Top elections analyst warns the GOP that it's time to start worrying about Texas
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), photo by Gage Skidmore.

President Donald Trump is opening up new opportunities for Democrats in Texas -- and a top elections analyst warns the Republican Party that it should start worrying.

Real Clear Politics analyst Sean Trende, whose post-2012 election breakdown of "missing white voters" foreshadowed the trends that would lead to Trump's presidency, has written a new piece sounding the alarm on the GOP's fortunes in the Lone Star State.

Given that Texas's 38 electoral votes are crucial to any Republican running for president, the potential loss of the state to Democrats would be absolutely devastating to the GOP -- and Trende thinks it could really happen due to how much of the state lives in its major metropolitan areas.

"All told, the large metropolitan areas cast almost three-quarters of the vote in Texas, and Hillary Clinton won them with 51% support, a five-point improvement from Obama," he explains. "Trump more than held his own in the rural areas of the state and in the towns, winning almost 70% of the vote (roughly the same vote share as Romney had four years earlier). But it was the Trump collapse in the urban areas that dominate the state that made it a single-digit race."

Trende is skeptical that Texas could really turn blue in 2020, but he says that the trend line for the GOP looks very ominous.

"Once one realizes that these urban/suburban areas cast a supermajority of the vote in Texas, one realizes quickly that the rural and small-town areas can’t keep the Republican Party afloat in Texas forever," he concludes. "I wouldn’t bet the farm, or the cattle ranch if one prefers, on Texas turning blue this cycle. But the state is not safe for Republicans in 2020 either, and it will likely be very competitive."

Read the whole analysis here.