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View Diary: The Yellow Rose of Texas: Drawing a Durable Majority (43 comments)

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  •  I'm pessimistic about... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wwmiv

    the ability of Dems to get 30%, 35%, 37%, or what have you percent of the white vote. I'd put the ceiling at about 25%, and can imagine it falling to 20% or even 15%.

    Back of the envelope math says that in the pre-redistricting TX-17, the electorate tended to be about 9% Hispanic, 9% Black, 1% Asian/Other, and 81% White. Let's assume that Chet Edwards won 95% of African American voters, 80% of Hispanic voters, and 75% of Asian/Other voters. Obviously these estimates will have some error, but suspend your disbelief for a moment and let's say that even if they are not exactly right, they are in the right general ballpark.

    With the above assumptions, that means:

    Chet Edwards won about 50% of white voters in 2006.

    Chet Edwards won about 45% of white voters in 2008.

    Chet Edwards won about 25% of white voters in 2010.

    There's two ways that you can look at what happened between 2006 and 2010.

    a) Interpretation # 1 - Democrats (or at least Chet Edwards) won as much as 50%/45% of white voters in this area of rural/small town Texas as recently as 2006 and 2008. Surely some Democrat can manage to claw back up to 37% support among white voters, or what have you.

    b) Interpretation # 2 - From 2006 to 2010, White rural Democratic support plummeted, as white voters re-alligned fully to the GOP. It ain't coming back. Humpty Dumpty is not going to be put back together again. If anything, it could fall further now that Chet Edwards is no longer around making white rural voters feel like it is semi-socially respectable to vote Democratic.

    I have to go with Interpretation # 2. The idea that Democrats are going to win back white voters in that part of rural Texas on the grounds that it is traditionally Democratic is not much more plausible than the notion that Republicans are going to make a comeback in Vermont on the grounds that it is traditionally Republican.

    I do think that Democrats will continue to do relatively well for state offices like Governor (Bill White even won Falls County in 2010!!!), and it's not out of the question that a State Rep seat could be won in this area. But any sort of Federal office is a totally different story. On the Presidential and Senate levels, voting Democratic is a non-starter. The obstacle is a bit less for Congress, but there is still a very big hill to climb.

    •  Back of envelope (0+ / 0-)

      My only qualm with your math is that the AA portion seems way to low. I can't imagine that it would go beneath 14%.

      If you had it at 9%, that's actually lower effective turnout than for Hispanics (whom we should really benchmark by the SSVR numbers, not the VAP numbers). That isn't going to happen. Other than that, I generally agree with you. But that 5% AA difference makes about 4% difference in the overall vote.

      What are your thoughts on the newer version of the district?

      22 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); Intern w/ Gallego for Congress; Office Personnel at CCA.

      by wwmiv on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 02:49:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The 9% number is for... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wwmiv

        the actual district that existed from 2004 to 2010 (the one that voted about 1/3 for Kerry and 1/3 for Obama).

        I was only referring to that district to make an estimate of what % white support Chet Edwards got in the same general geographic area.

        About the newer version of the district - I assume you are referring to the real-life current district with the arm in Pflugerville. If Chet Edwards were the current incumbent and were running in that district, I could definitely see him holding it. He would still have to campaign, but fundamentally the blood-red Fort Worth Exurbs are excised and replaced with Demifying North Austin.

        That said, he is not the incumbent, and if he were (or even if there were any chance of him trying to make any sort of comeback), the GOP most certainly never would have drawn TX-17 that way. Even though TX-17 was knocked up to something like 41% Obama, Bill Flores is a relatively run-of-the-mill TX Republican and I don't see him having any trouble getting re-elected as long as he wants to be.

        •  Ah (0+ / 0-)

          No wonder about the 9%, but if the AA percentage were higher because of the addition of Fort Hood areas don't you think it might be easier to compete?

          I agree with you about the actually drawn district, but I was referring to the second version of the 17th in my diary.

          22 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); Intern w/ Gallego for Congress; Office Personnel at CCA.

          by wwmiv on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 03:02:11 PM PDT

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          •  It's definitely easier (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wwmiv

            There's no question that it's easier to compete in the district that you drew than in the 2004-2010 real life TX-17.

            The 2004-2010 real life TX-17 was about R+20.

            The district that you drew is about R+10 (with a history of being more friendly to non-national Dems and specifically to Chet Edwards).

