Monday, March 21, 2016

If Trump is the GOP Nominee, Clinton Could Win Texas

Hillary Clinton and Julián Castro in San Antonio, Oct 2015
We see a lot of polls around here. Sometimes they are surprising, but usually they aren't. Then there's that rare poll that that makes you do a double or even triple take...one that suggests that something crazy may be afoot. Such is the case with last weekend's poll that showed Hillary Clinton beating Donald Trump by two points in...wait for it...Utah!

Yes, that's the same Utah that voted for McCain over Obama by 28 points in 2008 and for Romney over Obama by 48 points in 2012.

True, it's just one poll in just one state but it backs up something that I've been thinking for a while now: If Donald Trump is the GOP nominee, Hillary Clinton could win Texas.

You heard me.

Let's remember that Obama's losses in Texas were relatively respectable compared to the bloodbaths in Utah: By 12 points in 2008 and 16 points in 2012. Those margins aren't exactly close, but it does mean that Texas will most likely turn blue before Utah does. Then there's this Texas Lyceum poll from last fall which shows the state as a total toss-up with a ton of undecideds.

The consensus opinion seems to be that Texas will be turning purple-to-blue over the next decades anyway because of changing demographics, but that 2016 is probably too soon to hope for. But is it, really? I'm not so sure.

For this political miracle/earthquake to take place, a few things would probably need to happen:

-Obviously, Trump has to defeat Cruz and be the nominee. Local boy Ted would probably carry the state, as sad as that is.

-Clinton picks popular former San Antonio mayor and current HUD Secretary Julián Castro to be her running mate. What better way to activate and motivate the Hispanic vote in Texas like never before, and what better contrast to the hate-filled anti-immigrant rhetoric of Trump? Besides, doesn't "Hillary/Julián 2016" have a lovely musical ring to it?

-The voter participation rates in the state are among the worst in the nation. So Texas Democrats will need to actually show up, but we'll also need to register many hundreds of thousands of new Hispanic voters across the state as well. Oh wait...that's already happening.

-It also wouldn't hurt one bit if establishment Republicans split and form a third party when Trump gets the nomination. That could happen.

While it's easy to get excited about this possibility, a bit of pragmatism is probably in order here: It would be wise for the Clinton campaign to officially consider Texas a long shot for now while keeping their heavy focus on key swing states like Florida, Ohio and Virginia.

But a long shot isn't the same as a pipe dream.

If the Lone Star State goes for Hillary Clinton this November, it would break the back of the Republican Party in the most humiliating way possible and change the political course of the state and nation for a generation or longer.

Sounds like fun. Let's make it happen, y'all.

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