Texas, a state whose electoral votes have gone to Republican candidates since 1980, is turning blue, according to experts. Instead of remaining a Republican stronghold, which it traditionally has been, Texas is slowly transforming into a swing state that could change the landscape of American politics, Newsweek reports.
Democrat Beto O’Rourke’s 2018 midterm run against Republican Ted Cruz appears to have galvanized Democratic voters in the nation’s second most populous state, amplifying the importance of all of its 38 electoral votes, expert analysis shows.
Ethan Roeder, who ran data analytics for former President Obama’s presidential campaigns and now works for a Democratic Party-affiliated group made a statement.
“Texas is a state that Democrats have been eyeing for some time now, because at the presidential level, it just keeps moving toward Democrats.”
Confirming Roeder’s claims, Texas Republican strategist Chris Homan added that “thousands” of new voters are moving to Texas every week. “We have a lot of new voters who have held up their hands,” he claimed. Beto O’Rourke may have failed to unseat Cruz, but the fact that the race was close stands testament to major Democratic gains in what used to be a GOP stronghold.
O’Rourke “was able to raise an enormous amount of money and that alone separates him from the crowd,” another Republican strategist opined, adding that “people in Texas were mesmerized and moved by him. The fact that he lost by 3 percent is impressive.” This sentiment is not only shared by Democratic and Republican strategists, but also backed up by raw data.
Democratic Party candidates won dozens of seats in this year’s Texas House race, mostly thanks to voters from cities like Houston and Dallas. Demographic changes and the booming economy in Texas’ largest cities appear to have immensely contributed to changes in the state’s political landscape. As cities continue to experience economic booms, Americans from other parts of the country are inhabiting them. Most of these new citizens appear to be in favor of Democratic politicians.
Brandon Rottinghaus, a political scientist at the University of Houston, said that future elections will be fought in Texas’ urban centers, but noted that the Republican Party is set to lose voters. Rottinghaus said, “If Republicans can’t keep Democratic numbers below 60 percent in urban Texas, winning elections is going to be much more difficult going forward.”
Ahead of the 2018 midterms, Vox predicted that Beto O’Rourke could lead a blue wave in Texas, adding that even if the Democrat fails to unseat the incumbent Ted Cruz, his candidacy could be a moral victory in and of itself, and perhaps signal that Texas is changing. Their predictions appear to be coming true.