It doesn’t seem possible, but Texas may become the newest swing state by the 2020 presidential election. For almost three decades, Republicans have dominated Texas politics. The biggest battles in Austin have been fought between conservatives and centrist sides within the GOP. The Democrats have been watching from the sidelines of the battles.
But Democratic gains in this year’s midterm elections show the possibility that Texas will in fact move into swing state status. This transition in Texas illustrates two of the defining points in American politics today: A growing divide between liberal urban cores and conservative rural strong suits; and a shift in attitudes of suburban voters who are angry at President Trump and his party.
Those same factors have seemingly turned states like Nevada and Colorado blue. The metropolitan areas like Las Vegas and Denver are dominating more conservative rural areas. These factors have also pushed states like Pennsylvania and Michigan toward purple status, as the once-dominant metro areas like Philadelphia and Detroit lose population and political influence.
Hundreds of thousands of new residents are moving into Texas every year. They choose to live in fast-growing cities and suburbs around the state’s four largest metropolitan areas. Six of the nation’s 10 fastest-growing counties are in Texas. Roughly one in every 10 Texans did not live in the state when Sen. Ted Cruz (R) won his seat six years ago.
“We have a lot of new voters who have held up their hands. There’s thousands of new voters moving to Texas every week,” said Chris Homan, a veteran Texas Republican strategist.
“Texas is a state that Democrats have been eyeing for some time now, because at the presidential level, it just keeps moving toward Democrats,” said Ethan Roeder, who ran data analytics for former President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns.
“Texas has not been a red state. It’s been a nonvoting state,” said Rafael Anchia, a Democratic state representative “And when there’s large voter turnout, which overwhelms the gerrymandering efforts and voter suppression efforts of past cycles, it is very decidedly a purple state.”