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In the charts that I've embedded below, everything is the rounded two party vote share. The first chart is without accounting for the home state bounce of Bush, Jr. and LBJ, while the second subtracts a net four points (which is about average as presidential bounces go according to the literature) from their scores. What follows is descriptive analysis and logical inference about Texas's previous, current, and some future voting trends. The Obama-Romney results are taken from Nate Silver's current model projections dated September 5th at 10:17 PM Eastern Standard Time. PVIs are single election PVIs, not double election average as is standard. Single election PVIs are better for analyzing longer term trends. Double election PVIs are better for current analysis because they hedge a bit on the newer top-of-the-ticket performances' abilities to predict results.

This diary has been posted to DK Elections, an official Daily Kos sub-site. Please read the DKE Mission Statement. Our focus is on electoral politics rather than policy or preference. Welcome aboard!

Historical Notes

1. Once you account for a home state effect of about four net points, and, admittedly, even when you don’t, Texas is still on a long-term Republican trend. You have to reach back until Carter-Ford to find an election where Texas was more Democratic than the previous election relative to the nation as a whole that couldn’t just be a statistical fluke.

2. The Carter-Ford contest probably slightly interrupted the trend based on Carter being a southern religious man. Clinton likely did not have that same effect on the back of his moral issues, and probably didn’t wear well in Texas as an Arkansan (anecdotally, Texans outside of Texarkana, and even to a degree there as well, disdain - or even despise - Arkansans and Oklahomans).

3. Even LBJ could only pull a two party vote performance that tied his national performance.

4. The large jump to a more balanced PVI after Truman and Dewey is probably related to two factors: the eventual effects of the desegregation of the marine corps under FDR and then more broadly under Truman and the fact that Eisenhower was a war hero (a factor which plays well, especially back then, in the South). In fact, I’ve often noted that I never thought the south was lost after LBJ signed myriad civil rights legislations, but was instead lost because of the near-mythical status afforded to the U.S. military forces by the still distinct American South culture and its complete institutional destruction at the hands of Democrat Truman. I know that this is a little bit too explicative of an approach for some and thus not convincing, but the independent variable here is not measurable in any concrete way and thus does not lend itself to a more scientific approach, but I think the sudden change of PVI across the south lends itself to my analysis. The broader launching of civil rights movements throughout the south over the next decade simply baked this new lower level of support into the cake. 1960s civil rights legislation, contra LBJ, only provided a nudge to continue down the road that had already been started. I.E. there was a certain degree of path dependence here that I think is underrated by commentators and intellectuals.

5. The Hoover and Smith race is probably such an aberration due to Smith’s Catholicism. I think alot of people underestimate the degree to which that would have mattered in Texas specifically - notice that Texas was the only member of the Deep South (which during this time period it was a member of along with Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina) to break so cleanly from the Democratic Party.

Complicating Factors

1. Restricting analysis to the civil rights and current eras, racial polarization in Texas has become more and more pronounced. It would be theoretically possible to have an increase in the Republican PVI over the previous election cycles provided the following was happening: A) the white vote was becoming gradually more Republican, B) the minority vote as a whole was also becoming more Republican with the increase in Hispanics and then Asians - which are less Democratic than the African Americans which are staying stable, or even slightly declining over time, in percentage terms - as a share of that vote, C) and the increase in minority vote share was sufficiently slow as to not offset the gains that Republicans are making among both whites and minorities.

2. On that last point: in order for Democrats - mathematically - to remain at a constant level of support in Texas, assuming they’ve haven't reached a floor with whites (a floor which is dubious at best, and ludicrous at worst), they have to increase the overall minority registered voter share more with each successive election. In other words, they have to go from increasing the minority vote share by 2% (from 28 to 30) in one election, to 4% (from 30 to 34) the next, to 6% more, and so and so forth. This is because with each successive election Democrats do worse with minorities overall, because Hispanics and Asians are increasing in number and African Americans are not, and because minorities are damned difficult to turn out. Unfortunately, this isn’t happening and alone will increase slightly Republican performance. Minorities, instead, are newly registering at about constant increases of about 2% to 3% more each election cycle, which is enough to have bouncy results - some years with Democrats doing better than expected in some races and some years doing worse. The inference here? That Democrats actually are still sinking with whites and are barely just getting along by turning out minorities.

3. Who is to say we’ve hit rock bottom among whites in Texas? In the panhandle, there are still places where we get 25% to 30% of the vote, whereas in other demographically similar places of that region we get 15% or less. We could be looking at further, and prolonged, decreases over the next 20 years there until we reach that 15% (which is probably a legitimate - and absurdly low - floor). The same can be said of East Texas, where there are still places that local Democrats can pull at 40% or better among whites, but that national Democrats - and even Democrats from other regions of the state in statewide elections - can’t reach 30%. And there are other places, again with the same demographic profile schtick, in East Texas that even local Democrats can no longer reach 30%. The same prolonged decreases that I think will happen in the Panhandle should happen here as well, with a similar 15% to 20% floor among whites.

4. Hispanic voting tendencies in Texas are idiosyncratic. Republican can actually win Texas Hispanics in certain areas and depending on the national and local conditions that they’re running in. Given this tendency to act relatively independent from their national brethren, it isn’t out of the question that Texas Republicans are making gains among Hispanics, complicating even further the points 1 and 2 in this section. Adding a little bit of local color to this, the D.C. court in their denial of preclearance in Texas v. Holder actually noted that the majority Hispanic State House District #117 in San Antonio’s western and southern areas was actually trending Republican as well as the Hispanic district based in Atascosa County to the south of San Antonio, both of which elected Hispanic Republican representatives in 2010 (this is complicated by turnout in that election, and the court still held that there was retrogression in both of the redrawn districts, but that doesn’t counter the fact that the districts are trending Republican slowly).

5. There is a profound implication to the idea that certain areas of Hispanics may be trending Republican in that the Voting Rights Act would no longer require that Hispanic majority districts be drawn in those areas because there would be no candidate of choice by definition for that minority in that area. That would allow Republican to retrogress those districts to the point that they could no longer elect Democrats, cementing their hold further on the State House (the State Senate, by virtue of being so small, really isn’t amenable to these kinds of discussions) and the levers of power appurtenant to it.

6. Democratic turnout ability is severely limited in the state for a bunch of reasons that I think are quite obvious, but should be repeated anyway: 

A) The democratic base in the state consists of minorities, which are notoriously low turnout groups. This is actually becoming more and more of a problem as time goes on given that the Democratic Party relies less and less on African Americans (and the white Demosaurs that are becoming and endangered species and, frankly, are extinct most places) and more and more on Hispanics due to the demographic realities of the state. On a side note, African Americans, after you account for socioeconomic characteristics, actually turn out at rates superior to that of whites. The problem is that most of them are lower middle class and poor, so their turnout rates are still dismal. Moving back to Hispanics, the fact that Democrats have to rely on their turnout rates to win means that we’re actually just running in place. Even as demographics would appear to presage a Democratic takeover of the state, it takes more and more effort to increase turnout from a lower and lower starting point. And this is really hard to do considering that we...

