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The Texas Democrat Massacre and Its Aftermath

Posted on 11/30/2002 1:31:36 PM PST by No dems 2002

Of all the races that took place this year, the one that I probably followed the most closely was Texas. The Lone Star State is of high importance to the GOP, not only since it’s President Bush’s home state, but also because it’s status as the second largest state in the United States, second only to California. As most of us have heard and read, Texas went solidly Republican this year, as it has since the mid 1990’s.

I’ve done a fair bit of study through exit polls and historical voting trends over the past couple of years to put together my own little analysis of what’s happened leading up to and during 2002 to make a reasonable prediction of what the political future of the state will be. But, first let’s have a look at the 2002 election results. They are as follows:

GOP Senate candidate John Cornyn was elected to Republican Phil Gramm’s open seat 55%-43%.

GOP Gov. Rick Perry was re-elected 58%-40%.

GOP’s David Dewhurst won the lieutenant-gov. 52%-46%.

Republicans won all of the other statewide races which are as follows: Attorney General (57%), Comptroller (64%), Land Commissioner (53%), Agriculture Commissioner (60%), and Railroad Commissioner (55%).

The Republicans went from a 78-72 deficit in the state house of representatives to a commanding 88-62 majority (their first majority in appr. 130 years).

The Republicans strengthened their state senate majority from a slender 16-15 to a commanding 19-12.

The GOP received about 55% of the state’s US congressional vote. Through shrewd pro-democratic districting, the democrats hold a 17-15 advantage, but the GOP won both of the new districts that were drawn because of rapid population growth in the state, narrowing the previous 17-13 dem advantage.

Needless to say, this was a Republican sweep. But, though the democrats didn’t expect to win huge majorities of the vote, they still hoped to do better than they did. Yes, it was the so-called “Dream Team” ticket that was supposed to do wonders for the forlorn Lone Star democrat party. This team was designed with a 3-dimensional approach: attract Hispanics, blacks and whites to the top 3 statewide democratic candidates by using a multi-racial candidate appeal technique. Hispanic democrat Tony Sanchez, a very wealthy businessman, was the big key for unprecedented Hispanic turnout, while black democrat Ron Kirk was the key for heavy black turnout. Kirk’s appeal ran much deeper than the average black democrat, because he was the former popular mayor of Dallas, a predominantly Republican (and white) electoral base. To round it all off, white democrat John Sharp, who came within 2 percentage points of defeating Rick Perry for the lieutenant-governorship in 1998, was chosen as Sanchez’s running mate.

The national media gave the Texas races much attention, and I remember one democrat predicting that it didn’t matter who eventually won, because 2002 would be remembered as the year when Texas became competitive again. For a while, this seemed plausible. Though Sanchez trailed through the whole race, unreliable polling data was touted as “proof” that Kirk was competitive against Cornyn. Believing their own dreams, the democrats poured plenty of money into Texas, hoping to humiliate President Bush on his home turf. Sanchez badly outspent Perry in his tireless fight for sparking higher turnout and visibility amongst the state’s democratic-leaning voters, and it does seem that more Hispanics than ever before showed up to vote in Texas. And, as expected, blacks went solidly democratic in the race. It was one of the few Texas elections in recent years where the democrats really tried to win, as opposed to sending a token opposition to take the bullet in yet another hopeless race.

But, when all was said and done, this team was just dreaming. Far from making gains on election day, the democrats actually suffered unprecedented losses. On Nov. 5, our little dream team woke up to political reality—the reality that the Texas Democratic Party is on death row. Why such a sweeping remark? Because, after careful analysis, I have to conclude that there’s just no way the democrats are going to surmount the statewide GOP majority any time soon.

But what about the rapid growth in the Hispanic population, you may ask? Isn’t that the growing cancer of Texas that’s supposed to topple the GOP soon? Well, the answer to that question is in the results of 2002: If Texas Hispanics were ever given an opportunity to show their loyalty for the supposed pro-Hispanic democratic party, Sanchez gave it to them. But, alas, although there may very well have been an unprecedented Hispanic turnout, it’s obvious that something went dreadfully wrong with this plan.

