Skip to comments.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 its President Bushs home state, but also because its 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 1990s.
Ive 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 whats happened leading up to and during 2002 to make a reasonable prediction of what the political future of the state will be. But, first lets have a look at the 2002 election results. They are as follows:
GOP Senate candidate John Cornyn was elected to Republican Phil Gramms open seat 55%-43%.
GOP Gov. Rick Perry was re-elected 58%-40%.
GOPs 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 states 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 didnt 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. Kirks 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 Sanchezs running mate.
The national media gave the Texas races much attention, and I remember one democrat predicting that it didnt 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 states 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 realitythe reality that the Texas Democratic Party is on death row. Why such a sweeping remark? Because, after careful analysis, I have to conclude that theres 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? Isnt that the growing cancer of Texas thats 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, its 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 GOPs problems in California all came through Pete Wilsons stern, anti-immigration policies; and, since Hispanics supposedly hate the GOP, theyve been the driving force for getting rid of Golden State Republicans. Youd 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 states 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 dont endorse the GOPs pandering to illegal immigrants nor do I think its 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 its because I got good grades in my math and algebra, or maybe its because the democrats didnt--I dont know. But Ive done some calculations that show the democrats didnt 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 cant 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 its 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 its in the best interests of their populace to diversify their voting habits. This couldnt 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 its 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, Ill give you a simple example. Lets assume that whites vote 70% Republican, Hispanics 25% Republicans and blacks 10% Republican. Now, well 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%
Whats 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 thats 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 theyre 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 arent 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. Whats more, when democrats manage to spark a larger than usual turnout amongst minorities, its 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 states 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 theyre 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 wont 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 states 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We can certainly count on the Chronical to oppose Sanchez, though. You're right about that.
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:
So how does all this fit in to Texas? First of all, I want to emphasise that....
Another Massachussetts? Ouch ! That hurts!