B) have no money. National Democrats have long since abandoned the state and refused to help the state party at any and all efforts to party build while still relying on in-state Democrats - mostly trial lawyers - to fund national candidates. So not only are they ignoring us, but they’re draining our potential pool of donors. 

C) We rely on turning up good margins among white liberals in Austin (and make no mistake about it, they only exist in large numbers in Austin and only because of UT and Texas State). That’s great and all, but there aren’t very many of them and they certainly aren’t sufficient to win statewide. At other universities in Texas, the student bodies are actually quite conservative. Consider Baylor, or Texas Christian, or Mary Harden Baylor, or Texas Tech, or those damned Aggies over in College Station. My alma mater, UTSA, is notoriously libertarian. We just aren’t winning the college vote in Texas like we do elsewhere. And remember that turnout problems exist here as well because this cohort is young.

D) Repeated Republican attempts at voter ID or other measures designed to suppress Democratic demographics will eventually pay dividends for them and only serve to prolong the Republican trend in Texas. This point is so exhaustively covered in the media and on DKE generally that I won’t bother repeating the rote talking points about it another time.

7. The bench of qualified Democratic candidates is very thin, narrow, shallow, and simply a bad fit for statewide office. We have a single candidate now that can launch statewide and have any hope for winning, and she’s likely to lose her reelection bid this year: Wendy Davis. Other highly touted candidates - such as either of the Castro brothers, Kirk Watson, Annise Parker, among others - all have huge debilitating characteristics that would antagonize the last remaining white conservative Democrats that they’d need to get that last few percent in order to win. The Castros are Hispanic, Kirk Watson is from the liberal-bastion of blue in the sea of conservative reactionary Republican red, and Annise Parker is an uncharismatic lesbian that I - as a gay man, ofcourse - hugely admire. They’re just all wrong for Texas and would only serve to worsen the position of the state party. Wendy Davis, on the other hand, clokes moderate to liberal policies in the veil of a moderate to conservative up-by-the-bootstraps life story  and in very entrancing imagery and rhetoric. But even she can only hope to win if she runs against reviled secessionist and 2016 Presidential hopeful Governor Rick Perry. She’d get demolished by anyone else if Perry eschewed another run in 2014, and even then she’s at best 50-50 and probably not even that if Obama wins reelection given that it’d be his second midterm (which is usually worse than the first midterm).

8. The final point about whites is meant to casually combat the point that I see alot of people anecdotally making: that domestic in-movers must be liberal because they’re coming from places like California, Ohio, Minnesota, and Oregon. Just because they’re from a blue state does not mean they’re from blue areas of that state, let alone blue themselves. In fact, my personal opinion of this is that we’re attracting conservative people fed up with their state governments (or economies) that have been run by unions and/or Democrats for decades and are moving to the ultimate right-to-work state to be rid of it all. And, in fact, this would make a bit of intuitive sense in another way as well: all these other states that we’re attracting people from have blue trends. Part of that blue trend, ofcourse, is demographics. The typical way that is understood is that minority groups are growing. But it could also be understood in another way: that whites are either not growing or outright leaving. I.E. whites leaving to Texas may actually be partially driving those blue trends. This would actually make a fair bit of sense in California, where for the first time in a generation the state failed to gain a seat in the U.S. House during reapportionment. This also just makes sense in the Rust Belt states as well. Ohio lost seats due to commonly reported white flight from the state and Minnesota came so close that even any-level-of-government nemesis and wacko Michele Bachmann was forced to advocate for her conspiracy minded anti-government constituents to fill out a census form so that she could keep her job.


It just isn’t the case that Texas is getting bluer at the moment. Ofcourse past isn’t prologue, and I’ll be the first to tell you that one day, some day, hopefully sooner rather than later, Texas will vote for a Democratic candidate for President. But that day, as bright and talented as Julian Castro is, is not going to come because of some highly touted Hispanic savior or because of demographics alone. In fact, even demographics - as I’ve shown above - are working in some complicated and nuanced ways against us in the state. For the time being I’d expect Republican performance to increase a bit more and reach a zenith of about R+12 in 2016 - especially, or even higher, if Democrats nominate my personal favorite in Hillary Clinton - before receding in 2020 to a more workable R+9, and R+7 in 2024. It won’t be until then, or even until 2028, that minorities will make up a majority of the voting public in Texas. And even then, if whites sink even further away from Democrats, they’ll have to rely on a better anchor among minorities than they’re currently getting to make it competitive. In other words, whites will be going for Republicans at a higher rate the minorities will be for Democrats. Taken even further, this means that Democrats will simply not be competitive in this state until minorities make up at least 55% of the voting pool and maybe even 60% depending on how well Republican are able to compete with Hispanics at that point - which is extremely far down the line. You just never know. And do remember that they are poised to elect Ted Cruz to the U.S. Senate, a public relations coup (even despite his severe and disgusting conservatism) the likes of which the Democrats will never be able to bank on and that Republicans are extremely lucky to have.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (26+ / 0-)

    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 Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 02:18:21 AM PDT

  •  You make some valid points. (0+ / 0-)

    I guess we will see in the coming years.

    Farm boy who hit the city to go to college, WI-03 (home, voting), WI-02 (college), -7.88, -4.26, I finally get a chance to do something my parents have done for years- vote against Tommy Thompson!! Tammy Baldwin for US Senate!!!!!

    by WisJohn on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 05:41:43 AM PDT

  •  Thank You (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Woody, Xenocrypt, nimh

    There has been an almost constant refrain of Texas moving blue, and perhaps becoming a Safe Democratic state by 2020 and thereby dooming the Republican party here which has been based on nothing but wishful thinking. Actual election results show a deterioration, not a surge in Democratic support.

    There are exceptions of course - Dallas and Houston for instance, but Harris and Dallas are not really growing while the suburban counties are, and the problem for the Democrats is the relative trend..

    The other problem is the polarization. Texas is now worse than any state I have seen in terms of the complete vanishing of ticket splitting. Too many offices, and too little money means there is almost no variation in performance, and whatever the Democratic level is that year 43.5%, 42%, will not differ by more than a point or so. Its all fine for people to play with changing exit poll numbers, but the fact is they really don't move at all in Texas and there really aren't any swing voters.

    This means the GOP can redistrict themselves a ton of McCain 55% seats in the knowledge that they will be 100% safe. Without VRA they could draw a 29-7 map.

    •  You make good points (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      but I still find it notable that Obama managed to win Harris (Houston) and Dallas counties, something not even Clinton could do.  The problem as you point out is in the suburbs which are growing faster, but Obama also improved markedly over Kerry in those counties as well, particularly in the Dallas metropolitan area (Tarrant, Denton, and Collin Counties).