But what went wrong? Well, for one thing, hysteria and racial polarisation has taken over the democratic approach to Southern politics. Democrats have given up on having good policy in the South in favor of either deceptive or artificial politics. In Alabama, Georgia or South Carolina, their idea for defeating the dominant GOP is through artificially high black turnout, rather than through good old southern conservativism and ideals. For Texas, one of the big democratic ideas has been assuming that the Lone Star state will eventually become a replica of California (shall we call it the Texifornia theory?). By this, democrats have apparently mistakenly assumed that the GOP’s problems in California all came through Pete Wilson’s stern, anti-immigration policies; and, since Hispanics supposedly hate the GOP, they’ve been the driving force for getting rid of Golden State Republicans. You’d be surprised how many people believe this fatuously misleading notion.

The real problem in California, of course, is only partially due to Hispanics and is overwhelmingly due to changes in white demographics in the state. Millions of conservative white residents (and thus voters) left California in the 1990s, many migrating to other Western states like Oregon, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado which helped make many of these states more Republican. The result in California was that the remaining white population was more liberal and Democratic-leaning. This is abundantly clear in exit polling data for major statewide elections throughout the 1990s. Since 1988, no GOP presidential nominee has broken 50% with the state’s white vote, and, not surprisingly, none has come close to carrying the state either. The last major statewide GOP victory in California came in 1994 when Gov. Pete Wilson was re-elected, but he won by receiving a whopping 62% of the white vote. In 1998, Republican Lungren received 46%, the same percentage Bill Simon received this year in his unsuccessful bid to unseat Democratic Gov. Gray Davis. If Simon had received a just little bit more of the white vote, he could have won.

So how does all this fit in to Texas? First of all, I want to emphasise that I don’t endorse the GOP’s pandering to illegal immigrants nor do I think it’s a good idea to turn a blind eye to such blatant illegality, but I have to minimise the impact of the growth of Latinos and its electoral impact, which has been so badly exaggerated. Maybe it’s because I got good grades in my math and algebra, or maybe it’s because the democrats didn’t--I don’t know. But I’ve done some calculations that show the democrats didn’t do their homework properly. From a statistical point of view, the number one problem democrats have in Texas is the white vote (just like Republicans in California). Democrats can’t expect to win elections when the GOP is consistently receiving around 70% of the white vote. Problem number 2 is that Latinos are no longer a reliable democratic voting bloc. There have been consistent signs of a thaw between Republicans and Latinos in their formerly cold relations. When democrats think of the growth of minority voters, they automatically assume it’s favourable for them, and think in the antiquated black-and-white approach. Hispanics increasingly (and justifiably) are very displeased at being racially profiled by democrats as shoo-in, feeling it’s in the best interests of their populace to diversify their voting habits. This couldn’t come at a worse time for democrats.

But Hispanics have long given Republicans larger percentages of their vote than have the blacks. GOP candidates are fortunate if they get 10-12% of the black vote, but Republicans can almost always expect to get at least 20-25% of the Hispanic vote, even in a bad election year. This may sound simplistic, but mathematically it’s significant. For every 4 Hispanics who vote, democrats make an average net gain of 2. And the electoral impact of the growth of the Hispanic vote, as mentioned above, is often overstated.

For the purpose of explaining my point, I’ll give you a simple example. Let’s assume that whites vote 70% Republican, Hispanics 25% Republicans and blacks 10% Republican. Now, we’ll go through a number of different turnout models with these variables.

Turnout: 75% white / 10% black / 15% Hispanic GOP vote percentage: 57.25%

Turnout: 70% white / 10% black / 20% Hispanic GOP vote percentage: 55%

Turnout: 65% white / 10% black / 25% Hispanic GOP vote percentage: 52.75%

Turnout: 60% white / 10% black / 30% Hispanic GOP vote percentage: 50.5%

What’s rather amazing about these figures is that even when white representation in the turnout model drops sharply by 15 points from 75% to only 60%, the Republicans still have a majority. Exit polling data has shown recently that whites constitute between 70% and 75% of the Texan electorate. Fox News pegged it at 71% for this past election. However, the truth is that often times more than 70% of whites vote Republican and GOP candidates have been receiving more than 25% of the vote in numerous recent elections. This further complicates things for Democrats. If you take this model even further, an electorate that’s only 50% white, 40% Hispanic and 10% black is still a Republican majority if the GOP receives 75% of the white vote and 30% of the Hispanic vote.

