Quantcast
Connect with us

Democrats could flip the Texas state house in 2020 — and reshape the national map

Published

on

Blue Texas? Democrats have long dreamt of winning Texas’s 38 electoral votes in the presidential election. That may still be a long shot, but a recent “Texodus” from Congress has given new talk to a political transformation across the Lone Star State that could have massive ramifications down the ballot and for decades to come.

This article was originally posted at Salon.

ADVERTISEMENT

Four of the state’s GOP members of Congress have announced their retirements in recent weeks, an unusual torrent of departures signaling that a storm is coming. And evidence shows that it’s not just hitting Texas’s federal delegation. It’s coming to Austin, too.

For the first time in two decades, the state’s House of Representatives could flip control.

As recently as 2011, Republicans held a 101-49 supermajority in that body. But that advantage has been cut significantly in recent elections. Today, the legislature is split 83-67. That’s right: Republicans have lost 18 house seats this decade.

Six Texas state house seats flipped blue in 2016, even as Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton. Another dozen followed in 2018, as the suburbs of Dallas, Houston and Austin grew more diverse and college-educated women turned decisively against the GOP.

ADVERTISEMENT

Democrats now need only 9 more seats to win the majority. And make no mistake, they have a path to get there.

In addition to winning those 12 seats in 2018, Democrats came within single digits in another 17 districts. Beto O’Rourke actually carried nine of those districts in his U.S. Senate battle against Ted Cruz. All of them mirror the suburban seats where Democrats saw such success in 2018.

What else do these districts all have in common? Republican legislative candidates had a significant fundraising advantage in each district over their Democratic challengers, sometimes even by 20 to 1.

ADVERTISEMENT

Imagine if Democrats in those districts had competed on a more level playing field. While we can’t go back in time, it’s not too late for 2020.

Flipping the state house would have huge implications not only for Texas; it would transform the national electoral landscape.  Under solid Republican control for two decades, the state has become a hotbed of partisan and racial gerrymandering, as well as a laboratory for unjust voter suppression tactics.

The GOP has shown it will stop at nothing to cement their grip on power.  Republican legislators crafted a photo ID law, which among other restrictions, allowed handgun licenses but not student ID cards as acceptable identification at the polls; a federal judge later ruled the legislature’s actions were discriminatory.

ADVERTISEMENT

The former Republican secretary of state attempted to purge nearly 100,000 voters from the rolls. A GOP judge sentenced an African American grandmother to five years in prison because she cast a provisional ballot while on parole. (She did not know she was ineligible to vote, and her provisional ballot was never counted.)

A Democratic victory here would help stop further Republican efforts to suppress the vote, and it would give the party a seat at the table when the next congressional and legislative maps are drawn — ones that will likely persist through 2032.

Republicans are already exploring ways to rig the mapmaking process in their favor, including by rewriting the rules to exclude minors and non-citizens when calculating district sizes — a move one high profile strategist called “advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites” in a newly discovered memo.

ADVERTISEMENT

That makes it even more critical for Democrats to have a seat at the table and ensure a fair redistricting process, and end the GOP’s extreme gerrymandering. Split legislative control would force both sides to compromise on fair maps — or risk sending the congressional map into the courts.

Texas’ 36-member congressional delegation is the second largest in the nation, and is predicted to grow by another three seats after the next census.

Just how extreme has the GOP mapmaking been? Travis County, home to Austin, voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by nearly 39 points (66.3 to 27.4 percent), yet has been carved into six separate congressional districts — represented in Congress by five Republicans and one Democrat.

In 2018, Democrats won 47 percent of congressional votes in Texas, but hold a mere 13 of the 36 seats.

ADVERTISEMENT

So it’s now or never. Win these nine seats in the state legislature, and win fair representation in the nation’s second-largest state. Lose, and it could be another 20 or 30 years before Democrats have this chance again.

Democrats are understandably excited — and anxious — about the prospects of winning back the White House. But our democracy is going to be won or lost in 2020 at the state legislative level, in local races like these handful of suburban districts in Texas.

Republicans have understood this for decades.  It’s time for Democrats to fight back.

David Daley, a former editor of Salon, is the author of the national bestseller “Ratf**ked: Why Your Vote Doesn’t Count” and the forthcoming “Unrigged: How Americans Fought Back, Slayed the Gerrymander and Reinvented Democracy.”

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

2020 Election

Corey Lewandowski may use Judiciary Committee hearing to launch New Hampshire Senate run

Published

on

Former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski will appear before the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday to answer questions about incidents outlined in special counsel Robert Mueller's report. But he may use the appearance as a way to launch his New Hampshire Senate run.

Axios reported Sunday that the former top aide to President Donald Trump is eager for a fiery exchange between him and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and other Democrats.

“Corey will use [the hearing] as part of the campaign. He will be confrontational to the Democrats. He will be totally loyal to Trump. And he will be playing to the right-wing of the party who need to unite behind him in a primary," said former New Hampshire Attorney General Thomas Rath.

Continue Reading

2020 Election

Stormy Daniels offers to speak before Congress: ‘Sh*t is about to hit the fan again’

Published

on

In an interview with the Daily Beast, adult film actress Stormy Daniels says she is waiting to hear from Congressional investigators taking a look at payments made to her through Donald Trump's lawyer to keep quiet about their reported affair.

With lawmakers indicating they may not call the actress to speak before a congressional committee, Daniels confessed she is waiting for them.

Continue Reading
 

2020 Election

‘There are some women who’d beg to differ’: Watch CNN anchor’s epic response to sexism in politics

Published

on

On Saturday, CNN anchor S.E. Cupp gave a passionate lecture about the sexism female politicians face during political campaigns.

The host read a quote from a "top" advisor to former Vice President Joe Biden.

“I don't know of anybody who has taken as sustained and vitriolic a negative pounding as Biden ...really the most vicious press I think anyone's experienced,” the Biden advisor told Politico.

"Come again? What's that now?" Cupp asked in disbelief.

"I think there are some women who beg to differ," she noted.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image