      What's really killing us in Texas are the rural Dixiecrat areas, counties that Clinton crushed Dole in but Obama lost in landslides, even performing worse than Kerry.  The cities and demographics are working in our favor, but the rural areas have shifted so massively against us (and continue to do so) as to negate these gains over the past couple decades.  Once we start hitting the floor among those rural voters, then I think we will start seeing real improvement in Texas.

      Texas will eventually become competitive again, but it won't be for awhile.  And who knows, maybe by then the Republican Party will actually ditch the xenophobic wing of the party and start performing respectably among Latinos.

  •  You're right, from a cold statistical point. (0+ / 0-)

    I agree that new arrivals in the state are not necessarily less conservative than the center of gravity in Texas.
    However, I think you'll see a major shift in Texas, and, if the Dems play their cards right, it will be in a blue direction.
    Since this is DKE I won't belabor the points.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 06:23:38 AM PDT

  •  Excellent points, I'd look at the data differently (5+ / 0-)

    I suggest that McGovern was the first recent aberration, that his positions on Vietnam played particularly poorly in '72. With that in mind, I think Carter's performance can be considered a return to a "post-war" mean.

    With that in mind, Texas is a state that moved with much of the south towards Rs with Reagan. With that in mind, Bentsen as the VP candidate ('88) was a slight but noticeable break in the trend towards Rs.

    Note the PVI stability in the last 4 Presidential elections. Note that TX didn't move with states like AR and LA between '04 and '08. Given the move of the white vote towards Rs in places like LA and MS, it's notable that the white vote in TX, at least in '08 (per exit polls, if they're to be believed) is more D than in GA. (and at least per the exit polls, there was no dropoff in the white vote between '04 and '08)

    If there is a long term trend towards Ds in TX, after such a dropoff, I suggest that it would start with relative stability in PVI as seen, and see some relative move towards Ds starting this election (i.e. a post '12 PVI of R+7 or R+8).

    But there's a limit too -- the interests of TX, with its emotional and economic ties to the oil industry, might be closer to that of WV than we think.

    I do hope that bjssp reads your diary.

  •  I appreciate that you mentioned some complicating (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ramesh, bumiputera

    factors that tend to be overlooked.  Many people discuss Texas as if everything was constant except for new Hispanic arrivals.  But people move in and out within the country as well.

    27, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

    by Xenocrypt on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 07:26:50 AM PDT

  •  i tend to agree with wmayes here (0+ / 0-)

    I'm a democrat and a liberal but I am suspicious of the state of Texas in the sense that the democrats don't really have a natural base of support.

    One good barometer of the the trend of a state is to look at its white population from 2000 to 2010

    DC +31.6%
    Utah +16.7%
    Idaho +15.5%
    Arizona +12.9%
    Nevada +12.2%
    South Carolina +11.7%
    Hawaii +11.6%
    Wyoming +10.3%
    North Carolina +10.2%
    Colorado +9.9%
    Montana +7.5%
    Alaska +7.4%
    Tennessee +6.5%
    Georgia +5.6%
    Oregon +5.2%
    Washington +4.8%
    Virginia +4.4%
    Texas +4.2%
    Florida +4.1%
    Kentucky +3.8%
    South Dakota +3.7%
    Arkansas +3.5%
    Missouri +3.5%
    New Hampshire +3.4%
    Delaware +3.3%
    Alabama +2.5%
    New Mexico +2.5%
    Maine +2.0%
    Minnesota +1.6%
    North Dakota +1.5%
    Indiana +1.3%
    Wisconsin +1.2%
    West Virginia +1.0%
    Vermont +0.8%
    Oklahoma +0.7%
    Nebraska +0.4%
    Kansas -0.2%
    Iowa -0.3%
    Mississippi -0.3%
    Ohio -1.9%
    Louisiana -2.1%
    Pennsylvania -2.2%
    Illinois -3.0%
    Michigan -3.0%
    Connecticut -3.5%
    Maryland -3.9%
    New York -3.9%
    Massachusetts -4.1%
    California -5.4%
    New Jersey -6.2%
    Rhode Island -6.4%

    having a loss of white population doesn't automatically make you blue and gaining whites doesn't make you red but there is a correlation.

    RRH expat (known as AquarianLeft). Also known as freepcrusher on leip atlas forum

    by demographicarmageddon on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 10:31:14 AM PDT

    •  Population growth must be considered in context (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chachy, nimh

      The white population growth rate is entirely irrelevant without considering that growth rate in comparison to the growth of other population groups.

      Texas's African American population growth alone basically cancels out the electoral impact of the White population growth (even assuming that the new Whites are as heavily Republican as the old whites).

      That's without even taking into account the Asian population growth or the Hispanic population growth.

      •  Yeah. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sacman701, Woody

        States with white populations growing faster than Texas's include Nevada, Colorado, North Carolina and Virginia - all of which are good comps in that they have even faster-growing minority populations. And of course all four of them have a distinct Democratic trend.

  •  Disagree - You can't look at events in isolation (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bumiputera, Chachy, Inoljt, sacman701, nimh

    I appreciate the diary, but I think that you are quite incorrect.

    It seems to me that your analysis is primarily event-focused (e.g. the impact of desegregating the military). Events are important, but you should not look at them in isolation, without considering the impact of demographics and change in the makeup of the electorate. Texas has experienced lots of demographic change (of different varieties) since the days when it was D+20.

    And as for the days when TX was D+20, you make no mention whatsoever of the impact of Jim Crow, which inflate the numbers. Remember, the electorates were not exactly a fair representation of the populations at the time. Yes, in 1932 FDR won 88% of the vote in TX. He also won 98% of the vote in South Carolina... There's a reason for that, and it ain't pretty...

    Now, back to those demographic changes. Of course, all of these things have been happening throughout time, but generally we can divide post-WW2 demographic change into 3 phases:

    1) 1950-1990 - As you well know, after WW2, Texas's suburbs exploded with white Republican northern population growth (migration to the sunbelt).

    2) 1990-Mid 2000s - Rural white Democratic support collapsed. Rural whites re-alligned en masse in a short period of time to the GOP, joining in a coalition with the suburban whites Republicans, and the GOP took over the state.

    3) Mid 2000s onwards - You know the story here.

    Now, you ask: "who is to say we’ve hit rock bottom among whites in Texas?"

    I am. :)

    OK, strictly speaking, the GOP may well make some slight further gains among whites. But they will be marginal at best, and certainly not enough to offset the Democratic gains among minority voters.

    You argue that "In the panhandle, there are still places where we get 25% to 30% of the vote."

    I say: OK, there is Foard County, where Obama somehow managed 37% of the vote. But how many people is that? The population is not much more than 1000. So let's say that . Give me actual concrete examples of these places in West Texas where Democrats are legitimately getting, and which are not a trivially small number of people. And no, Lubbock does not count for obvious reasons. Further, be sure that the examples you find me are not in reality a reflection of Hispanic voting rather than white voting (many panhandle counties now have large Hispanic populations).