The stark truth for Democrats is that many of these favourable turnout models are likely to be pure fantasy for many years to come. Why? Well, for one thing, the 2000 Census showed that non-Hispanic whites constituted nearly 53% of the overall Texan population, meaning they’re still the overall majority. Hispanics were 32% and blacks constituted only 11.5% of the population, a very low percentage for the South. But you need to realise that nowhere near all these Hispanics are eligible voters. Many are illegal, many are legal residents but not citizens, many are not old enough to vote and, as Tony Sanchez found out, many aren’t interested in voting. But, as I just showed, even under some of the most favourable Hispanic turnout models possible for democrats, the Republicans are still competitive. What’s more, when democrats manage to spark a larger than usual turnout amongst minorities, it’s usually by running minority candidates, which backfires with whites by creating a racially polarised campaign. Under such circumstances, whites feel alienated and vulnerable, thus flocking to the GOP in percentages exceeding 70%. I think this happened, to a certain degree, in the election just passed, although Republicans still performed quite well with Hispanics.

In summary, one can quite truthfully say that the Texas Democrat Massacre of 2002 is going to leave the GOP as the state’s dominant party for some time to come. Fuelled by a white electorate that ranks amongst the most loyally Republican in the nation, Texas now even rivals states like Idaho for its one-party tilt. And the Hispanic vote is a mixed blessing, at best, for democrats, who know that they’re not going to find it easy to recruit a rich Hispanic democrat to fund a massive GOTV effort through his bottomless pockets. Thus, the larger turnout that Hispanics made this year probably won’t be sustained in future elections. This, coupled with the fact that Texas Hispanics are growing more comfortable with the GOP in the conservative environment they live in, means that the state’s once solidly democratic voting group has become a competitive constituency.

History has shown that Texas generally gives its allegiance to one party and one party alone. The GOP is now that party.

TOPICS: Activism/Chapters; Announcements; Constitution/Conservatism; Editorial; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Texas
Here's my take on Texas. Would love to hear your comments.
1 posted on 11/30/2002 1:31:36 PM PST by No dems 2002
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To: No dems 2002
This is very strong analysis on your part. I suspect that many TX Anglos simply did not like the Sanchez presented over and over on paid ads. It's like the story of the dog food -- no matter how nutritious, dogs won't eat it, and consumers therefore won't buy it. Voters just did not buy Sanchez.

Other tidbits: Sanchez got 89 percent of the vote in his home county of Webb; Perry, about 67 percent in his home county of Haskell. Nearly 2,000 Webb Co. voters who backed Sanchez switched to David Dewhurst for lieutenant governor. These were Republicans voting for the hometown candidate for governor but not for John Sharp. Moreover, Congressman Ron Paul actually led the Republican ticket in Victoria Co., outpolling favorite son John Sharp by nearly 2,000 raw votes. Apparently statewide relatively few voters supported BOTH Perry and Sharp, which had been an expected ticket-splitting possibility. There were more Sanchez-Dewhurst split tickets than many thought.

2 posted on 11/30/2002 1:44:43 PM PST by Theodore R.
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To: No dems 2002
I know of a few well-known liberals who got tired of the landscape and
moved to New Mexico in 1996. Place sure does smell better around these
here parts. Kicking butt ain't just for sport, it's a full-time occupation.
3 posted on 11/30/2002 1:45:47 PM PST by Slyfox
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To: No dems 2002
Excellent analysis. I speak in relative ignorance, but I think the Hispanic vote may be more important than you think. Republicans did better among Hispanics in Florida and Texas than they did in California, even though a Hispanic was running in Texas. That's because they like the compassionate conservative message represented by Jeb Bush and George Bush.

Pete Wilson, on the other hand, was a clumsy fool who represented the worst of all worlds. He was a pro-abort RINO who managed to give the impression that he was against Hispanics because he wanted to conciliate conservative racists but was unwilling to give them anything on abortion. At least that's the way the press successfully painted him, and it has alienated California Hispanics ever since. No real conservatism or compassion was visible anywhere in the Wilson campaign.

