Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Can Democrats Take Texas (or at Least Part of It)?

Sometimes it feels like Texas is the Great White Whale for the Democrats. They're obsessed with it but they just can't catch it. Will Texas always be that way or are there chances for Democrats even now to make progress?

Francis Wilkinson in an excellent piece for Bloomberg makes the case that really are opportunities, starting in 2018. He explains:
In 2016, while Hillary Clinton was losing states previously won by Barack Obama, she substantially outperformed him in Texas, losing the state by 9 points compared with Obama's 16-point loss in 2012.
Republican strategist Liam Donovan analyzed the swing, from 2012 to 2016, in congressional districts nationwide. Six of the 11 districts with the greatest swing in presidential vote from Republican to Democrat were in Texas.
Donovan emailed:
Traditional swing seats are still going to swing, and there may even be enough for Democrats to recapture the House, but the opportunity for realignment lies in these affluent suburbs where Clinton capitalized on Trump's relative weakness among college-educated white voters. Democrats have been seeking to turn Texas blue on the strength of Hispanic turnout, which is necessary, but thus far insufficient. Whether Democrats can win in the near term will depend on whether they can figure out how to peel off Republican-leaning Trump skeptics in places like Highland Park (metro Dallas) and Memorial (metro Houston).
You cannot peel if you do not play. Clinton received 44 percent or more of the vote in five Texas districts currently held by Republicans. More striking, Clinton defeated Trump statewide among voters under 40, and won the youngest cohort, 18- to 24-year-olds, by a thumping 26 points. Turning Texas youth into loyal Democrats should be a Democratic crusade. One-quarter of the state's population is under the age of 18.
Sound like a real opportunity to me. We'll see if the Democrats can take advantage of it. 

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