    You argue that in East Texas, "The same prolonged decreases that I think will happen in the Panhandle should happen here as well, with a similar 15% to 20% floor among whites."

    I say: You have an incorrectly optimistic view of current white support for Democrats in East Texas. We are ALREADY at that 15%-20% range. Look at the numbers.

    So, in rural Texas, Democrats clearly get very very little support among white voters. Could the GOP maybe gain a percentage point or two more among rural white voters? Sure. But is there any way that this could possibly result in a GOP trend? You would have to be out of your mind to honestly think that.

    The only way that TX could conceivably trend GOP on the basis of white voters (or even not trend D) would be if the GOP made gains among urban/suburban whites in Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. I can't imagine that you would want to argue that that is going to happen to any meaningful extent.

    You argue that "Hispanic voting tendencies in Texas are idiosyncratic. Republican can actually win Texas Hispanics in certain areas and depending on the national and local conditions that they’re running in... Adding a little bit of local color to this, the D.C. court in their denial of preclearance in Texas v. Holder actually noted that the majority Hispanic State House District #117 in San Antonio’s western and southern areas was actually trending Republican as well as the Hispanic district based in Atascosa County..."

    I say: This is vastly overstated. There are not really any/many areas in Texas where Hispanics vote Republican. In all or almost all cases, in reality it is the white neighbors of Hispanics who vote Republican, making it appear that there are Hispanics who are Republican.

    Let's take the example of Atascosa County. This county is is 62% Hispanic, yet voted for McCain over Obama by about 55%-45%. How could such a thing happen?

    Well, what happened is that SSVR is only 53% in Atascosa County, and although Atascosa County has a population of 55,000, only 10,000 votes were cast in the 2008 election (another important factor is that there is essentially 0 African American population, so essentially all Democratic votes have to come from Hispanics and from the small number of white Democrats). So what happened is that white voters voted for McCain by about 4 to 1, while Hispanic voters voted at about 2 to 1 for Obama. That gives you a 10 point McCain victory in a 2/3 Hispanic County, despite Obama handily winning Hispanics. The reason for this is that Hispanic share of the electorate is below the Hispanic population share, and that whites are more heavily Republican than Hispanics. It is the same exact story basically everywhere else in Texas where Republicans claim to win Hispanics.

    Also, that Atascosa County is trending GOP (if true - I haven't checked at what sort of evidence supposedly backs up that idea) does not indicate anything in particular about Hispanics. The Hispanic population share has barely increased there since 2000 (from 59.6% to 61.9%). Since Atascosa County is in the exurbs of San Antonio, it has also had white exurban population growth - and exurban whites are obviously a very good demographic for the GOP. Obviously there is also Hispanic population growth, but the new Hispanics do not vote at the same sorts of rates as the new exurban whites. Further more, it is extremely plausible that any GOP trend could be attributable to WHITES in Atascosa County who have lived there for years becoming more Republican - in exactly the same way that rural/exurban whites everywhere else in TX have become more Republican!

    You argue that "It just isn’t the case that Texas is getting bluer at the moment."

    I say: I bet you $10,000 that after the 2012 election results come in, TX has an improved PVI, or at the very least the PVI does not become more GOP. :)

    •  ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The historical section was not really the meat of my diary and I know that you know that. I didn't mention Jim Crow precisely because, well, it was irrelevant to the actual electoral results of that time period (20s until the 60s). The change from the 40s to 50s had nothing to do with that.

      As for your other points I'll have to read those after class and respond tonight.

      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 Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 11:49:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Jim Crow is absolutely a big part of it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The turnout rate in TX was 28.2% in 1948.

        In 1952, it went up to 43.5%.

        That is not unrelated to a change in African American voting, and is not unrelated to a change in TX's PVI from D+20 to D+2 from 1948 to 1952.

        Remember, e.g. until 1944 the "White Primary" was a fact of life in TX.

        Not all changes with regards to voting rights happened at once in the 1960s.

    •  Ok I haven't processed your whole argument either (0+ / 0-)


      The only way that TX could conceivably trend GOP on the basis of white voters (or even not trend D) would be if the GOP made gains among urban/suburban whites in Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. I can't imagine that you would want to argue that that is going to happen to any meaningful extent.
      Actually, I think that could happen to a meaningful extent, especially depending on how broadly you define "urban/suburban".  Obama gained 4.6 points on John Kerry, and in Texas, they lost the Bush home state effect as well.  So he really "should" gain more than 5 points throughout TX, all else being equal.

      Let's look at Obama-Kerry by current CD.  Obama gained 5 points or less on Kerry in Texas districts 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 22, 25.  At least several of these are arguably in the area you describe, even leaving out safe D districts that might not have much room to swing, such as TX-02, TX-05, TX-07, TX-12, TX-14, and TX-22.

      But it will certainly be interesting to see what happens this fall.  I'm open to the idea that Texas will trend D somewhat, but I'm frankly amazed how many people say it with such certainty without, as far as I know, any electoral evidence at all.

      27, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 12:25:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just consider what it would mean (0+ / 0-)

        for republican vote share to increase among whites based on urban/suburban voters. That would mean new urban/suburban white voters giving more than 75% of their vote to republicans. And that's including Austin, too. What are the chances of that happening?

      •  Vote by CD (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Vote by CD is really not a good way to look at it. Most of the GOP districts mix urban/suburban areas (with large population growth where Obama made gains) and rural areas (with little population growth where Obama did not make gains). You have to look at those different components of the districts separately, and in many cases population growth in the suburban areas is large enough that you have to take that account even for just the change in a 4 year period! (from 2004 to 2008).

        In most districts in TX there are multiple different trends in different parts of the district going in different directions. Because the districts are gerrymandered to combine areas with very different sorts of politics, you have to separate the sub-regions of each district in order to meaningfully analyze the Kerry-Obama trends. For example, TX-22 contains large parts of Fort Bend County where Obama made gains due to minority population growth, but he didn't make the same sorts of gains in TX-22's part of Galveston County because population growth there has been primarily white (and the impact of the Hurricane). As another example, even though Obama made large gains in Denton County over Kerry, he made a lower than average gain over Kerry in TX-26. The reason for this is that TX-26 included a very heavily Democratic part of Fort Worth which has had little population growth. Since Denton County had a LOT of population growth, its vote share in TX-26 went up from 2004 to 2008. So even though Denton County swung heavily to Obama, and even though the Fort Worth section of the district was heavily Democratic, the fact that Denton County's vote share increased meant that the district as a whole did not swing by much to Obama.

        So it is better to look at results by county or better yet by precinct, being mindful of the specific demographic change/population growth, which is different in different areas.

  •  Great diary, lots of good stuff here! (5+ / 0-)

    Now I am going to proceed to disagree with most of it.