The best conservative candidates show genuine warmth and caring, as did Ronald Reagan. Those are the kind of people Hispanics are likely to vote for in place of the Democrats, who claim to be for the underdog but chiefly support abortion and sexual perversion--not attractive issues for most Hispanic or Asian voters.
4 posted on 11/30/2002 2:15:26 PM PST by Cicero
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To: No dems 2002
Excellent analysis! Now, with significant majorities in the state houses will they draw up a new congressional redistricting plan that will more fairly represent the state of Texas? Since the court implemented a plan for the 2002 elections the state legislature has the opportunity to draw the lines such that the republicans could pick up 5+ seats in the US House. Will this happen this year?
5 posted on 11/30/2002 2:17:30 PM PST by double_down
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To: No dems 2002
for one thing, hysteria and racial polarisation has taken over the democratic approach to Southern politics


6 posted on 11/30/2002 2:21:59 PM PST by alrea
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To: No dems 2002
A once in a lifetime chance for tort reform, before the crooked lawyers and judges drive the last homeowner's insurance and last Rio Grande Valley MD out of business.
7 posted on 11/30/2002 2:24:48 PM PST by friendly
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Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: No dems 2002
Hispanics are more integrated in Texas than in some other states. Since the hispanic presence in Texas pre-dates the Alamo, you don't see nearly as much racial prejudice here. Hispanics are simply Texans and nobody thinks much about it.

That's why hispanics are not a monolithic voting block in the state. I expect Orlando Sanchez will be the next mayor of Houston, and he's a conservative Republican.

9 posted on 11/30/2002 2:36:52 PM PST by Dog Gone
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To: No dems 2002
Kirk?s appeal ran much deeper than the average black democrat, because he was the former popular mayor of Dallas, a predominantly Republican (and white) electoral base.

That is a myth promoted by the Kirk campaign. Dallas proper is not a conservative city anymore. It's just another urban democrat ghetto. Throw in all the suburbs of the metroplex and yeah, the Dallas area leans conservative republican. But Ron Kirk was NEVER elected mayor of all of that - only the Democrat infested city of Dallas proper.

10 posted on 11/30/2002 4:19:31 PM PST by GOPcapitalist
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To: Dog Gone
I expect Orlando Sanchez will be the next mayor of Houston, and he's a conservative Republican.

Let us hope so. Expect the downtown crowd to go for Bill White though, and Brown's thugs to go for Turner. I think it'll be a runoff between Sanchez and Sylvester Turner, in which case the Houston Chronicle will pull out all stops for Turner. They're they official henchmen of the light rail mafia and would never support Sanchez, who opposes rail.

11 posted on 11/30/2002 4:23:28 PM PST by GOPcapitalist
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To: GOPcapitalist
Ken Lay won't be donating the big bucks to Turner, as he did for Brown last time around. That might make a difference.

We can certainly count on the Chronical to oppose Sanchez, though. You're right about that.

12 posted on 11/30/2002 4:31:49 PM PST by Dog Gone
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To: KQQL; BlackRazor; Coop; GraniteStateConservative
bumping your way......
13 posted on 11/30/2002 4:34:07 PM PST by deport
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To: basil; TXBubba; TheSarce; The Bat Lady; DrewsDad; austingirl
14 posted on 11/30/2002 5:28:10 PM PST by tarawa
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To: No dems 2002
This is a very professional job.  Well done.

Comment:  " In Alabama, Georgia or South Carolina, their idea for defeating the dominant GOP"
                  needs to be "Georgia and South Caroina..."
15 posted on 11/30/2002 5:51:36 PM PST by gcruse
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To: No dems 2002
bttt for later read. Thanks
16 posted on 11/30/2002 5:57:12 PM PST by MattinNJ
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To: No dems 2002
Sounds good to me. Don't forget Nebraska's one-party tilt. I am happy to say that in the last 15 years we went from almost totally Demoncrats on the national, state, and larger cities to almost totally Republican.

