Green Room

Blue Texas? Er …

posted at 12:13 pm on November 19, 2012 by

After the election this month, in which a Democratic incumbent hung onto the presidency while gaining fewer votes than his first election, there was plenty of bragging about the outcome from the Left.  Some claimed that deep-red Texas might become a swing state in the very near future, but TNR’s Nate Cohn throws a big deluge of cold water — and math — on that bet:

Certainly, increased Hispanic turnout and support for Democratic candidates aided the president in Texas, just as it did nationally. In overwhelmingly Hispanic areas of south Texas, Obama finished more than 10 points better than he did in 2008, and Mitt Romney finished worse than John McCain in thirty counties with a large Hispanic population. Strong minority support and turnout allowed Obama to carry the core counties of metropolitan Dallas and Houston (Dallas and Harris County), even though they voted Republican in every presidential election from 1968 through 2004.

But in case anyone missed it, demographic changes haven’t actually produced gains for Democrats in Texas. Despite favorable Latino turnout and support, Obama did worse in Texas than he did four years ago and lost by a decisive 16-point margin. Looking back further, Texas hasn’t moved to the left: the state was 19 points to the right of the national popular vote in 2012; hardly an improvement compared to 19 points in 2008, 20 points in 2004, and 15 points in 1996.

I’d put aspirations of a blue Texas at the same level as those for a red Minnesota: a fantasy.

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