North Texas Daily

Texas is officially a battleground state

Texas is officially a battleground state

Texas is officially a battleground state
August 27
23:22 2020

Both Joe Biden and Donald Trump’s presidential campaigns have shifted focus from the Rust Belt to the Sun Belt. This pivot can best be characterized with the famous quote from Davy Crockett who declared “you may all go to hell and I’ll go to Texas,” after bitterly losing a congressional election in Tennessee, prompting his departure to Texas.

New polls from Morning Consult and CBS News/YouGov polling explain where the gained attention surrounding Texas from both campaigns, suggesting that Biden is leading Texas by one percentage point or well within the margin of error. Election forecasters have reacted to surprising polling recategorizing Texas from likely Republican or leaning Republican to a toss-up.

This establishes a new election possibility that Texas will become the largest battleground state, with an election deciding 38 electoral votes. Even if Trump won every single swing state of Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin, a combined total of 126 electoral votes, flipping Texas would still break the election in favor of Biden.

Trump’s campaign is scrambling with the president’s reelection hopes now depending on the Lone Star State’s vote. New Trump campaign manager replacement Bill Stepien has refocused ad strategy from spending in the critical battleground and rust belt state of Michigan, which Trump won in 2016 by a narrow margin of 0.23 percent, to the now-contested Sun Belt state of Texas. In that same election the margin voting for Trump in Texas was 9 percent, a figure commonly used by Beto O’Rourke in favor of the possibility of a Democrat winning an election in Texas. On Election Day, O’Rourke lost to Republican Ted Cruz by an even thinner margin of 2.6 percent.

2018 was the closest U.S. Senate race in Texas history since 1978 when Republican John Tower edged out Democrat Bob Krueger with a victory of 49.8 percent over 49.3 percent. During that election, Bob Krueger had the advantage of being the current incumbent but still lost, causing him to be the last Democrat to serve as a United States Senator from Texas. Similar to Krueger, Trump could possibly be the last Republican presidential nominee to win with the electoral college vote of Texas.

The historical precedent of Texas being a Republican stronghold shattering could be attributed to a major demographic change as the Latinx population of Texas continues to increase. 38.2 percent of Texans are now Latinx, empowering them as the state’s second-largest voting block. Seventy percent of Latinx now disapprove of Trump’s job performance, indicating the state of the 2020 race in Texas is growing more contested than ever.

“I just cannot believe someone who is supposed to unite the country has done nothing but split us more apart.” UNT JOLT’s Secretary Ashleigh Gutierrez said. “I am frustrated, hurt and angry by his racist rhetoric towards anyone. It also shook me to my core to know that people support his racist words and actions.”

The racist and fascistic proposal from Trump to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, as a solution to a broken U.S. immigration system in need of sweeping progressive reform and his bigotry wrongly depicting Mexicans as “criminals, drug dealers, rapists” has galvanized the opposition of Latinx voters.

“I feel that Latinx Americans can focus their galvanization by voting,” Gutierrez said. “We need to register our family and neighbors that are eligible to vote.”

Predictions have become unsure of Republican Senator John Cornyn’s ability to fend off Democratic challenger M. J. Hegar, which demonstrates that Trump’s coattails aren’t long enough to push down-ballot Republicans into office. Weak down-ballot support from Trump potentially harms the election hopes of every Republican running in 2020 including the 16-seat majority Republicans have in the Texas House of Representatives and the 7-seat majority the party enjoys in the Texas State Senate.

Some Republicans are still clinging to Trump, such as Beth Van Duyne running for the congressional seat of TX-24 that includes parts of Denton County. Duyne commonly flaunts her endorsement and photo-op from Donald Trump as a reason to vote for her over Democratic candidate Candace Valenzuela. Duyne’s persistent reference to Trump’s endorsement demonstrates how she is clearly unfit for a liberalizing electorate.

“Donald Trump and Beth Van Duyne are two peas in a pod. They share the same agenda to jack up healthcare costs for millions of Texans and destroy protections for folks with pre-existing conditions during a global pandemic. That’s unacceptable, and voters in North Texas are ready to stand up to Trump and his divisive enablers,” Valenzuela’s campaign manager Geoff Simpson said about the endorsement from Trump.

“Candace Valenzuela knows what it’s like to have a pre-existing condition and struggle to pay healthcare bills,” Simpson said. “Trump and Van Duyne don’t have a clue. Candace is bringing this community together and building a grassroots coalition that’s going to defeat both Trump and Van Duyne in November.” Beth Van Duyne’s campaign manager Donald Rickard was contacted and did not respond.

Texans should no longer feel as if their vote doesn’t matter since Texas has always in recent memory elected Republicans. The margin in Texas tightens every election and now Texas will be at the center of the race. Our state now has the responsibility only a handful of swing states have possessed, making us the kingmaker of the 2020 presidential election.

Featured Illustration by Miranda Thomas

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Maxine Davis

Maxine Davis

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1 Comment

  1. Boi Wonder
    Boi Wonder August 29, 11:14

    Good job on the article Brett. Just be sure to provide actual data from academic sources (since you have access to those sources as a college student) rather than pulling ideas from news sources that many times provide partisan predictions. Example: the 2016 election in regards to Hillary’s predicted victory by news sources like CNN, MSNBC, CBS, etc.
    In order to have true data, you’d have to poll every person in the state of Texas, not just the Dallas, Austin, or Houston locales.
    So, it’s a nice opinion piece. But, if you’d like to provide factual journalism —unlike many media sources today— I’d advise doing the research and finding an organization that would back you up. Good luck!

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