    Before I go on, you might want to check here for my overall take on TX voting trends.

    Now to take your points in order:

    Regarding your first historical note: Agree that Texas has been on a long-term trend, though I think it bottomed out with the Bush elections. Obama, as you note, did worse than Kerry in a PVI sense. But a) he did much better in an absolute sense, and if (like me) you think the country as a whole is trending Dem at the presidential level, it's possible for Texas to trend R from one election to the next in terms of PVI, yet trend D in terms of straight propensity to vote Democratic, at least in principle. Having said that, though, I think the trend from Kerry to Obama was essentially flat; whatever movement there was was marginal. Also b) Obama was a pretty poor candidate for Texas, just as he was for every other southern state that had less than about a 20% African American population. I think Clinton would have done better.

    Regarding your "complicating factors":

    1. These points are true, but the increased polarization of the white vote does not entail that the white vote hasn't become more heterogeneous. I wouldn't be surprised, in fact, if the declining Dem share of rural whites has been partially offset by an increasing performance among some urban whites - albeit not enough to entirely make up the difference.

    2. If the white Dem share is indeed bottoming out (about which: see below), then any increase in minority vote share will increase overall Dem performance. What's more, the minority vote going forward will be increasing at an accelerating rate. This is because the minority vote skews young, and with each passing year more of them age into voting eligibility.

    But there's another factor which enhances this effect, namely: the over-18 Hispanic population has much lower citizenship rates than the under-18s. For instance, according to this, the citizenship rate for over-18 Hispanics is 47% in Houston, whereas it's 87% for under-18s. Statewide, 92% of under-18 Hispanics are citizens.

    What this means is that a very large portion of the demographic change in Texas hasn't been factored in to the electorate - even more than you would think just by looking at the age demographics alone, or the citizenship rates alone. So, though a lot of this change hasn't happened yet, it is imminent, and will begin to accelerate especially as we approach the end of this decade.

    3. I think we are, at least, very close to rock bottom with whites. If you look at west Texas, the ancestrally Dem region between Wichita Falls and Abilene still gives somewhat non-embarrassing vote shares to Democrats. But the population of this region is trivial. Elsewhere in the ancestrally republican parts of west Texas, from the Panhandle to the Hill Country, Dems really can't go much lower: they get Alabama-style 10% of the white vote out there.

    As I mention in my diary linked at the top of this comment, I do think Dems have a bit farther to fall in East Texas, which I would define as everything east of I-35 and north of I-10, and outside of the Houston and DFW metros.

    But let's put that in context. One way to think of Texas political geography is as comprised of four regions: the Border counties (about 2.5 million people); West Texas (2.5 million people); East Texas (3 million people); and the Texas Triangle, i.e., Houston/DFW/Austin/San Antonio (about 18 million people). So I am conceding that there may be some loss of Dem performance among whites in East Texas, but that's such a small population compared to the cities. Harris County alone has 4 million people. And I think it's reasonable to expect the white populations in the cities to grow more Dem-friendly, given the ways the economies are evolving in those cities, at least quickly enough to compensate for the decline in East Texas.

    4. Is there any evidence at all that TX Hispanics have been growing more amenable to Republicans? If so, I haven't seen it. Certainly Bush made significant inroads, as he seemed to do with Hispanics across the country. But then they reverted right back to their historical norm of about 60-65% performance for Dems with Obama and Bill White and other statewide elections.

    It seems possible that there will be cases where, e.g., individual state house districts that are majority-Hispanic will trend R, just because the Hispanic population is very large and doesn't vote monolithically like the African American population. But no exit polls I've seen point towards a slide in Dem performance among Hispanics (nor do election results in heavily Hispanic counties).

    That is not to say that this won't change. It seems possible to me that Hispanics will drift slightly towards republicans over the course of the next decade as the population becomes increasingly integrated. On the other hand, it seems at least as likely that they'll move more solidly into the Democratic column, given the increasingly nativist, Tea Party-infused sensibilities of the current GOP. We'll just have to see what happens.

    5. Again, I'd like to see more evidence of this. From everything I've seen of actual election results, especially in the border region but also in urban Houston and elsewhere, Hispanics remain a solidly Democratic constituency, and the only things keeping the political effect of this muted are low CVAP and low turnout rates.

    6 (a). Democrats are relying less on African Americans - but only because their overall base of support is growing. In fact, the AA percentage of Texas population is actually getting larger, which is sort of remarkable considering that Hispanic growth ought to make that hard to do. So consider that the presidential electorate in TX in 2008 was 63% white and 13% black. By 2024 (again, according to my diary) this ought to be more like 50% white but still 13% black. One way to think of this is that the black vote will "cancel out" an increasing share of the white vote with each passing election.

    The growing black population in Texas is an important demographic variable that shouldn't be overlooked.

    (b). Yes, this is an institutional problem. But I would hope and expect that the national party would invest in Texas if and when it does start becoming competitive. (Though really they ought to be laying the groundwork for that now.)

    (c). White liberals. As I've alluded to above, I think there is room for growth here. For one thing, there are white liberals in Austin not "only because of UT and Texas State," but because of changes in the nature of the economy, especially an increase in high-tech. That's most true of Austin, but it's increasingly true of DFW too, and maybe Houston to a lesser extent. I'm not too familiar with Dallas, but Houston at least does have an Anglo Dem region of about 150-200,000 people which will probably continue to grow. I suspect something similar is true of Dallas.

    It's also true that Texas college towns are inordinately conservative. But Obama, at least, made some inroads in College Station and Lubbock, and if Dems can continue to increase performance among young voters then this is a very low floor from which we can grow.

    Also: I have heard Ruy Teixeira mention in passing that the suburbs in Houston and DFW are starting to shift a bit Demwards in terms of white people's voting habits. I haven't been able to track down any more extended comments from him about this, but it's an intriguing remark.

    (d). Yeah, maybe. But so far at least, none of these Republican voter ID laws have had really large effects, and the worst of them (including Texas' own) have been blocked in the courts. This isn't a problem to which Texas is especially prone, compared to other states.

    7. The bench may be thin now, but that's a short-term problem, and no one is really claiming Democrats will really be competitive until the '20s anyway (no one realistic, at any rate). You never know if the next mayor of Houston or Dallas or Fort Worth might be a wunderkind - or whether the next Wendy Davis might show up in the state senate, for that matter.

    But also, I hardly think being a Hispanic is disqualifying for statewide office in Texas. Ted Cruz's republican primary electorate would certainly beg to differ. And (though I'm having trouble finding old exit poll data right now) I recall Tony Sanchez getting about 30% of the white vote in 2002, and it's not like he had preternatural political skills.

