For Republicans, Texas Is A Swing State Even If It’s Not Yet Purple

Whether Texas is actually becoming more Democratic-leaning isn’t clear. But 2018 jarred Republicans into approaching the 2020 races as if they’re fighting off an existential threat.

By Jill AmentNovember 25, 2019 12:41 pm, ,

For months, political pundits have speculated about whether Texas will be purple in 2020 – that is, whether Democrats will gain a slight upper hand, making Texas just a little less Republican-leaning than it was before.

Texas Tribune executive editor and co-founder, Ross Ramsey, says in some ways, it doesn’t matter what color actually represents Texas politics right now because Republican candidates are running as if the state is already turning toward a slight Democratic majority. They’re catering to the “middle,” he says.

Ramsey says for years, Republican candidates “calibrated” their campaigns to a solidly right-of-center electorate. That’s because they were likely to win the general election if they could win a Republican primary. But the 2018 midterm election, where Democrat Beto O’Rourke almost beat Republican incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz, changed that trend.

“The 2018 elections were close enough at enough levels,” he says. “So it was a big year, and Republicans are looking up and going, ‘there may be competition in November [2020]; maybe we should move a little bit to the left.’”

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– How Republican candidates are running with the assumption that Texas is a swing state

– How Republicans are talking differently now about divisive issues like gun control

– Why Democratic candidates aren’t trying as much as Republicans to appeal to moderate voters

– Why President Donald Trump visited Texas seven times in 2019


Written by Caroline Covington.