Friday, February 14, 2020

It's all about turnout

The old electoral story in Texas was that the cities were liberal, but the rural areas were conservative, and the rural areas voted more reliably.

That was turned on its head in 2018.  Demographics are against it, too.  The rural areas are emptying out, the urban areas filling up.  Texas is the second most populous state in the country, and most of that populace is in urban areas.  Even Bexar County (home to San Antonio, and to more military bases than you can shake a stick at, and even more retired military personnel), went blue in 2018.  Austin is no longer the blueberry in the center of the cherry pie (please let that one go, people!  Houston isn't John Travolta's Urban Cowplop, either.)  Dallas was once home to the major televangelists, and vanguard of that revival in the '80's.  Now it's as blue as Houston (which is in some ways bluer than Austin.  Hey, Alex Jones doesn't live here, he lives there.).

If the urban voters turnout, and there's every reason to believe they will (Democrats are lining up to run for offices they once defaulted to Republicans because, why bother?), Trump is in trouble, and these numbers, however implausible they are to you, outsiders stuck in the past who still think Austin is "liberal" and the rest of the state benighted, are real.  Call it the Beto effect.  Sure, he lost to Cruz and he flamed out as a Presidential candidate, but he created a real interest in running for office among Democrats (well, that and disgust with Trump.  I'm getting mailings for the primaries from candidates promising to work against Trump.  It's effective.).  It's anti-Trump fever, but Beto made victory seem possible, and while he didn't win in 2018, other Democrats did, and took over federal offices ceded to Republicans for decades now.  That "tinge of purple" is a lot stronger than even West Wing Reports thinks.

Be patient.  All signs point to 2018 being a mere harbinger of spring deep in the heart of Texas.

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