For a quarter-century, Republicans have dominated Texas politics so much that the Democratic minority has often been an afterthought. The big political battles in Austin have been fought between conservative and centrist factions within the GOP, as Democrats watch from the sidelines.
But Democratic gains in this year’s midterm elections on the federal, state and county level show the prospect that Texas will become a swing state — a promise Democrats have made for years — is slowly coming to fruition.
Texas’s evolution illustrates two of the defining inflection points in American politics today: A growing divide between liberal urban cores and conservative rural bastions; and a shift in attitudes of suburban voters turned off by President Trump and his Republican Party.
Those factors have helped turn states like Nevada and Colorado blue, as large metropolitan areas like Las Vegas and Denver dominate more conservative rural areas. At the same time, they have pushed states like Pennsylvania and Michigan toward purple status, as the once-dominant metro areas like Philadelphia and Detroit lose population and political influence.
In fast-growing Texas, both of those fulcrums are tipping toward Democrats.
Hundreds of thousands of new residents are moving into Texas every year, choosing to live in fast-growing cities and suburbs around the state’s four largest metropolitan areas. Six of the nation’s 10 fastest-growing counties are in Texas. About one in every 10 Texas residents did not live in the state when Sen. Ted Cruz (R) first won his seat six years ago.
“We have a lot of new voters who have held up their hands. There’s thousands of new voters moving to Texas every week,” said Chris Homan, a veteran Texas Republican strategist.
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SOURCE: REID WILSON