The Economist this week reported on the race to be the next Governor of the ‘great –state’ of Texas. It isn’t the sort of battle that normally receives a full page spread and indeed was only covered in brief by the news magazine at the last election. However, Texas is turning. This interesting and charismatic battle is seeing a surge in support for the Democrat nominee Wendy Davis, especially amongst Hispanic voters and women. The real question is not if the Democrats will ever win the governorship of Texas, but when.
The last time Texas voted for a Democrat Presidential nominee was when Jimmy Carter ran for office more than a quarter of a century ago. But, according to the analytical website West Wing Reports, it is only a matter a time before it becomes a swing state. The data shows that the key for Democrats to win in Texas is not only to appeal to the Hispanic vote, but get the Hispanic vote ‘out on the day’. Hispanic voters in Texas supported Obama by a margin of 3 to 1 in 2008, but were less likely to vote. On the other hand, white voters supported McCain by a margin of 4 to 1 in 2008, and were more likely to vote. Even if the Hispanic population grows to a sufficient number in the next decade, the real struggle will be to tackle the apathy that has kept them away from the ballot boxes.
But that time might soon be coming. In 2008 the Texas statehouse was evenly split – 76 Republicans and 74 Democrats. And in Harris-County, home to 4.2 million Texans and a population that is majority Hispanic, the Democrats need to seize the opportunity and lock the Hispanic vote that could deliver success by 2016.
What is happening in Texas though is happening across the United States. Red states are quickly turning Blue in a silent war on conservatism. The 2012 Presidential election was defined by the fact that Republicans had never won the White House without Ohio’s Electoral College votes, and in the heartlands of the South – Arizona in the West through to Georgia in the East – there is a repentant hammering away by Democrats to make states swing.
No one truly knows when Democrats will be able to push for total domination of the USA, however much politicians speculate. But one thing is for sure; if Republicans maintain their stagnant, right wing trajectory, then it is going to be sooner rather than later.
By James Wand