Could Texas Go Blue in 2018?

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A woman wears a cowboy hat adorned with the shape of Texas during the first day of the Democratic National Convention on July 25, 2016, at Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia, Ohio. (Photo: Brett Carlsen / Getty Images)

 

Texas. Home of cowboy boots, remembering the Alamo and Republican President George W. Bush. The state legislature hasn’t met an abortion ban it hasn’t embraced, a discrimination bill it didn’t champion or a Christian doctrine it didn’t find a way to twist into far-right ideology.

Could such a state really vote blue? Yes, say political pundits — and this may be the year it happens.

While Texas has long been one of the most conservative states in the nation, there’s little doubt that it’s changing its ways. Texas is growing younger, much more racially diverse and, with the help of the tech bubble and other economic changes, it’s drawing more liberals into the state than ever before.

That changing demographic has resulted in what could be referred to as “peak Republican syndrome,” the idea that the state hit its high point in GOP enthusiasm and will start to decrease as time passes. As Mary Beth Rogers wrote in Salon in early 2016:

The first indication of the potential shift here is that Republicans have finally reached their peak voting strength. They can’t win more white votes than the 75 percent they got in the 2014 governor’s race against the ill-fated Wendy Davis campaign. The percentage of eligible white voters among the Texas electorate is declining. With that decline we are beginning to see a drop in Republican vote margins in areas of their greatest strength  – the seven big suburbs that surround Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin. One of those once-reliable Republican suburbs outside of Houston has already moved into swing vote territory. Others will follow because Texas suburbs are no longer the sole domains of white voters. Over the past decade, an influx of African-American, Hispanic, and Asian homeowners has moved into Texas…

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