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Posted by on Feb 28, 2008 in Uncategorized | 12 comments

Texas Slides Left

Since Texas is of special interest this week here is an interesting observation by a member of the Editorial Board of the San Antonio Express-News Political Tectonics in Texas Should Worry GOP

During a two-decade span that began in the early 1980s, Texas went from being a one-party state dominated by Democrats to a one-party state dominated by Republicans. No Democrat has won a statewide election since 1994.

The anecdotal evidence was that Hispanics nationwide abandoned the Republican Party in 2006 because of harsh rhetoric associated with the debate over illegal immigration. In Texas especially, the swiftness and severity of the political backlash was disconcerting.

…The downside for Texas Republicans, however, is that there simply is no action at the grassroots level to counter the massive organizational effort of Democrats. And that holds implications for GOP candidates up and down the ballot in November — and beyond. Republicans hold a slender 79-71 majority in the Texas House. A shift of only a handful of seats by 2010 could put the next round of redistricting in the hands of Democrats, with attendant implications for the composition of the state’s congressional delegation.

It is rare that I agree with President Bush, but alienating the Hispanic community with harsh rhetoric and failure to create a path to Citizenship will reduce the appeal of the GOP.

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  • superdestroyer

    The editorial repeats the myth that Bush received 40% of the Hispanic vote. That has been discredited many times. Bush received about 30%. In politics, getting 40% of the vote means that you are losing in a rout.

    If the Repubicans have to spend a single dollar trying to win Texas, 2008, it means that McCain will lose is a McGovern/Mondale style rout and that the Republican party will be irrelevant as soon as November 2008.

  • elrod

    There are several polls on this. Some have Bush getting as low as 33%, others as high as 44%. The CNN Exit poll had 44% but a Bendixen poll had it closer to about 37%. Either way, it was much higher than in 2000. Also, Latino Evangelicals gave a majority to Bush and they are growing in number.

    As for Texas, folks like Burnt Orange Report have been working very hard the last couple of years to rebuild the Texas Democratic Party. One of the problems plaguing the party over the years was the divide between conservative Dems – who were really Dixiecrats – and the more moderate and progressive coalition of Latinos, African Americans, and many whites in Dallas, San Antonio, Houston and especially Austin. This divide sapped the energy and organization of the party as George W. Bush, Karl Rove and Tom DeLay peeled off the conservative Dems to the GOP. The 2003 redistricting was the culmination of this process.

    But since 2004 Texas Democrats have been reorganizing by focusing on white moderates in the big suburbs and pulling back in Latinos who went to the GOP. Corruption in the Craddick-run legislature has really helped Democratic efforts. The immigration debate was a real windfall for this strategy as even many Latino evangelicals jumped back to the Democratic Party.

    At this point Dems are still in the minority in Texas. But in 10 years, the coalition will put the Dems in the majority as superdestroyer worries. Texas will become a blue state again, and will make it very difficult for Republicans to win at the Presidential level…unless Republicans can make inroads into the Latino community again.

  • cosmoetica

    If a Dem wins Texas, and the House goes 76-74 Dem, that wd qualify as a slide center, no? This sort of hyperbole is why most people tune out politics and are so uninformed.

  • PaulSilver

    Cosmoetica,
    Why do you assume that the slide would stabilize at 76-74?

  • cosmoetica

    Paul: I was responding to ‘A shift of only a handful of seats by 2010’. That implies 5, no?

  • GeorgeSorwell

    A shift of only a handful of seats by 2010 could put the next round of redistricting in the hands of Democrats, with attendant implications for the composition of the state’s congressional delegation.

    I’m going to bang my old drum here, but this kind of redistricting–this gerrymandering–is, I think, a fundamental problem in our system. Politicians get to design districts in a way that benefits themselves and their own parties.

    There are other, non-partisan ways to redistrict. Personally, I favor the Iowa model. (The link goes to a description from Centrists.org.)

    I remember that Tom Delay led a non-traditional redistricting of the Texas legislative seats, speeding up what had been a ten-year cycle because the Republicans had suddenly acquired the advantage and he wanted to institutionalize that advantage–by gerrymandering!!

    Take gerrymandering off the table.

  • DLS

    The trends in Texas and the rest of the Southeast include pro-Dem elements. It’s not just a matter of getting wiser and going more Republican upon relocating where there are more jobs and growth to be found. Noooooooooooooooo …

    Hispanic growth => more Democrats

    Black relocation for retirement => Democrats

    Northeastern transplants, Midwestern transplants => Democrats

    California refugees => Democrats

    Retirees => Social Security & Medicare (threats unwelcome) => Democrats

    * * *

    “Take gerrymandering off the table.”

    a) Make districts consist of contiguous ZIP code areas and Census tracts, as well as follow county boundaries and natural boundaries.

    b) Given Texas’s sufficient number of seats, make the seats at-large.

  • cosmoetica

    GS: a good model, and rather simple.

    Few will adopt it for those reasons.

  • PaulSilver

    Cosmo:
    Paul: I was responding to ‘A shift of only a handful of seats by 2010’. That implies 5, no?

    I read that statement as: A shift of as few as a handful of seats…

  • Slamfu

    “it means that McCain will lose is a McGovern/Mondale style rout and that the Republican party will be irrelevant as soon as November 2008”

    Considering their performance the past 6 years don’t you think that is just and fair? The GOP had the ability to pass all the anti-immigration reforms they wanted, and Bush could have chosen to enforce the existing rules much more forcefully than he did and he didn’t even need Congress for that. And what did they do? Nothing. Face it SD, they’ve had plenty of opportunity to make you a happy voter and they screwed you. Why? Because the GOP loves big business more than they love you.

  • superdestroyer

    Slamfu,

    I agree that the GOP has screwed it up big time. However, it is not all about big business. Part of it has to do with the culture of DC.

    The question is with the collapse of the Republican Party, where do small government conservatives suppose to go. The current Democratic Party is not the answer. The same goes for social conservatives however, the Democrats could probably pay them off with some form of government program.

  • DLS

    “Part of it has to do with the culture of DC.”

    Most of it has to do with the culture of DC!

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