    8. I don't assume any significant net effect from in-migration. But I do think it might help, and at any rate it certainly can't hurt. First of all, it's worth noting that in-migrators are themselves disproportionately minorities, and that is part of what's helping minority growth in the state (especially growth in the black population). But as for white in-migrators, so long as they vote less than 3-1 for republicans, their effect will be to increase the Dem share of the white vote. Personally I think it's reasonable to suppose they're close to the national average, and vote about 40% for Democrats - especially considering they're coming from states like California and Illinois.

    I've heard this argument before that the people moving to Texas are doing so (at least in part) because they're fleeing liberal policies in blue states - Orange County republican refugees or some such. I find this argument pretty implausible. For one thing, like I say, domestic in-migrators to TX are disproportionately minorities, so I very much doubt this scenario applies to them. But more to the point: does anyone actually do this - decide where to live based on the state-level political scene? People decide where to live based on where they can get a job. The low cost of living, and especially housing, in a place like Texas may be a factor. And, very much as a secondary concern perhaps, people might re-locate based on their feelings about the culture of a place. But I just find it implausible that large numbers of people are moving to Texas because the unions are weaker there.

    Conclusion: I just don't see Dem performance sliding any farther than it already has. 2016 might see a bit of slippage due to lower enthusiasm and vote share among blacks (a problem we may face all over the country). Or the increasing Hispanic vote share might cancel that out. Or Hillary might be able to outperform Obama among conservadems and run up the score with Hispanics (both reasonable possibilities) and accelerate the Dem trend.

    Extrapolating from my diary, I think a reasonable expectation is that the 2024 electorate will be 50% Anglo, 29% Hispanic, 14% black, and 7% other. That is with some fairly conservative assumptions. If the Dem gets 27% of the white vote, 63% of the hispanic vote, 90% of the black vote, and 60% of the other vote, the election will end up 51.4-48.6 for the republican. If we push these numbers to 2028 we might expect an electorate that is 44/34/14/8 (white/hispanic/black/other). Given the same vote share assumptions, the result would be a Dem victory by 50.7-49.3. It looks like you would still expect the Republican to win by about 10 points in 2028. I would like to know, then, where you think my numbers are off. Do you think Texas whites will be voting like Mississippi whites by then? Do you really think Hispanics are going to vote increasingly Republican? What would be your concrete prediction for the composition and vote shares of the 2028 electorate?

    And more generally: what made you turn so pessimistic? Not long ago you were expecting Democrats to take over the state house by 2024, which was more optimistic than I was. What changed?

    •  Great comment and great diary (0+ / 0-)

      I pretty much agree with everything Cachy said. Contrary to the polyanna's Texas probably won't be competitive until into the 2020s. Contrary to the (well written and reasoned) points made in this diary, Texas will necessarily be competitive by the end of the 2030s so long as Republicans do not actually succeed in reversing their decades-long record of poor performance among hispanics. Texas is a fascinating state.

      26, originally OK-1, currently NY-10. Former swingnut.

      by okiedem on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 02:35:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  On Texas whites: (0+ / 0-)

      I think that Texas whites voting like Mississippi whites is more plausible than you think. I, mean, who in 1990 would have predicted Mississippi whites going 90% Republican less than two decades later? Who in 1990 would have predicted Texas whites going 74% Republican?

      What happens if you decrease the Democratic vote amongst whites to 20%, or even 15%? If it goes down to 20%, then Democrats end up with 47.6% of the vote in 2028. If it goes down to 15%, then Democrats end up with 45.2% of the vote in 2028 - and we're back where we started.

      by Inoljt on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 03:09:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Texas is vastly, vastly more urban (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MattTX, KingofSpades, nimh

        and cosmopolitan than Mississippi. You think Democrats might win only 15-20% of the white vote in a state where three-quarters of the population lives in a top-35 metro? And half the population lives in a top-5 metro? Not a chance.

        As for this:

        I, mean, who in 1990 would have predicted Mississippi whites going 90% Republican less than two decades later? Who in 1990 would have predicted Texas whites going 74% Republican?
        Well, Clinton only got 22% of whites in MS in 1992, and 27% in TX, albeit with a lot of votes going to Perot. But it goes to show that the great realignment of southern ways to the republicans had largely been accomplished by the 90s.

        Or take the TX senate races in '94 and '96: the Dem candidate got 27 and 30 percent of whites in those races respectively. And that's just about where Dems have been in statewide races ever since.

      •  The difference between TX and MS Whites (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        MS Whites are basically all rural. MS does not have any really major cities. It has Jackson, but Jackson is not than Corpus Christi. Basically all white voters in MS are rural/small town white voters.

        What MS doesn't have is large Metropolises. There is simply no equivalent to Dallas/Houston/Austin. And that is why TX white voters will not vote like MS white voters.

        The thing is, rural/small town white voters in TX don't vote all that differently from rural/small town white voters in MS (maybe a couple points more Democratic, but not much more than that).

        That is simply something that MS doesn't have, because it does not really have urban/suburban white voters in the first place.

        So if white voters OVERALL in TX were to vote like white voters in TX, this would require the GOP to do just as well with white voters in places like Dallas and Houston as they already do with white voters in places like the Panhandle and East Texas.

        The problem with that is that it would require the GOP to win over genuine liberal Democratic base voters. We're not talking about rural Consevadems.

      •  TX is not MS (0+ / 0-)

        MS has no post-industrial, white-collar metro areas that tend to attract (or retain) white Dems. TX has Austin, which is nearly as big a containment area for white Dems as the triangle area of NC. Dallas and Houston also seem to be headed in that direction on a smaller scale. East Texas is a good comp for Mississippi. Texas as a whole is not.

        SSP poster. 43, new CA-6, -0.25/-3.90

        by sacman701 on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 03:54:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Some quick back of the envelope (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:


        If you give the Democrat 50% of the white vote in Travis County (Austin), and 33% in Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, and Bexar counties, then Dems would only need to win about 22% of the white vote in all other counties combined to hit 27% statewide, which is about what they've averaged in recent statewide elections.

        That's 22% in all other counties, including urban counties like El Paso, and big and blue-trending (if still red) suburban counties like Williamson, Collin, Denton, Fort Bend, etc. I don't see that number going much lower. (Consider that Obama got 29% of the white vote in Oklahoma.) On the other hand, it's not hard to imagine the numbers in the 5 big urban counties going higher.

        •  Obama White performance by County (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Chachy, okiedem, Inoljt, MichaelNY

          I have looked at this a lot, and I'm pretty sure these are approximately the shares of the white vote that Obama got in 2008 in the counties you mention (ignoring 3rd party votes):

          Travis: 55% White voters for Obama
          Harris: 25% White voters for Obama
          Dallas: 35% White voters for Obama
          Tarrant: 25% White voters for Obama
          Bexar: 30% White voters for Obama

          Williamson: 35% White voters for Obama
          Collin: 25% White voters for Obama
          Denton: 25% White voters for Obama
          Fort Bend: 15% White voters for Obama

          And then there are places like Midland County, where Obama got (less than???!!!) 10% of the white vote...