Interestingly, the only thing that changed was that the Republicans decided to quit splitting the Republican ticket wiht partisan bickering. When the primaries are over, the losing Republican pledges support to the winning Republican. Before that, the only reason Demoncrats won was because Republicans all too often continued the fight after the primaries.
17 posted on 11/30/2002 6:01:48 PM PST by jim_trent
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To: jim_trent
There have been alot of Republicans moving into Texas in the last 20 years and with the Democrats running left more and more, the result is a Republican majority. However, Dems are still in alot of these small town courthouses because of the older voters who still will not vote for a Republican. Though it is better now, more die hards will have to retire from life to increase the chance of a Republican being elected. This is mainly a situation in small counties where the people have lived here forever. That is where I get my name. These Dems would rather vote for a yellow dog than a Republican. It really does go back to Reconstruction.
18 posted on 11/30/2002 6:23:35 PM PST by outinyellowdogcountry
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To: GOPcapitalist
Yes indeed, the Dallas that "spat" on Adlai Stevenson in 1963 is no more!!!!!! Dallas elected a Republican to Congress as early as 1954. But it is no longer a conservative city proper. Almost no cities anywhere are conservative in the central areas.
19 posted on 11/30/2002 6:43:18 PM PST by Theodore R.
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To: outinyellowdogcountry
Yea, these were the guys in east TX that had Sancez and Kirk yard signs out in force, making us believe that the Democrats were resurging. In the end, even Democrat East TX went Republican.
20 posted on 11/30/2002 6:44:36 PM PST by Theodore R.
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To: Cicero; No dems 2002
Bill Owens was strong with hispanics, too.
21 posted on 11/30/2002 7:23:12 PM PST by GraniteStateConservative
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To: jim_trent; No dems 2002
Get rid of Ben Nelson-- then you and Texas will have nothing but Republicans statewide in office (like my state!). Also in that elite group: Alaska, Ohio, and Utah.
22 posted on 11/30/2002 7:33:56 PM PST by GraniteStateConservative
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To: Theodore R.
I did not mean to imply that good "conservatives" spit upon liberals in a literal sense as Mr. Stevenson experienced in Dallas several years before his death.
23 posted on 11/30/2002 7:54:22 PM PST by Theodore R.
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To: GraniteStateConservative
What about ID? How many Republican congressmen does OH have compared to the Democrats?
24 posted on 11/30/2002 7:55:26 PM PST by Theodore R.
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To: Thud
A Texas political analysis for your consideration.
25 posted on 11/30/2002 7:56:42 PM PST by Dark Wing
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To: GraniteStateConservative
Though he lost a Senate race in 1996, Ben Nelson is one of those popular Democrat politicians in his state, like Breaux in LA, like Lloyd M. Bentsen, Jr., used to be in TX, like the Pryors in AR, and like Robert Graham in FL, and Ernest F. Hollings in SC. You just can't beat those kinds of candidates no matter what, for they appeal to the "middle" AND the "common man."
26 posted on 11/30/2002 7:58:11 PM PST by Theodore R.
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To: No dems 2002
Now that the GOP controls the full House and Senate there, can we expect new redistricting moves to eliminate the Democrat edge in the U.S. House?
27 posted on 11/30/2002 8:13:05 PM PST by montag813
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To: No dems 2002

Good over all analysis... but just to give you some stats on the City of Dallas and not Dallas County. You don't fly a state flag so I'm not sure where you are from but the City of Dallas isn't the predominantly Republican white electoral base that is protrayed in the media. The City of Dallas from the 2000 Census looks like the following:

City of Dallas

28 posted on 11/30/2002 8:15:06 PM PST by deport
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To: No dems 2002
I think Hispanic population growth will eventually end Republican dominance in Texas. Texas Republicans are looking at things through a rosy lens if they think otherwise. California is Exhibit A.
29 posted on 11/30/2002 9:16:40 PM PST by Holden Magroin
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To: All
bump to come back and finish reading, beginning at....

So how does all this fit in to Texas? First of all, I want to emphasise that....

30 posted on 12/01/2002 6:35:18 AM PST by MeekOneGOP
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To: Holden Magroin
Actually, what made California more liberal was the OUTFLOW of conservative whites, leading to domination by liberal whites in the northern part of the state and Latinos (lets be honest, Mexicans) in the southern part. Texas is still seeing an influx of conservative whites from other parts of the country and does not have large concentrations of white liberal like California has.
31 posted on 12/01/2002 9:30:36 PM PST by Clemenza
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To: MeeknMing; Clemenza; Holden Magroin; deport; montag813; jim_trent; gcruse; Cicero
I must apologise for taking so long to get back to everybody. Life is so busy, you know.

Thank you everyone for what seems to be a mostly positive response to my Texas analysis. Thanks for the pointers, too.

