So says an op-ed piece in today's New York Times by Thomas Edsall. The net of the article?
Texas has emerged as a prime target for partisan realignment.The reason? Activism plus the destiny of demographics.
Below the great orange lariat, please.
A group of Democratic operatives, led by two veterans of the 2012 Obama campaign, Jeremy Bird and Jenn Brown, is determined to bring Texas back into the Democratic column. Bird and Brown have put together an independent expenditure committee — Battleground Texas — to combine advances in high-tech microtargeting and digital communication with the volunteer mobilization that characterized Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.If you're a Kossack from Texas you know about this, and now the rest of the country is being told about it loud and clear.
Again, in case you forgot, the state's Attorney General, Greg Abbott, had this to say about Battleground Texas:
One thing that requires ongoing vigilance is the reality that the state of Texas is coming under a new assault, an assault far more dangerous than what the leader of North Korea threatened when he said he was going to add Austin, Texas, as one of the recipients of his nuclear weapons.Why? The potential disappearance of 38 electoral votes from the Republican column in presidential elections. Why? Because the Republican rebranding isn't working among the growing Latino/a population of Texas, and, if more of them can be convinced to vote, the Republican party is in trouble.
Oh, of course, we have the Times bulding a straw man to say Democrats should be worried because the districts represented by Sheila Jackson Lee and Gene Green in Houston are now plurality "Hispanic" districts, but the real problem is that the Latino/a community currently has an abysmally low turnout statewide: 38.8% in Texas vs 48% nationally (it's the Times again, forgetting that Puerto Ricans in the North East, Cubans in Florida and Mexican-Americans in California might have more reason to turn out, and that turnout is probably uneven through Texas as well). But, as Edsall says, JUST the demographics are likely to turn Texas purple before too long.
The article is jampacked with statistics, but this is what you'll take away from them.
The percentage of the electorate made up of non-Hispanic whites eligible to vote – the core of the Republican Party – is on a steep, downward path, while Hispanics are on an upward trajectory, and blacks are holding their own.It will cost money -- LOTS of money -- for the necessary GOTV effort, but as long as Republican policies are shortchanging the Latino/a community in Texas, the message is simple. And here's Calgary Cruz, with some remarks from an interview with The New Yorker, with a Lee Atwater-inflected quotation that stands at the top of the battleground Texas fact sheet and ends the article.
In not too many years, Texas could switch from being all Republican to all Democrat. If that happens, no Republican will ever again win the White House. New York and California are for the foreseeable future unalterably Democrat. If Texas turns bright blue, the Electoral College math is simple … The Republican Party would cease to exist. We would become like the Whig Party. Our kids and grandkids would study how this used to be a national political party. “They had Conventions, they nominated Presidential candidates. They don’t exist anymore.”Since the Republican Party grew out of the antislavery wing of the Whig Party, this would be the next step of evolution we've been waiting for. It's not too soon to start thinking how we differentiate ourselves from the next incarnation of the center/right party, which is already further right than that.