          Also, I think Obama's statewide Hispanic vote share was really more like 70% rather than 65%, and I think his white vote share was a point or two lower than exit polls say.

          •  interesting (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            How did you work that out?

            Harris looks a little low to me, though not inconceivable I guess.

            •  Methodology & Harris County Details (6+ / 0-)

              I worked it out partly through actually running analysis to see what is statistically the best fit, but also cross checking that with common sense, the precinct results, Spanish Surname voter registration, and VAP percentages.

              In the case of Harris County, White voters are clearly more Dem in some areas than others. They are split something like 45D/55R within the inner loop (610), with some more D areas like Montrose and the Heights but also more R areas like River Oak/West University Place/. But that is counterbalanced by the suburbs/exurbs (the Northwest, The Northeast, and the Southeast). In those areas, whites generally probably voted about 20% Obama (and in some precincts less than that - it can't have been otherwise given that you can find a number of <20% Obama precincts). Overall I think it comes out to about 25% when you combine everything together. It's possible that white voters in Harris County might be a point or two more (or, frankly, less) Democratic than 25%, but I have a hard time seeing how the numbers would get as high as 30%.

              Overall in Harris County I would estimate that the electorate was approximately:

              55%-56% White: (voting 74%-76% McCain over 24%-26% Obama)
              20%-21% Black: (voting 98% Obama over 2% McCain)
              18% Hispanic [SSVR is 18.8% in Dave's Redistricting App]: (voting 67%-75% Obama over 33%-25% McCain)
              5% Asian: (voting 50%-70% Obama over 30%-50% McCain)
              1% Other: (voting 50%-70% Obama over 30%-50% McCain)

              If you do the math, you get something very close to Obama's actual 1.5% win.

              For Obama to have done better than about 25% among whites in Harris County, he would either have to have performed implausibly poorly among minorities or minority turnout would have to have been implausibly low.

              •  Wow great stuff! (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                26, originally OK-1, currently NY-10. Former swingnut.

                by okiedem on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 12:26:48 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I actually think your hispanic numbers are (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                probably too high. I'll try to look at this more later but from what I can tell hispanic turnout in Houston is very very low due to the fact that the population is disproportionately non-citizen.

                26, originally OK-1, currently NY-10. Former swingnut.

                by okiedem on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 12:43:54 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I think that your Asian numbers are too high (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                as well. Judging by the percent of the electorate they compose in exit polls (especially California) and turn-out rates amongst eligible voters (lower than Hispanics), I think that you generally divide the percent Asian overall by two to get the percent Asian in the electorate. So it would be 3% Asian, since Harris is 6% Asian.

                Anyways, fascinating stuff!


                by Inoljt on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 03:27:08 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Asian turnout (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  MichaelNY, Inoljt

                  That is a good point, and I probably didn't discount Asian turnout quite as much as I should have.

                  Asian VAP in Harris County is 6.7% though (not just 6%). The real % may more likely be 4% than the 5% that I assumed. 3% could be possible, but seems like it might be too low to me.

              •  yep that's how i calculate it (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                its best to go to precincts where a certain race is more than 75% of the population on DRA to see how they act when left to their own devices.

                RRH expat (known as AquarianLeft). Also known as freepcrusher on leip atlas forum

                by demographicarmageddon on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 11:47:53 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  My Responses to Your Points (0+ / 0-)

    In no particular order:

    1. I think it's kind of strange to look at the trends across such a long period of time. I get why you are doing it, but by doing so, you it blurs the differences between time periods and the differences in parties.

    2. I also think it's odd not to note that the state hasn't been actively contested in a few decades. Perhaps, based on little to no effort, the Republicans wouldn't see any sort of drop, because whatever gains the Democrats might have made would have been cancelled out by corresponding Republican gains. Or perhaps they would have hit a ceiling that they just couldn't get around. But if they were regularly reaching 45 percent in this state, you probably wouldn't be as down on our chances as you now seem to be.

    3. I see no reason to think the white vote will get more Republican, unless we reach a point where racial polarization is so bad that we have a distinct us versus them sentiment. But if that were to happen, wouldn't the non-white vote becoming increasingly Democratic? Why would there be a divide if all ethnic groups showed loyalty, to different degrees of course, to the Republicans?

    4. Who is to say we HAVEN'T hit rock bottom in Texas with white voters? At some point, we have to stop dropping, unless they become even more loyal to Republicans than they are now; but at that point, a drop in support might not be so bad, if it's counteracted with increases support from minorities.

    5. Which places are we getting 15 percent or less of the white vote? Specificity is key here. You live in the state and I don't, but we both can look at maps, just like anyone else. I see huge swathes of the state where few people vote, because they are just so damn small. And in many of these places, Obama in 2008 received such a small percentage of the vote that, mathematically speaking, he can't do much worse.

    6. Here's a fun little exercise. Take the ten biggest counties in the state, which as you know are, in order, Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar, Travis, El Paso, Collin, Hidalgo, Denton, and Fort Bend. Subtract Obama's 2008 vote in these counties from his statewide total, then add this total to McCain's total. Then figure what the new numbers would be.

    This is assuming that Obama received no votes--literally, none at all--in all other counties in 2008.

    If my math is correct, Obama's vote total in the ten biggest counties is 2,334,090. He received 3,528,633 overall. The difference between these two figures is 1,194,543. Added to McCain's total, this would have given him 5,673,871 votes overall, making McCain's total 70.15 percent.

    7. Let's play a similar game. If we take the vote totals from the ten biggest counties for all candidates, we get 4,527,705, compared to 8,087,402 votes overall, which means every other county in the state cast 3,559,697 votes. Let's assume Obama received 50 percent in the ten biggest counties and 25 percent in all other counties.

    If my math is correct, this would leave him with 3,153,777 votes overall, or 38.99 percent.

    What did he actually get? Well, he received an average of about 51.55 percent in the ten biggest counties and an average of about 33.55 percent everywhere else.

    8. To continue with the above exercise for a moment, assume after some sort of effort, he received 55 percent in the ten biggest counties and 35 percent in all other counties. This would leave him with 3,736,132 votes overall, or 46.19 percent.

    Assuming the cycle isn't bad and we actually try, I don't think this is an unrealistic number. It's obviously not a win, but it's much closer than we've come in quite some time. I think this shows the significant power the biggest counties hold.

    9. Your point about Democrats remaining at a constant level (2) is badly confused, I think. If I am reading you correctly, you take several logical leaps and, even worse, don't provide any context with numbers. It's obviously impossible for you to say with any certainty what the electorate will look like, you could at least try.

    In a very general sense, if the electorate is getting less white and Democrats are still winning more non-whites than Republicans, they will have to do better, even if Democrats eventually sink to zero percent of the white vote. The only way for them to do worse is, as you indicate, for Republicans to better with non-whites, but you haven't come close to proving that is the case. I'm sorry if I sound like a dick, but it seems like you are making very general relative comparisons and assuming far too much, without even trying to flesh anything out with numbers.  

