies, not leaders.

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