But there is another way of looking at what happened. The Trump wave masked a riptide. Hillary Clinton made huge gains across the Sun Belt, in such bastions of Republicanism as Orange County, California, and the suburbs of Houston and Dallas. Texas was closer than Iowa. Arizona was closer than Ohio. The white women and energized Hispanic voters Clinton was counting on really did exist—they just didn’t live where she thought they did.

    Now the dilemma facing party leaders is this: In 2016 the Democratic presidential nominee received 43 percent of the vote in two states. The first state is 80 percent white. Its population is stagnant and graying. Democrats have performed successively worse there in the last two presidential elections, and the last Democrat to run for governor lost by 30 points. The second state is 44 percent white. A majority of the population is 34 or younger. Democrats are coming off their best presidential showing in 20 years. Maybe you still think Ohio is more winnable than Texas—but would you bet your party’s future on it?

    In its simplest form, the challenges facing candidates like O’Rourke are the same ones that have confounded Democrats everywhere since 2008, only, as Texas would have it, bigger. They have to help voters navigate a system that is designed to be difficult if not discouraging. They have to battle the kind of political disengagement that sank Clinton; in Texas, “It’s not a Republican state, it’s a nonvoting state” may as well be the official Democratic Party mantra.


People from Texas, including Democrats, always chuckle at the perennial Texas going blue story.

posted by veen: 471 days ago