Why Texas Won’t Go Democratic Soon

A terrific analysis from the Georgetown Public Policy Review spells out the reasons why Texas is likely to remain GOP red even though it is one of only four minority-majority states in the Union.

A quick summary:

(1) Texas Hispanics are younger and poorer than the general population, two qualities that reduce voter participation. Against a national Hispanic turnout of 50 percent, Texas Hispanics only turn out at rate of 38 percent.

(2) Republicans have been recruiting Hispanic candidates like crazy.

(3) Money. Texas Democrats don’t have any. To raise Hispanic voting rates, they need the kind of ground game mounted by the Obama campaign on the national level. That takes investment. Obama spent nearly a billion dollars on his, mostly centered on seven swing states. Why should the national Democrats commit to such a huge and expensive effort in Texas when they can win without it?


  • jrd

    re – “Republicans have been recruiting Hispanic candidates like crazy”

    I think it is a huge fallacy that Ted Cruz helps republicans with Hispanics in Texas. Mexican Americans I’ve spoken to are convinced that Cubans look down on them. His anti immigration rhetoric (despite that his parents were born in Cuba and he was born in freakin Canada.) does nothing to disabuse them of their distrust.

  • Jack Jett

    Hispanics are poorer in Texas and only 38 percent vote so who should really care? Yet millions should be spent to convince them to VOTE Republican, while the party may not give a rat’s azz about them beyond their vote.

    I think I get it. And while you have already ruled out Wendy Davis (even though she hasn’t even suggested she might be interested) nor have you mentioned the incredibly offensive comments made by Perry about her, I am sure that you can only see the positive in a Kay Bailey Hutchinson run.

  • Disagree

    I wasn’t too impressed by that analysis. It seems to me to be a rehash of what pretty much anyone who follows Texas politics already knows. That includes the Democrats who believe they can turn Texas purple by 2020.

    I agree that it will be tough for Dems to turn Texas anytime soon. But they have answers for all the points that were raised:

    1. Yes, Hispanics in Texas are young. But here’s the thing about young people: They tend to get older. By 2020, the young Hispanics who aren’t voting now will be about seven years older. So they’ll probably be more likely to cast a ballot. Also, the Hispanic population in Texas will likely grow more prosperous. A recent study by Pew said that second generation Hispanics have 35 percent higher annual incomes than first generation immigrants. As the Hispanic population matures, members will be more likely to participate in the process. This is inevitable.

    2. True, there’s prominent statewide Republicans. But it’s condescending to say that Hispanics will vote for someone just because he has a Latino surname. Case in point: Ted Cruz got 35 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2012. John Cornyn got 36 percent in 2008.

    3. There’s a TON of Democratic money in Texas. Right now, those donors just spend it on races outside the state. That’s true for now, but you better believe those donors are paying attention to these demographic changes. If they think they can win here, they’ll open their checkbooks.

  • Julie

    “Disagree” above beat me to it on his/her point #3: there IS a ton of Democratic money in Tx. It has just all been flowing out of state. Battleground TX–a serious effort to run serious, electable D candidates–could change that.

  • Jackson

    With Perry not running, it will be an open seat, the first time we’ve had that scenario in almost a quarter-century, since Ann Richards won in 1990.

    Attorney General Greg Abbott will be the R in the guv race. Given the innate sympathy he’ll garner from being in a wheelchair, and given his general warm demeanor and countenance (regardless of his far right views) I think a female — one who is easy on the eyes and ears — is the best choice to run against a guy who brings those variables. That’s Wendy Davis. Yes, he’s the sitting AG, but she’s Harvard law and has a great back story.

    Abbott has a war chest of $18 mil, but she can raise money, coast-to-coast, especially with her newfound national profile. Can you say “Super PAC?” Karl Rove can.

    She’ll also run her race out of downtown Fort Worth, I suspect….in the district she’s represented, in other words. That’ll surely give a boost to the D attempting to succeed her, assuming it’s a decent enough candidate. If she’s also a decent candidate, the race for Texas guv will garner outsized press coverage. It will be a high-profile race.

    Demography is destiny, and D’s are poised to grow, but that doesn’t mean they should sit and do nothing til things change to their favor. They should try and make change. That means putting their best forward in these upcoming election cycles of 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020.

  • Jack Jett

    The last paragraph in your comment sums it up brilliantly. I am not as convinced as Wick on the rich, poor, Hispanic element as much as younger Texan’s are far more open The religious extremist are starting to be more counter-productive than productive for Republican’s which is (IMHO) the reason they fail at attempts at enlarging their tent.
    I enjoy your D’s…Demography, Democrat, Destiny here on D blog in big D.

  • Everlasting Phelps

    Please run Wendy Davis. I’m sure the video of the protesters chanting “hail Satan” over Amazing Grace will boost her straight to the Governor’s Mansion.