On the eve of election day, Texas Democrats solidify momentum

by | Nov 2, 2020 | 2020 Elections, Politics

Here we go, y’all.

Tomorrow is the day. Tuesday November 3rd. Election Day in America.

Tomorrow we finally have the opportunity to reject the cognitive dissonance presidency of Donald Trump and bring to an end what Hunter S. Thompson would doubtless have described as one long, epic bummer of an administration.

As we rose this morning, Texas Democrats were greeted with a final wave of good news that proves the party has captured the imaginations of voters across Texas, and are poised to flip the 38 electoral votes at play in Texas to Joe Biden and elect the first Democratic majority in the Texas House in generations.

With early voting turnout topping 9.6 million, easily eclipsing total turnout in the 2016 Presidential election, Texas is on track for a total turnout of over 11 million votes, a level at which electoral handicappers have a hard time finding a path to victory for Texas Republicans.

No one has run the math as many times as Ed Espinoza, executive director of Progress Texas. They’ve been analyzing the trends in Texas since the close of the 2016 election cycle.

“The big problem for Texas Republicans isn’t voter attrition, it’s voter stagnation — they haven’t grown their vote haul in a meaningful way since 2004,” Espinoza said.

That’s four successive cycles of presidential elections that the Texas GOP hasn’t been able to expand their electoral footprint in the state, and the strength of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 performance and Beto O’Rourke’s near-win in 2018 have only grown for Biden.

While Clinton and O’Rourke comfortably won the major metro areas in Texas by six-figure margins, Biden is currently projected to carry the urban core of Texas by a margin of over one million votes. Turnout at that level from our big cities will be difficult for Republicans to counteract when coupled with their decaying support in the Texas suburbs.

Counties to Watch in the Presidential Race

Biden will need strong performances in the largest counties — Harris, Dallas, Travis, Bexar — while also overperforming in big urban and suburban counties that are emerging as swing counties. The results from Tarrant County, home to Fort Worth and at least half a dozen competitive state house races, will be crucial for both campaigns.

Elsewhere in the greater Houston region, Fort Bend will be important to look at due to the emerging strength of the South Asian vote for Democrats. Not only could that key constituency help send Sri Kulkarni to Congress in the 22nd Congressional District, but it could help Democrats make up the margin in the rural enclaves Republicans still cling to.

If we’re talking about suburbs, North Texas neighbors Collin and Denton County have a lot to say. We’ve seen mind-boggling turnout in these two counties, and veteran campaign operatives from North Texas tell us they’ve never seen the level of support for Democratic candidates that they’re witnessing this cycle. If Trump has a bad night in Collin or Denton, whether he wins or loses the counties, it could provide the final boost Joe Biden needs to topple Texas.

Polling Round-Up

The new Morning Consult poll out this morning has Joe Biden tied with Donald Trump in the race for the state’s 38 electoral votes, 48.1 to 48.1. Giddy up. Biden also led in a Data for Progress poll released over the weekend, and was within one point of Trump in a poll from Emerson, a pollster with one of the highest ratings from 538.

Meanwhile, the same Morning Consult poll shows MJ Hegar locked within the margin of error in her campaign to knock off John Cornyn, who hasn’t been able to shake his rival. Polling at this stage of the 2018 Senate race had Ted Cruz beating Beto O’Rourke by 6 points in a race O’Rourke ultimately lost by just over 2 points. If that pattern holds for Cornyn, we may be calling a U.S. Senate seat in Texas for a Democrat for the first time since Lloyd Bentsen rolled to victory in 1988.

Races Breaking Late Bode Well for Blue Team

Elsewhere this morning, the Cook Political Report moved three Congressional races in favor of Democrats, adding Mike Siegel’s race in the 10th District to toss-up status the night before the election. Siegel has run a stronger campaign than he was able to in 2018 with limited resources, but his television and digital advertising strategies seem to be complimenting the power of his grassroots troops at the perfect time to topple Rep. Michael McCaul.

In the 24th District, Cook Political moved Candace Valenzuela’s race to Lean D, taking it out of the tossup column as Valenzuela looks to finish strong in this open seat race.

In the Austin suburbs and exurbs of Williamson County, things are rapidly becoming, at least, a deep blue shade of purple, and explosive turnout has Democrats hopeful that Donna Imam will get the lift she needs to knock of John Carter in the 31st. Cook moved that race from Likely R to Lean R, but polling reviewed by Signal looks pretty good for the blue team here.

None of it matters if we don’t participate

While everything looks good for Texas Democrats as they continue to drive every vote they can to the polls, none of this work matters if you don’t vote.

Tomorrow is election day in Texas. Please go to MyTexasVotes.com to find all the info you need on where and when to vote, and what you need to bring.

This can be a great country, if we all do our part.

Senior Advisor | + posts

Joe brings over a decade of experience as a political operative and creative strategist to Texas Signal, where he serves as our Senior Advisor and does everything from writing a regular column, Musings, to mentoring our staff and freelancers. Joe was campaign manager for Lina Hidalgo's historic 2018 victory for Harris County Judge and is a passionate sneakerhead.

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