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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Thursday, November 06, 2008


Texas Blue 2012

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, November 06, 2008 permalink View blog reactions
Charles Kuffner takes a look at the Bug Urban and Suburban counties in Texas and sees positive trends that bode well for 2012:

The first thing to notice is that what had been an 800,000 vote deficit for John Kerry was this year a 75,000 vote deficit for Barack Obama. McCain lost 80,000 votes from Bush's total, while Obama won 645,000 more votes than Kerry. This 725,000 vote gain by Obama accounts for nearly the entire amount of the pickup from 2004. Maybe you're not ready to call Texas a swing state just yet, but this is a huge step in that direction.

The big urbans led the way on this. What had been a 240,000 vote surplus for Bush (I goofed on the math when I first did this) became a 267,000 vote deficit for McCain, or a total turnaround of over a half million votes. Dallas was a 115,000-vote blowout for Obama, who won with 57.5% there. Both Travis and El Paso were at around 65% for Obama, with Travis' margin for Obama (117,000) the biggest of them all, and both Harris (50.43%) and Bexar (52.42%) went blue. Tarrant, which gave just 37% of the vote to Kerry, gave almost 44% to Obama. The big urbans are Democratic turf, and much of the basis for future growth of the Democratic Party.
There's still room for further improvement. None of the Latino counties, which gave Obama his biggest percentages, had turnout levels above 50, except for Nueces, which is more Republican. I expect Harris to get bluer, as should Dallas and Tarrant. The suburbs are ripe for Democratic renewal; both Fort Bend with Richard Morrison and Williamson with Diana Maldonado saw Dems win seats that had been exclusively Republican before. Collin and Denton should be next in line, though that may take a couple more cycles. And this is where a growing share of the vote is; it was 71.3% of the statewide total in 2004, and 72.7% in 2008. Even if the rest of the state doesn't get any more purple - and remember, even outside the top 25, the Republican advantage dropped a little, from about 893,000 votes to 875,000 votes - gains in the biggest counties will eventually swamp it. This is where the action is for the Democrats, and it's the road map for putting Texas in play in 2012, with a stop along the way for the state races in 2010. I'm excited about the future.

By the way, I wrote all this last night, before I saw this Chron story about the statewide trends and the gains the Dems made in urban and suburban areas, though the article is less clear on that point. I think the bottom line can be summed up as follows: Therre were 640,000 more votes cast in the Presidential race this year than there were in 2004. The Democrats had a net gain of 688,000 votes for their Presidential candidate. The Republicans had a net loss of 60,000 for theirs. I know which side of that trend I'd rather be on.

Turning Texas Blue is not only possible, it's probable. Aiming for 2012 is all the more realistic considering Obama flipped 9 Bush states red to blue already, including Indiana and Virginia. Texas needs to be next.



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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.