            That said, at the end of the day it's an R+10 district. In practice an R+10 is a steep hill to climb, even if not strictly impossible. And Chet Edwards is not coming back.

            •  2nd Version (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MattTX

              The 2nd version is only R+6.

              22 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); Intern w/ Gallego for Congress; Office Personnel at CCA.

              by wwmiv on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 03:14:13 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ah, didn't see (0+ / 0-)

                I didn't see that you re-did it.

                I would say that Chet Edwards would have no trouble holding that if he were the incumbent.

                I would say he would be favored in an open seat situation (not against Bill Flores)

                If he were to re-challenge Bill Flores, I don't know. Tossup?

                A generic open seat race would be lean GOP, but definitely competitive.

                And I would say it would be pretty competitive by 2020 under any circumstances.

                One thing though - you can get the same partisan stats without having to go to Tyler.

                This district below is 47.1% Obama, 45.9% Dem average. 49.5% White, 19.7% AA, 25.0% Hispanic. I think it also satisfies the compactness fetish.

                If we are allowed to violate the sanctity of the Williamson County line and pick up Taylor without breaking any unwritten rules, that can easily be increased to 48% Obama.

                •  I do like that map (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  MattTX, txcatlin

                  And I like the comment abut compactness, which I do have a fetish for. ;)

                  I think the Tyler version, which by the way I slightly tweaked so its now 47.4% Obama and 46.4% average (was 47.1% like yours), more because it includes a hell of alot more AAs (which are more stable in the partisan allegiances.

                  22 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); Intern w/ Gallego for Congress; Office Personnel at CCA.

                  by wwmiv on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 03:57:51 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Here (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    MattTX

                    Here was the middle stage version:

                    Posted for the sake of openness. The only changes were a switch of a few precincts up by Tyler.

                    22 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); Intern w/ Gallego for Congress; Office Personnel at CCA.

                    by wwmiv on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 04:02:10 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Just for kicks (0+ / 0-)

                    Here it is with a choice 65,000 person donation from Travis County.

                    Up to 54.0% Obama, 51.2% Dem Average. 44.2% White, 21.0% AA, 24.0% Hispanic.

                    May require lowering your compactness fetish standards, but I'd say this would be lean Dem even without Chet Edwards...

                    •  I'll toy around with that idea (0+ / 0-)

                      The only reason I wasn't doing so until now is because it would knock the 25th and the 10th down a few points into perhaps only likely Democratic territory.

                      22 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); Intern w/ Gallego for Congress; Office Personnel at CCA.

                      by wwmiv on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 04:10:16 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Before 2010 (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        wwmiv, KingofSpades, Chachy, bumiputera

                        And before the GOP wave became apparent, I had started to wonder what the Republicans would do in redistricting (assuming that Chet Edwards was re-elected).

                        I figured they would have a few goals in the Central Texas area (if they were smart).

                        1) Screw Chet Edwards.
                        2) Screw Lloyd Doggett.
                        3) Create an Austin-based VRA seat in the process to cover themselves legally.

                        If they had been smart (ha!!!), under those circumstances, they would have done something like this:

                        That's 29.5% White, 20.2% Black, and 45.3% Hispanic. 67.2% Obama, 63.8% Dem Average.

                        Half of the district's population would have been in Austin (Travis County, plus the handful of precincts in surrounding counties). That would have been Doggett Country in the primary. The other half of the district would have been split between Killeen, Temple, Waco, Bryan, and Edwards-friendly rural areas.

                        It would have been terrible. And this sort of district might well have attracted an African American and/or Hispanic candidate as well, making the internecine Democratic warfare even worse.

                        In the end Doggett probably would have won the primary by a hair since he is more liberal and D primary turnout would have probably been a bit higher in Austin than in the rest of the district. But it would have been a brutal fight, and of course the reward in the end for the GOP would have been finally getting rid of Edwards. And then in 2020 they would have been able to re-draw the district is a straight out Austin-minority vote sink.

                        They could have added that district plus a Hispanic district in DFW, and maybe one more in the Valley, and they would have had a decade-long gerrymander sail through pre-clearance. The remainder of Austin could have been safely divided among multiple GOP incumbents.

                        Another related option would have been similarly to draw Chet Edwards into a new DFW Fort Worth-based VRA district.

                        But of course Chet Edwards lost in 2010, and as it turned out the Republicans did not redistrict in a legally-intelligent way in any case... And so that never happened...

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