I see that, as usual, there are a few die-hard pessimists about the future of Texas (or Tejas, as they call it) in our midst. One guy made the point that California was “exhibit A” to which he needs to read my analysis to why that is not accurate. Another guy even made the facetious claim that within 8 or 10 years Texas will be “solidly democratic”. I’d like to present the question to these people who are all ready to concede Texas to the democrats: Show me the statistics to back this up.

At best, Texas will become more competitive for the democrats, but by no means “solidly democratic”. Let me give you an example. Texas’ neighbour to the east is New Mexico, which has the highest Hispanic population (by percentage) of any state in the United States. Just over 42% of the population is Hispanic, while under 45% is non-Hispanic white, according to the 2000 Census. To complicate matters for the GOP, about 10% of the population is American Indian, which is a heavily democratic populace (think Tim Johnson in South Dakota). And believe me, New Mexico’s Latinos vote.

Exit polling in recent years has shown that between 55 and 60% of the electorate is white (significantly lower than Texas), and the Hispanic electorate has ranged between 28-36% (significantly higher than Texas), and the Indians and blacks have ranged roughly 8 or 12%.

So, this means that the New Mexico GOP must not only be dead, but suffering from rigor mortis, right? With a Hispanic population virtually equal with the white population means that New Mexico must make Rhode Island look like a Republican bastion, right?

As a matter of fact, no. It’s all a matter of doing your math, folks. To start with, which may surprise you, New Mexico whites are not nearly as Republican as Texan whites, yet the GOP is still very competitive there. Republicans average about 55 or 60% of the state’s white vote, about 10 or 15 points below the GOP average in Texas. For instance, in 2000 the electorate was 59% white, 32% Hispanic, and 9% other. It’s estimated that GW Bush took only 58% of the white vote, but he still came within less than 400 votes to winning the state (48%-48% tie). In fact, from what I’ve heard, when a few sample recounts were taken, Bush kept closing the gap. But, to not be hypocritical in light of Florida, the Bush campaign refused to request a recount in New Mexico, which could have given him the state. New Mexico is still very winnable for Republicans. If Bush had received 70% of the New Mexico white vote, he would have won hands down.

In this past election, democrats won a big victory in the gubernatorial race, but the state GOP is still glowing from their sweep in the federal elections. A Republican US Senator was re-elected with 65% of the vote, and they comfortably maintained their 2-1 advantage in the state’s congressional delegation, in spite of both races appearing competitive. One of these districts is 43% Hispanic and the other is 47%. The GOP also managed to win a statewide office or two, in spite of democrat star Bill Richardson carrying his party to victory. And, from what I hear, the democrats made no gains in the state house of representatives (which is democratic-controlled with a good-sized GOP minority). Thus, the GOP still has a strong presence in the state, even though there’s a much larger and more daunting percentage of Hispanics than in California.

In summary, New Mexico’s whites are more liberal, for sure, than Texas whites, but the GOP, gets what it can and then creates a coalition with non-white voters and has done remarkably well in the state’s recent political history.

So, please, folks, show some common sense and faith, those of you who believe Texas is about to become another Massachussetts.

Once again, thanks to everyone for taking the time to read my work.
32 posted on 12/02/2002 9:48:06 AM PST by No dems 2002
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To: Cicero
A lot of Hispanics are pro life.
33 posted on 12/02/2002 9:54:30 AM PST by Tribune7
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To: No dems 2002
One minor correction, in the interest of accuracy:
Rick Perry was elected, not re-elected, governor.
This will be his first term as an elected governor.
34 posted on 12/02/2002 11:07:05 AM PST by Redbob
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To: No dems 2002
And one more point, with regard to Algore's claim of having "won the popular vote":
Dubya was such a hands-down favorite, lead-pipe cinch to win here in Texas that large numbers of white Republicans didn't even bother to vote in '00.

Bush could easily have had another half-million votes in Texas - if it had mattered!
35 posted on 12/02/2002 11:46:33 AM PST by Redbob
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To: No dems 2002
So, please, folks, show some common sense and faith, those of you who believe Texas is about to become another Massachussetts.

Another Massachussetts? Ouch ! That hurts!

36 posted on 12/02/2002 5:21:53 PM PST by MeekOneGOP
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