Will Texas go blue? Rick Perry says 'no way'
I like the governor's confidence. And in the near term, Texas still looks like a GOP bastion.
But 10 years from now?
For many, it's the country's ultimate over-the-horizon electoral question: Could Texas become a blue state?
To which Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry emits a hearty guffaw. Texas going blue, he says, "is the biggest pipedream I have ever heard."
To explain just how preposterous, Gov. Perry summons the example of the state's two arch rivals, the University of Texas and Texas A&M, his alma mater, whose colors are maroon and white.
"The University of Texas will change its colors to maroon and white before Texas goes purple, much less blue," he said in an interview on the edges of the National Governors Association winter summit in Washington, D.C.
he largest and most reliable Republican state on the presidential map has fallen into the GOP column in every presidential election since 1980. Mitt Romney last year won the state and its 38 electoral votes by 16 percentage points.
But were it to tip the other way, thanks to its swelling Hispanic population and the growth of urban liberals in cities like Dallas and Austin, the Republican route to the White House would grow perilously narrow.
Many political pollsters and demographers predict the state could get wobbly sooner than many Republicans think, possibly going blue by as early as 2020.
Gov. Perry rejects that notion with his own version of "Remember the Alamo." Why?
"It's because of freedom," he says. "People in Texas truly aspire to freedom. They don't want government coming in and telling them how much of this or how much of that."
At heart, he argues, there's just something about Texas. "Democrats are about government getting bigger and bigger and government providing more and more," he says. "Texans have never been for that, and Texans never will."
On the plus side, those who see Texas going blue because of the swelling numbers of Hispanics presuppose that Hispanics will always vote Democratic in huge numbers. That may change over the years, so Democrats who are counting those chickens may want to wait a bit to see if any eggs actually crack.
However, Perry may be right about Texans and small government. But what if a huge number of non-Texans from places like California flood the state? Look at Colorado and you see not only has the Hispanic population increased, but refugees from high tax states moved there over the last 20 years, turning Colorado purple.
One can only hope that Perry is right.