The State of Texas is not on the list of battleground states at Real Clear Politics but Democrats in Texas and in Washington, D.C. are fighting as though it is. On Tuesday a new hashtag popped up as trending on Twitter – #TrumpKilledTexas. The message is that the bad Orange Man has blood on his hands.
It’s the kind of hyperbole we’ve seen throughout Trump’s presidency but this one is a fundraising effort by Democrats disguised as a hashtag campaign. Down deep, they know that Trump will win Texas in November but until then they are continuing to lay the ground for future Democrat wins. The battle truly began back in 2013 with a group called Battleground Texas. At the time, Texas Republicans didn’t pay much attention though some conservative voters (such as myself) did take note and spoke up about the group. In my case, I wrote about it, including about the time I attended Battleground Texas’s initial organizational meeting in Houston. But, Texas Republicans were complacent after years of successful election victories, most notably in statewide elections. Republicans currently control a trifecta in Texas – when one party controls the three vital centers of state political power—the office of the governor, the state House, and the state Senate.
Democrats have made inroads in Texas, that is undeniable. In 2018, Democrats saw a lot of victories but still not at the state level. My own congressional district went Democrat for the first time ever. Democrats were more fired up to get out and vote than Republicans. So, the national Democrats and state Democrats are going all-in during this presidential election year. The group behind today’s hashtag works in conjunction with ActBlue.
If you think Texas is ready to turn blue, reply with #TrumpKillsTexas. Texans deserve better!
— MeidasTouch.com (@MeidasTouch) July 28, 2020
Democrats are spending money on ads in Texas.
Texas Democrats say they will roll out a seven-figure digital ad buy closer to Election Day as part of a reinvigorated effort to win a huge electoral prize for Joe Biden, partly by turning out minority voters in the state who are seen as the key to a Democratic victory.
In addition to the ad buy, which will materialize closer to November, the party is also doubling down on its commitment to get 2 million Texans registered to vote for November. This plays into the party’s already established strategy of winning back the state House this cycle.
“Our basic theory is that the more voters that we register, the more likely the state is to turn blue,” Abhi Rahman, director of strategic communications for the Texas Democratic Party, told The Hill in an earlier interview. “We feel like for every Republican voter that’s unregistered, there’s three or four Democrats that are unregistered.”
While the race between Trump and Biden goes back and forth and is very close right now according to the latest polls, the race between Senator John Cornyn and his Democrat opponent is not close. The last poll reported at Real Clear Politics, one from Quinnipiac, shows a nine-point lead for Cornyn. Trump’s job from now until the election is to keep Texas Republicans enthusiastic about going to vote, not just for him but to vote for Republicans in down-ballot races. The end of straight-ticket voting goes into effect this election year.
The Biden campaign hopes that for the first time in 20 years, a Democrat presidential nominee will win the senior vote. The campaign is launching an ad blitz this week directed at voters age 65 and up in seven crucial general election battleground states. The subject of the ads is Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The ads will run during daytime television hours when seniors are watching, as well as a Spanish-language version of the commercial that will run in Arizona and Florida.
Helping Joe Biden in his campaign are some former staffers of George W. Bush. After Bush’s refusal to vote for Trump as the Republican nominee in 2016, I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise that some of his former staffers are following his lead. This, I will tell you, is not playing well in Texas. Since the 2016 election, I have had many Republicans in Texas tell me that, essentially, the Bush family is dead to them. It’s not just because they voted for Trump, it is mostly because any Republican voter in Texas can tell you that every election with a Bush on the ticket brought out demands from the Bush family that Republicans have to be loyal. Loyal to the party and then the family very publicly did not do as they asked of others for many years. Jeb Bush was never going to be the party’s nominee in 2016 yet instead of accepting his defeat in the GOP primary, they were sore losers.
A Houston woman is among those organizing a group called “43 Alumni for Biden”. Imagine that – alleged Republicans helping a Democrat be elected as president. Joe Biden offers absolutely nothing to Republicans as far as policy and personal judgment goes, yet, here we are. “I don’t know if this is a one-time thing,” she said. “But I know if I vote for Joe Biden, especially in Texas, it could get Trump removed from office, which is the ultimate goal.” Her husband and other family members are reported to be Trump supporters. Apparently, “hundreds of former Bush administration officials “disappointed by the damage done to our nation by Donald Trump’s presidency,” are joining the group.
Trump remains wildly popular among the state’s Republican voters at the same moment Texas has emerged as a legitimate political battleground for the first time in decades. Involvement in 43 Alumni for Biden, then, puts members directly on that fault line.
One further twist is that Bush, who didn’t vote for Trump in 2016, has himself avoided weighing in on the White House race, part of his post-presidential policy of generally not commenting on news of the day. His spokesman, Freddy Ford, said this year that Bush is “retired from presidential politics.”
Members of the pro-Biden group are careful to say they aren’t speaking for Bush or trying to pressure him to weigh in. But they also point out that Bush has long encouraged his charges, along with other Americans, to stay engaged in the civic discourse.
“In the years that he’s been out of office, he has called on those of us who served in his administration to stay involved, to keep true to our values,” said Kristopher Purcell, a Plano native who worked for Bush’s campaigns and in his White House.
I can confidently say that among Texas Republican voters, this will not play well. Many did not vote for Trump in the GOP primary during the 2016 election but did rally and vote for him in the November 2016 election because it was, in fact, a binary choice. Hillary Clinton offered nothing for conservatives. The same is true of Joe Biden, who is being pushed farther and farther to the left. He succumbs willingly. With the country so bitterly divided politically today, Bush’s quiet acceptance and approval of his former staffers organizing against the Republican president is unacceptable.
The Houston woman, now a stay-at-home mom, says she just had to do something and speak up. That’s fine, except it’s too bad she chose the wrong side to cheer for this election cycle. Too bad working for Bush didn’t teach the lesson his family demanded of other Republicans.