Battleground Texas may be bravado, a feint to put the Republican Party on the defensive and get it to commit valuable resources to fighting for its formerly safe territories,
I think that's right. At least as far as 2016 goes.
All it’s going to take to elect a liberal governor of Texas if for the Republican nominee to be diced, sliced, shredded, and quartered by the media 24/7. They will be sure to ruin him and his family in perpetuity, just because they can, and presto! A liberal governor will be elected. They have this down to a fine art.