The race exemplifies two different strands of Texas’ future. One is that Latino voters in the state, predominantly of Mexican heritage, are now the swing population in the state’s elections. Abbott is leading Latino prospective voters, and is headed toward a landslide. This should give the Texas GOP hope that focused messaging and reinforcing shared family and economic values mean a fair fight for voters of all ethnic backgrounds.
The other is that outside forces really want Texas to stop being Texas. Cruz may have the ear of the political and economic establishment, but Beto has Washington! And Fairfax County! Cruz attempted to poke light at the situation with a clumsy joke about banning barbecue but it underlines the fact that a Beto victory would signify a substantial change to Texas — and that you can’t get the genie back in the bottle. And if the Democrats can strike so far into traditional GOP territory, what Republican-leaning states could be next?
From 2007 to 2016 almost 300,000 Californians moved to Texas. Count in the thousand per day more who move to Texas from New York, Illinois, and elsewhere. Full stop, Texas’ demographics are changing.