Opportunity for Demorats in Texas

Posted in Around The Nation, Around The State, Commentary, Elections, Uncategorized at 9:30 am by wcnews

This article in the US News has an excellent headline, Texas Could Soon Be a Republican Presidential Nightmare. Why stop at president? (Tip to Texas Politics). It’s basically more of the same for the GOP. If they stay the party they’ve been over the last 20 years or so, the only place for them to go is down.

Here’s the bottom line: As the white vote continues to shrink in America, the Democrats are doing a much better job attracting voters of African, Latino and Asian ancestry. Especially in key Electoral College states.

And these are the money paragraphs for Texas Democrats.

To be sure, the clout of minority voters has historically been minimized by their reluctance to turnout and vote on Election Day. And, in 2008, white turnout once again led all racial groups. But, here again, the trends favor a party that pitches the biggest tent, and right now that is the Democrats. Turnout for white voters slipped a point from 67 to 66 percent between 2004 and 2008, but in all other groups it climbed. The turnout of black voters went from 60 to 65 percent, for Latinos from 47 to 50 percent and for Asian-Americans from 45 to 48 percent.

What does this mean for presidential elections? Well, let’s look at the classic big swing state of Florida. In 2004 and 2008 in Florida, the results among white voters were pretty much the same. Bush carried the state’s white population by 15 points in 2004 and McCain by 14 points in 2008. But Obama won black voters by 92 points in 2008 (up from Kerry’s 73-point margin in 2004) and turned the Latino vote around. Though Bush carried Florida’s Latinos by 12 points in 2004, McCain lost them by 15 points in 2008. And as the Democrats were doing better among minority voters in Florida, the minority share of the electorate was growing. White voters made up 76 percent of the vote in Florida in 2004 and but 71 percent in 2008.

For a party that carries Latino voters by healthy margins, it doesn’t take much to tilt a Red state into the Blue or Purple columns. Latinos comprise 21 percent of the population (and 15 percent of the vote) in purple Florida, and 37 percent of the population (and 21 percent of the vote) in blue California. Both went Democratic last year.

The real nightmare for Republican strategists, sifting through these statistics, has to be Texas—which, like California and a few others, is now a majority minority state.

According to Frey’s charts, 40 percent of the population in Texas, but only 20 percent of the vote, is Latino. If Latinos continue to vote with the Democrats, and the Dems ever find a way to get them to the polls in Texas, the last of the three great Republican Sunbelt bastions could fall. (Empahsis added.)

The opportunity is there, Democrats just need to find a way to take advantage of it.

[UPDATE]: Greg has more, Making Texas Competitive: The Why (pt 1).

Texas is, for all intents and purposes, a 55-45 GOP state where no statewide candidate has dropped an eight-figure campaign budget on since 2002. It bears several similarities to Indiana, North Carolina, Virginia, and California in terms of political geography, demography, and/or sheer political competitiveness. The only difference is that nobody lately has decided to fund a campaign to make the state competitive by choosing to make it competitive.

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