Democrats Must Regret Messing with Texas

One of the elusive goals of our corrupt intellectual culture is to turn Texas blue.  Among the 4 most populous states, California, Texas, Florida, and New York, Texas is an exceptional electoral prize and one which, if turned to blue politics, would spell the end of Republican victories at the national level. 

The 2018 senatorial run of Beto O’Rourke was a key insurgency toward that goal and $70 million dollars was spent compared to less than half of that for the incumbent Senator Ted Cruz.  O’Rourke lost the election despite sizable gains in Congress for the Democrats broadly that fall.  Many of the highly and deliberately deceptive polls painted Texas 2020 as once again in play.  The latest effort to mess with Texas failed dramatically -- again.

Texas was won by Republican Presidential incumbent Donald Trump by 52% to 46%.  Trump won by more than 600,000 votes among almost 12 million votes cast.  Democrats spent incredible sums of money trying to turn the state legislative chambers of Texas blue and failed miserably.  Democrats targeted 22 races in hopes of turning at least nine to their side and flipping the chamber.  They got zero.  Wendy Davis also lost her congressional race despite being the Democrat standard bearer at one time for the governor’s race. 

The most shocking Democrat loss was Zapata County — just north of the Rio Grande Valley along the border — by 6 points, 53% Trump to 47% for Biden. The county is 94% Hispanic.  The last two presidential elections there were Clinton +33 and Obama +43.  It is difficult to convey the dimensions of shock inflicted on the Democrats by this loss.  This is a border county that epitomizes one of the most important slanders maintained by our intellectual culture against President Trump: President Trump hates Mexicans.  He hates Mexican immigrants and he hates Hispanic people. 

According to the narrative makers, President Trump wishes to keep Mexican children in cages at the border and separate them from their parents so that they never see them again.  Zapata County rejected this argument and they were not alone. Studies of Hispanic Republicans in Texas finds that support for President Trump is around 79%. In 20 Texas counties— almost all along the Mexican border— Trump increased his support by more than 10% among voters compared to 2016.  In another 22 counties in the same region, he improved his vote by 5-10%.  By comparison, not a single county in Texas increased its support for Biden over Clinton by 10%.  Only two counties in Texas showed reduced support for Trump of 5%.  Both counties were urban counties away from the border. 

There is a red wave springing up in Texas from the border and making Texas redder.  Mexican immigration appears to increase support for Republican policies, and this voting result will have to give Democrats serious pause as they consider the supposed reality that immigration is always a winning issue for them.  The win in Zapata and the growing support along the border points to untapped votes as rich as the fracked fossil fuels lurking below the surface of these regions.  Republicans can go after these voters and possibly flip more Hispanic communities into the win column now that they see the profound vulnerability and collapse of the Democrats here.  Democrats like Jill Biden and Beto O’Rourke spent time in these regions and Democrats sought to exploit the recent mass shooting in El Paso for their own political gain. 

Democrats have told themselves many tall tales in the recent years of turning Texas blue.  Among them is the story that voter turnout will turn the state.  Texas is a state of under voting.  If more people turn out, Democrats will win the state.  Wrong again.  Voter turnout was over 66% and up six percent from 2016.  Republicans remained with the same dominance as before. Voting was not as high as in 1992 when Texas turnout of 72% also made the state redder. 

Early voting is also supposed to be a charm for Democrats.  Despite great amounts of early voting, the Republicans held and in many respect strengthened their future chances. In important state races such as the Senate seat held by John Cornyn or the Railroad Commissioner that controls energy development in the state, Republicans won these races by more than 10 percent.

Democrats also imagine that immigration within the U.S. will gradually make Texas bluer as residents from New York and California move to Texas.  But the 2018 polling data showed that more recent arrivals were more likely to vote for Ted Cruz than his Democrat rival. There is ample cause to believe that the reason people leave states like New York and California is to escape and repudiate the Democrat party politics that made those locations unlivable. 

Texas red power is set to grow in the coming years.  The census moves two more House seats to Texas due to her growing population -- taking them away from blue parts of the United States.  Moreover, the Red legislative chambers allow Texas to re-district two more seats on more favorable terms.  Messing with Texas comes with a cost and the growing clout of Texas to shape an American future of red politics stands squarely in the door of blue political ambitions.

Photo credit: Idawriter  (CC BY-SA 3.0) license

Dr. Ben Voth is an associate professor of rhetoric and director of debate at Southern Methodist Unviersity in Dallas, Texas.  He is the author of four academic books on political argument and publishes in the Washington Examiner, the Hill, and Real Clear Politics. 

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