Democrats are exciting in, and about Texas, as voter enthusiasm in the red state has jumped 102% for Democrats ahead of Tuesday’s primary.
Chuck Todd broke down the Democratic momentum in Texas on Meet The Press:
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) March 4, 2018
Democrats are hoping to ride a big wave in 2018, and we’re going to get a clue this week about how realistic that may be, as Texas voters head to the polls. Texas, you say? Yes, Texas. Consider this. In 2016, Hillary Clinton came closer to winning Texas than she did Iowa. And remind me, which is the one we call such an important swing state and which did we dismiss? Anyway, the biggest test case may be in the Senate where Ted Cruz will likely face Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke. So if you’re watching that race closely, what are you looking for to see if it will be competitive? Turnout and demographics. And on the turnout front, Democrats have reason to be excited.
Through ten days of early voting in the 15 largest counties in Texas, while Republicans have seen a 16% increase in turnout since their 2014 midterm primary, Democrats have seen a whopping 102% increase in turnout in that same time period. That’s more than four times the gain Republicans saw in the last midterm primary cycle, which turned into a Republican year.
But the big question in Texas always is who votes? In 2016, white voters made up 43% of the Texas population, but 57% of the Texas electorate. That’s a big gap. While Hispanics made up 39% of the population, but only 25% of the electorate. If the percentage of white voters starts to drop closer to the 50% mark or even below, that will be seen as a good sign for the Democrats.
The Democratic surge in Texas is no fluke
Texas is mirroring the rest of the country. Democratic enthusiasm and participation in the midterm are setting records across the country. Whether that record-setting turnout will be enough to push Texas into purple territory is the great unanswered question.
Democrats are turning out in 2018 and levels Republicans turned out for Trump in the 2016 election. According to NPR, “The Lone Star State holds the nation’s first primary on Tuesday, but the initial eight days of early voting through last Tuesday already showed Democrats reaching record levels in a midterm year. To that point, they’d surpassed GOP voter turnout and their own party’s numbers during the same period in 2016, a presidential election year where voting numbers are typically much higher.”
A Texas sized backlash to Trump
Texas Democrats are coming out in record-setting numbers as a backlash to Trump, and Republicans even in a red state like Texas, can’t keep up. Trump is not popular in Texas, and when this combined with Democrats chomping at the bit to get to the polls, the result is a situation where Republicans need to be concerned. The Trump Effect is real, and Texas could be the first warning sign that no Republican in any state will be safe from the blue wave of 2018.
To discuss this story and more join our Rachel Maddow and MSNBC group.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association