    Might this happen? In some sense, it has to, or the Republicans won't ever get elected to anything after a certain point. But again, you haven't proven it is happening.

    10. I'll try to put some meat to this hypothetical with some numbers. In 2008, Obama's racial split was 26 percent of whites, 8 percent of blacks, 63 percent of Hispanics, and I'll assume 65 percent of everyone else, according to the CNN exit poll. Let's assume that Democrats do significantly worse with Hispanics and Asians, slightly worse with blacks, and have a floor of 15 percent with whites, for a split of 15/90/51/51. With the same racial composition of the electorate, which was 63/13/20/4 (that last group being Asians and all others), this would have given him 33.39 percent overall.

    But let's say the electorate changes, so that it's 55/13/26/6. If the Democratic candidate in this situation were to receive the same percentages with each group, 15/90/51/51, he or she would receive 36.27 percent. Now, obviously, that's almost a meaningless difference, since our candidate would be nowhere close to winning, but we did increase because the electorate became less white--even though we did much worse with Hispanics and Asians/others, and slightly worse with blacks, than we usually do. We are still ahead with them, and only barely ahead, but we are still doing better.

    You can play with the numbers yourself to carry this sort of example further, but I won't, only because I still have more to say.

    Again, if Republicans do increase their percentages with every group, then they will dominate, but while this is possible, you haven't shown it is happening.

    11. The document does indeed say that, but it also says this:

    These incidents illustrate Texas’s overall approach in HD 117: Texas tried to draw adistrict that would look Hispanic, but perform for Anglos.
    Am I misreading/missing something?

    12. Is this the trend for any significant part of Texas? And as you note, minority turn out is low (more on that in a second), so can we say that this is a reflection of the actual preferences of the district or a more skewed electorate?

    13. Well, sure, if Hispanics (and others) are trending Republican, then it probably doesn't really matter how the maps are drawn. But this is far from clear. Again, if we keep winning more non-whites, even by a very tiny margin, and the state keeps getting less white, this does put a crimp in their ability to draw the maps in their favor.

    14. To respond more specifically to each point about turnout:

    A. Well, sure, something has to break the cycle of poor turnout. But your comments seem to muddle two different thoughts together: the idea that turnout will consistently be poor and that it will be a problem in the same way election after election. If it is in fact consistently poor, it will hurt us, even if we do better than you think we might with non-whites. Yet even with poor turnout, the state becoming less white will help us. It's possible that turnout could get worse, I guess, but unlikely. Instead, assume that the worst case scenario is that it stays as poor as it is now.

    **I'll note here that there is a possibility of an apples/oranges comparison here, with Hispanics reporting as white. I'm not sure how much of a problem it might be, though, nor if anyone has tried to correct for it, should it actually be a problem.

    B. This indeed a problem, but it's not as if we are in some sort of unsolvable pickle. As you say, the national party basically ignores the state, while picking off its donors for races in other states. Aside from winning more elections, which would increase the number of legs on which the state party could stand, I'd recommend Texas Democrats try to take from other states. Who knows how this might be received after the initial shock wears off? But were I in a position to do anything about the problem, I'd try to establish some sort of realistic set of goals (i.e. X number of seats in the state legislature, X number of county leadership positions and mayorships, and so on) and then go begging for money to anyone that would listen, with the explicit pitch that a stronger Texas Democratic party makes it all the more likely that national Republicans suffer. Eventually, the process would be more self-sustaining.

    C. This sounds like it's more right than wrong, but is it? It's not clear. How did you reach this conclusion? It sounds like you are talking about not just college students, but all people; is that accurate?

    I get your point, though. We need to work on improving this situation or making up the deficit in some other way.

    D. Who knows how this will turn out? Eventually, though, it'll cease to be a problem, unless there are actual attempts to simply block non-whites from voting.

    By the way, despite not all non-whites having the same ID issues, why would Republicans be so damn eager to put this stuff into place if non-whites were trending Republican?

    15. This is a problem, and of course, the only solution is to win more often. (I get points for both obviousness and accuracy, don't I?) Again, who knows what this might take? Assuming we aren't close to the ceiling in friendly areas and/or the bottom in harder areas, a vote in Austin is as good as a vote in Lubbock. But that's only for statewide candidates, of course. I won't pretend to know what the specific solution is. It'll take a lot of work and resource devotion, but eventually, we'll win--unless we are consistently running candidates that are completely out of whack with the local constituencies. Are we doing that now? Are we likely to do that in the future?

    I suspect it's more an issue of resource devotion than anything else. As you noted above and as I have said multiple times, Democrats just don't try in the state in a lot of ways. We can't win unless we do. It might sound banal, but it's true.

    As for Wendy Davis, what specific problems is she up against? Was her district dramatically changed?

    16. Your last point is possible, certainly, but FAR from clear. I don't see any clear trends one way or the other here. I could be missing something, however, so please, tell me, what makes you think this?

    "The election of Mitt Romney and a supporting congress this November would be a...disaster for America. Think of the trainwreck that has been the Conservative government in Britain since 2010. And square it."--Brad DeLong

    by bjssp on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 03:52:57 PM PDT

    •  McCain won 52.7% in Wendy Davis's district (0+ / 0-)

      in 2012. Bush won 59.6% in the district in 2004. This seat has an urban core and no statewide candidate has carried the seat. Davis was elected with a plurality in 2008, the best Democratic year in a generation. I don't think she'll be around much longer...

      •  That (0+ / 0-)

        And the D.C. court in Texas v. Holder denied to grant protection to her district, so Republicans could dismantle her district even further.

        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 Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 06:11:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nothing else to say? (0+ / 0-)

          I apologize if I came across as dickish, but I can't imagine what I wrote would inspire no response at all.

          "The election of Mitt Romney and a supporting congress this November would be a...disaster for America. Think of the trainwreck that has been the Conservative government in Britain since 2010. And square it."--Brad DeLong

          by bjssp on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 10:20:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No no (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I've been really busy. I actually worked up an entire response to Matt earlier tonight, but then my computer crashed and I lost it all. I was so livid. Matt, Chachy, and you will get fully fleshed point by point responses sometime in the next week. I'll message you when I post them! :P

            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 Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 01:44:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I more your focus. (0+ / 0-)

              I need to get a lot of stuff done, but I end up here instead.

              I look forward to reading your responses.

              "The election of Mitt Romney and a supporting congress this November would be a...disaster for America. Think of the trainwreck that has been the Conservative government in Britain since 2010. And square it."--Brad DeLong

              by bjssp on Sun Sep 09, 2012 at 11:22:23 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for the information. (0+ / 0-)

        "The election of Mitt Romney and a supporting congress this November would be a...disaster for America. Think of the trainwreck that has been the Conservative government in Britain since 2010. And square it."--Brad DeLong

        by bjssp on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 10:12:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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