Both of these races demonstrate how Texas’s shifting demographics pose a challenge for the Texas Republican Party. Democrats’ hold on urban areas is tightening, with every major urban county in the state now firmly in the hands of the Democrats. In some cases, Democratic dominance is overwhelming. In Harris County, home to Houston, one of the largest metro areas in the country, every single elected office is now held by a Democrat.
It’s easy for Republicans to mock the Democratic mantra that “demographics are destiny,” especially since Democrats keeping losing statewide races in Texas. But to ignore the changes underway across the state would be naive. Despite the stereotype among coastal elites that Texas is a backwater of oil fields, cattle ranches, and gun-loving cowboys, Texas is a diverse, urban state. Seven of the country’s 15 fastest-growing cities are in Texas, and the state’s booming economy continues to draw in new residents from all over the country and the world, accelerating its urbanization and diversification.
Meanwhile, reliably Republican rural areas are emptying out. With Democrats ascendant in Texas’s cities, and beginning to make inroads in the suburbs, Texas Republicans won’t be able to count on rural, exurban, and suburban voters to keep them in office. They will have to begin competing for Texas’s major cities if they want to win future statewide races.