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Reply #5: Thoughts on Texas. [View All]

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jobycom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-08-08 01:03 PM
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5. Thoughts on Texas.
Texas conservatism has never been really activist, so much as isolationist, almost Libertarian. Along with people like Bush, they've got a history of electing people like Ann Richards, Jim Hightower, Barbara Jordan, Sheila Jackson-Lee, LBJ, Ralph Yarborough (there was a populist), Henry B Gonzales (he was Dennis Kucinich before Dennis Kucinich was), and the current Austin rep, Lloyd Doggett (the triple-double of consonants). These liberal populists are as much a force in Texas as the Tom DeLay conservatives, but the middle of the pack has leaned Republican for decades, so the Republicans have been winning.

But Texas is changing demographically. White Anglo types are less than half the population, and will soon be a minority. African Americans tend to vote Democrat overwhelmingly. Hispanics lean Democrat, but that doesn't mean most are liberal--that's a mistake often made by politicians. And there has been an influx of outsiders over the last two decades--a lot of educated high-tech types. They tend to vote Republican, but also tend to vote how the wind blows.

And Texas, remember, is a complex state. You've got three large metro areas, several mid size cities, and a ton of agricultural or ranch lands. East is much like Louisiana in voting, west is more like New Mexico, Austin is very liberal, San Antonio is usually Democratic, but not necessarily liberal Democratic. So it's never easy to sum up how people will vote. If Obama catches on in cities like Dallas and Houston, and catches on in Hispanic areas like the Valley and San Antonia, he could have a shot. His biggest problem will be the rural areas, and in racist east Texas. Ron Kirk, the African American mayor of Dallas, lost a senate race by basically the margin of the east Texas vote, where the Republicans waged a racist and homophobic attack campaign in the last days to win. Same thing will happen to Obama, but he may be able to build up strength in the cities, where the yuppie vote seems to be less solidly Republican lately.

The Hispanic factor is huge, obviously. Obama is hated by a lot of Hispanic groups in Texas. There were polls suggesting that if Obama had chosen Clinton, who is very popular with the same Hispanics who don't like Obama, or Richardson, he could carry the state. Biden brings nothing to that, but the good news is that McCain isn't really making anyone happy about voting Republican, either.

This is the second Republican ticket since 76 without a Texan on the ticket. That's been a big part of why Texas has been Republican since just about that time. The only other time was Dole/Kemp in 96, and they got clobbered. On the other hand, no Democratic ticket has won without a southerner since 1948, and if you consider Missouri as southern, then no ticket has won since 36. Both parties are going against history here. This is a major shift that people haven't fully caught on to yet. So don't be surprised by any outcome.

Yes, Texas could go Democrat. I don't even think the polls can accurately measure this one, either way.
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