Today, the Democratic National Committee launched its first TV ad in Texas. The ad hammers President Donald Trump on his mishandling of the COVID-19 crisis that has led to over 100,000 deaths for older Americans, who are the most vulnerable. Eighty percent of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have been in adults 65 years old and older.
The ad narrates that “when Coronavirus hit, Donald Trump refused to listen to experts,” and that he is “throwing America to the wolves.” It alludes to Trump deceiving older Americans for political gain by claiming a safe reopening of the country. In reality, COVID-19 cases have spiked across the country since his arbitrary reopening, especially in Texas.
Texas has the third-highest rate of COVID-19 infections in the country, closely trailing Florida, and the state has confronted nearly 300,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 3,500 deaths. The state has seen near daily records in spikes after Republican Gov. Greg Abbott followed Trump’s encouragement to prematurely reopen the state. Nearly 20 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Texas were reported just in the past week.
The ad will air in the El Paso media market over the course of five weeks as part of the DNC’s six-figure ad buy.
El Paso, a West Texas city at the U.S.-Mexico border, has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks and has the sixth highest rate of all Texas counties. The city’s population, which is 83 percent Latinx, also holds significant risk of being ravaged by COVID-19 because Black and Latinx residents are dying at three to six times the rate of their white counterparts.
The early investment by the DNC signals a growing confidence in former Vice President Joe Biden’s capacity to deliver Texas’ 38 electoral votes to Democrats for the first time since 1976, fundamentally altering the landscape of presidential politics for generations.
The ad buy in El Paso also indicates that the DNC is making an attempt to boost Biden’s standing with Latinx voters, who is faring worse with them than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did in 2016. Biden lost almost every single majority-Latinx county, including El Paso, to Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Texas primary.
Based on the current electoral math of solidly blue and red states, Trump would have to win Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, Arizona, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Maine to make up for losing Texas to Biden. Polls show a surprisingly tight race in Texas, with one poll putting Biden up 5 points.
In addition to the DNC’s first Texas TV ad buy, Biden also launched his first TV ad in Texas this week, which similarly criticizes Trump for failing to safely reopen America during the COVID-19 crisis.
“Now, approximately 100,000 of our country’s seniors have lost their lives to the Coronavirus,” DNC Chair Tom Perez said. “And it’s all because of Trump’s failure of leadership. It didn’t have to be this bad. Texas seniors need leadership from the White House to navigate this crisis. They need Joe Biden.”
Photo: Ron Jenkins/Getty Images
Chris covers Texas politics and government. He is a Policy Advisor for Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and a graduate student at Harvard University. Previously, Chris served as Texas State Director and National Barnstorm Director for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, and as a Political Advisor for Beto O’Rourke. Born in Houston, Texas to immigrants from Hong Kong and Mexico, he is committed to building political power for working people and communities of color. Chris is a Fulbright Scholar and a graduate of Rice University.