2020 Presidential Elections State-by-State Guide: Texas is safe GOP but Trump's 2016 win has pundits interested
The Lone Star State has been won by the Republicans in every presidential election since 1980, but Trump's 2016 opponent Ted Cruz has warned that it could be a tricky situation in Texas this time
March 3, 2020 (Tuesday)
Primary Type: Open
Democratic Delegates: 262 (228 pledged, 34 super)
Greg Abbott (Republican)
John Cornyn (R) & Ted Cruz (R)
Twenty-three Republicans: Louie Gohmert Junior (1st District), Dan Crenshaw (2nd district), Van Taylor (3rd district), John Ratcliffe (4th district), Lance Gooden (5th district), Ron Wright (6th district), Kevin Brady (8th district), Michael McCaul (10th district), Michael Conaway (11th district), Kay Granger (12th district), Mac Thornberry (13th district), Randy Weber (14th district), Bill Flores (17th district), Jodey Arrington (19th district), Chip Roy (21st district), Pete Olsen (22nd district), Will Hurd (23rd district), Kenny Marchant (24th district), Roger Williams (25th district), Michael Burgess (26th district), Michael Cloud (27th district), John Carter (31st district), Brian Babin (36th district);
Thirteen Democrats: Lizzie Fletcher (7th district), Al Green (9th district), Vicente Gonzalez (15th district), Veronica Escobar (16th district), Sheila Jackson Lee (18th district), Joaquin Castro (20th district), Henry Cueller (28th district), Sylvia Garcia (29th district), Eddie Johnson (30th district), Colin Allred (32nd district), Marc Veasy (33rd district), Filemon Vela (34th district), Lloyd Doggett (35th district).
Electoral College Members: 38
Donald Trump won all in 2016
How Texas has voted in past presidential elections
The Lone Star State became a state in December 1845 and took part in its first presidential election three years later. It seceded from the Union in 1861 and was not included in either the 1864 or 1868 election. Between 1872 and 1976, the Democrats dominated Texas in several elections but things changed since 1980 and Texas has remained a red state thereafter. The presence of a ‘Bush’, a local surname, in every election between 1980 to 2004 (except 1996) made Texas all the more red. In 2016, Trump beat Hillary by 52 to 43 percent. Two of the state’s faithless electors voted for John Kasich and Ron Paul.
America’s second-largest state Texas is a high-profile state since it offers 38 electoral votes, making it the second biggest prize after California (55). Because of its rapid population growth, Texas is set to gain four more votes after this year’s election to go to 42.
A GOP fort but its win margin came down in 2016
It’s been ages that Texas has elected a Democratic presidential candidate or even a candidate from that party for a statewide position. But yet when Texas remains Republican, its demographics have begun reshaping its politics. The state is now a majority-minority one and though Trump won it in 2016, the GOP’s victory margin came down significantly compared to 2012 when Mitt Romney humbled Barack Obama.
Texas, along with California, is one of the major political states in contemporary American politics. In the 14 presidential elections since 1960, Americans have elected Texans four times as they did with Californians. Texas’ border problem with Mexico also has an impact on its demography and overall political life. The state is 44 percent white today, 22 percent less than what it was in 1980 and lower than any state other than California, New Mexico and Hawaii. Hispanics today account for 37 percent of the population of Texas, blacks 12 percent and Asians five percent.
Texas is though predominantly Republican but demographic factors seem to threaten the GOP in the state in times to come. The rural and suburbs are Republican strongholds but that dominance has come under threat by the rise of population in the other parts of the state. The Texan Democratic Party is more urban-centric with influence in some rural counties. The state has seen its heavyweight leader like Ted Cruz getting challenged by Beto O’Rourke -- both of whom have had unsuccessful presidential bids.
Texas and 2020 presidential elections
Surveys ahead of the Super Tuesday predicted a tight Democratic race in Texas as 228 delegates are up for grabs. A poll by University of Houston in February showed a tie between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden with Elizabeth Warren trailing by just three points. A UMass Lowell poll, on the other hand, showed Sanders having a three-point edge over Biden and Michael Bloomberg positioned five points behind. After his super show in Hispanics-influenced Nevada, Sanders is also likely to do well in Texas where also the Hispanics play a big role. In the 2016 Democratic primary in Texas, Hillary beat Sanders by 32 percentage points. As per forecasts made by FiveThirtyEight, Sanders is leading the fray with 52 percent of votes while Biden is second at 35 percent.
In the GOP camp, local hero Cruz humbled Trump by 17 percent in the Republican primary in Texas in 2016. This time, Trump has little or no opposition in the primary and has a good approval rate but will be tested on November 3 against his Democratic opponent.
Cruz has issued warnings over the possibility of Trump losing Texas this time (he expects a “staggering Democratic turn-out”) and the president himself has made as many as six visits to the state in the past one year or so to improve the GOP’s standings. This, when compared to factors that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been making frequent visits to the state as well to raise money and the Democratic Congressional Committee setting up an office in Texas for the first time ever, one can indeed sense that a competitive environment is visible in the state this time around.