Progressives made huge gains last year up and down the ballot in the Lone Star State. Arch-conservative Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick won by, what, less than five points? And Sen.Ted Cruz by less than three. Unheard of. Houston went blue through and through while Dallas got bluer. African-American women won historic judicial elections in Harris County.
Now, Texas is a battleground state ahead of 2020. President Trump is underwater here, which could explain why it’s wheels down in Texas for this White House.
All of this is to say: Outright winning statewide is – after decades in the wilderness —a legit possibility for Democrats in 2020 and 2022. The party is now investing in building the badly needed infrastructure to make it happen. The Democratic political machine, after all, has been on a low hum for decades.
- The U.S. House Democratic campaign arm announced it’s opening a Texas headquarters in Austin. This is in addition to creating “battleground stations” in Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio suburbs.
- The Texas Democratic Party has opened a multi-million dollar War Room to take on John Cornyn in the U.S. Senate race. This is about going on offense.
- The impact of progressive organizations is being heard, seen, and felt. Annie’s List help elect 31 of its 37 endorsed candidates — all women. The Texas Organizing Project has been mad registering and turning out voters. Jolt is a new group churning out quick results in the Latinx community. And the ACLU of Texas and the Texas Civil Rights Project have legally jumped all over Texas Sec. of State David Whitley’s attempted voter roll purge of thousands of eligible voters.
- Democratic presidential candidates — beyond the home-state candidacies of Julián Castro and Beto O’Rourke — are drumming up press and social media attention, which only helps amplify the progressive message statewide.
Given the size of the state, does more investment need to happen? Absolutely, but the message to the Texas GOP? It’s on like Donkey Kong.
This article has been updated since original publication.