Barack Obama lost Texas by eleven points. Thatâ€™s why my state is always such an afterthought in presidential politics. Weâ€™re crimson red, right? Hold that thought.
Something interesting occurred in this election. While Obama improved on John Kerryâ€™s overall state numbers by just six points, he won the counties where the stateâ€™s four largest cities are located. Dallas County went 57/42 for Obama, Harris County (Houston) went 50/49, Bexar County (San Antonio) went 52/47 and Travis County (Austin) went 64/35. Of those, only Travis County didnâ€™t favor Bush four years ago.
Why does this matter? Traditionally, successful statewide candidates get their starts in the larger cities. If a national Democratic candidate can win Texasâ€™ major cities, there is plenty of reason to believe locally tailored Democratic candidates can perform even better.
This reality should be of concern to the Republicans who currently dominate Texas politics. Democrats might not have time to build up their strength before the anticipated special-election for Senator in 2010 (Kay Bailey Hutchinson is set to retire), but Obamaâ€™s strong performance in the major cities here must give the Democrats the most hope theyâ€™ve had in 20 years. Particularly when you factor in that 54% of the stateâ€™s next wave of voters (the 18-30 year-olds) went for Obama.
I donâ€™t predict Texas â€œgoing blueâ€ anytime soon, but I think the state is trending more moderate and the days of one-party control are waning.
And thatâ€™s a peek at some local politics in the nationâ€™s second most-populous state.