I haven’t heard much from (or about) Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst since he came in second in his Senate primary race with Ted Cruz. But he’s still on the job in the Lone Star state and taking an active role in state politics. He probably raised eyebrows yesterday when he issued a potentially dire warning to his fellow Texas Republicans.
AUSTIN, Texas — Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said here on Saturday that Texas could turn blue if Republicans get “complacent.”
“If we’re complacent, yeah, it could happen,” said Dewhurst, who last year lost to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in the state’s GOP Senate primary.
Dewhurst, speaking at the Texas Tribune Festival, said efforts to flip the deep-red Lone Star State to the Democrats probably wouldn’t be successful “today,” but could eventually pan out. The state is home to Battleground Texas, an effort to turn the state blue led by Obama veterans.
It’s no secret among Democrats either locally or inside the beltway that this is one of the crown jewels they are veritably drooling over in the next few presidential election cycles. If the Democrats could somehow flip Texas into the D column it would be the same type of bombshell as the Republicans carrying California or New York. It would turn the starting advantage for the Democrats in the Electoral College into a virtual lock with essentially no path for the Republican candidate to win the national contest. Of course, as Dewhurst notes, that day isn’t here. But might it be coming?
There’s been a lot of talk since the last election about the shifting demographics of the country, particularly the growing Hispanic – and uncomfortably Left leaning – population surge in Texas. But there’s another, and far more ironic side to this story which doesn’t get discussed as much. I spoke to one Lone Star politico during the aforementioned primary who brought up a different factor which is diluting the conservative base there. Texas, he said, may become a victim of its own success.
The basic idea he expressed was that Texas has been one of the few state to experience relatively robust growth during the recession which has gripped the nation since 2007. One of the beneficial effects of this is that many new businesses have opened and others have relocated from other parts of the nation to set up shop in their more favorable business climate. But the new businesses bring a lot of people with them and then they recruit to fill jobs from all across America. The states getting hit the hardest with job losses – through no coincidence at all – are, in many cases, some deep blue ones, full of unemployed workers ready to pack up and move to where the paychecks are. So this has resulted in a new influx of fairly liberal blood strains moving in, working, buying homes, shopping… and voting. Combined with the previously mentioned demographic shift, it could eventually play out just as Dewhurst warns.
Talk about your unintended consequences.