Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Once Again on Purple Texas

I've written a few posts about how red Texas increasingly looks like purple Texas and just may vote blue in some near-term elections. As I've noted in these pieces, trends in the white vote are key to making this happen, as the growth of the nonwhite vote alone is probably not enough to flip the state anytime soon.
Some good news along these lines comes from an article on the Washington Post's Monkey Cage blog by researchers Juan Carlos Huerta and Beatriz Cuartas. They note:
"Although O’Rourke fell short, Democrats picked up 12 seats in the Texas House, two seats in the Texas Senate and two seats in the U.S. House, and came close in several statewide races....
[T]he blue shift isn’t coming just from the growing minority population. Younger white voters are significantly more likely to identify as Democrats than their older counterparts....
[A]mong people of color, both older and younger Texans have been solidly Democratic....Democratic support among white Texans is considerably lower. But that’s been changing over the past decade, especially among younger whites. Whereas in 2009 just 36 percent of younger white Texans called themselves Democrats, by last year that number had grown to 45 percent....
[T]he most reliably Republican group of voters — older whites — are being replaced by a more Democratic-leaning cohort of younger white voters. Older whites were socialized into party politics during eras when the GOP was ascendant. But younger Texans are coming of political age at a time when the party is struggling to appeal to young people across the country. Since the party you vote for when young tends to become the party you identify with for a lifetime, that may give Texas an increasing proportion of white Democratic voters as time goes on."
The most powerful demographic force of all is generational replacement. It just may flip Texas.

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