The Next State to Cause Commotion on the National Scene: Texas

22 Feb
texas our texas

texas our texas (Photo credit: jmtimages)

Removing Alaska, Texas is the largest state in area.  Removing California, Texas is the most populated.  Texas is just plain big.  It has the largest number of counties within its borders.  It is the only state whose flag can be flown at the same level as the United States’.  “Everything is bigger in Texas” seems to be true in many respects, and it will be soon true on the national scene of politics.

Politico‘s “Lone Star Rising” article profiles the state and its looming implications on national politics.  Ted Cruz‘s election as a US Senator has not dampened his bona fide Tea Party affiliations and perspectives unlike that of Marco Rubio of Florida.  John Conryn, Texas’ senior senator, has essentially buddy-upped with Cruz to prevent being ‘primaried’ like what happened to Bob Bennett of Utah by Mike Lee.

Geographically, it is a border state and a microcosm of what is happening to other Republicans on the issue of immigration.  The schism between what to do is affecting what Texas politicians will lean on: Texas-sensibility or Republican-orthodoxy.  Republican politicians are all over the map of what to do.

In terms of state politics, it is nearly like the antipodes of California.  Texas has all Republican statewide offices; California has Democrats occupying all statewide offices. Each state has a supermajority of both houses of its state legislatures occupied.  However, unlike California, Texas is being talked about as a swing state in both statewide and presidential terms.  Like the Politico article surmises, the demographics of Texas is turning it more blue, but Democrats can’t rely on, and Republicans can’t fear, the growing Hispanic population.  Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), one of the twin Castro brothers, said it best, “[I]t’s not going to happen on demographics alone.”

What Texas will do is anyone’s guess, but politicians will be looking to it for the next decade.

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4 Responses to “The Next State to Cause Commotion on the National Scene: Texas”

  1. Tracy Goodwin February 22, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    If TX becomes a swing state that would completely alter national politics. TX is big enough to swing a presidential election. And who knows what would happen if TX state legislature went blue?

    Though I can see TX as being a microcosm for the GOP. The shifting demographics of the nation are well represented in TX, in fact TX is probably shifting faster than the country as a whole. Which means that as the GOP tries to determine their strategy moving forward they will see how it plays out in TX and that may influence how they apply it to the nation.

    • ronarruejo February 23, 2013 at 9:49 am #

      I definitely agree that Texas becoming a swing state would be momentous. I don’t really see that happening in the 2016 elections; I’d think that Democrats would more likely push get less expensive states such as North Carolina, Arizona, Montana, and Georgia in the ‘swing state’ and probably only ceding Missouri (a traditional bell-weather state). Republicans’ best bet to turn some blue states into swing states might be Michigan, along with Pennsylvania and maybe Wisconsin. The trend certainly is in the Democrats favor. If we are heading toward a swing/blue state trend with Texas, I’d suppose their state legislature would turn blue before it does on the federal level. State legislatures are more iffy in terms of majority party rule, but wouldn’t necessarily mean that state legislature composition equals presidential vote (i.e. Southern Democrats are much more conservative in terms of policy than the national and vice versa for Northeast Republicans).

      I concede that microcosm isn’t exactly the best word to attribute to GOP Texans in relation to the GOP at-large. Texas is basically booming past every other state in terms of population, minority percentage, and the state economy. The national GOP does need to look at the Texas GOP for how they deal with touchy subjects like immigration. Whatever you will say about Perry (esp. in light of his many gaffes on the national scene), his views on giving in-state tuition to undocumented students and other issues dealing with illegal immigration were the norm within the Texas GOP and will most likely need to be adopted if the national GOP ever wants to capture the White House to talk about their other issues.

      • Tracy Goodwin February 23, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

        Perry’s giving undocumented students in state tuition is one of the few things I agree with Perry on. I live in TX and I am not fond of much of what he does.

        Also I agree that TX will not be a swing state in 2016, AZ might but not TX. It will take a bit longer for the demographics to shift and Hispanics don’t vote at a high rate proportionally. But I don’t know if the state government would shift first or last. There are states that went blue in the presidential election that have red legislatures and / or governors. So I don’t know which would flip first.

      • ronarruejo February 23, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

        Ahh, you’re right about which would flip first. A state legislature flip would not necessarily portend a similar presidential vote or vice versa. Also, state/district politics could be the overriding factor in state/district-specific elections, although, they could also work in tandem with down-ballot candidates running on the presidential coattails. Basically, one never knows.

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