Thursday, November 13, 2008

Don't Hold Your Breath Waiting For Texas To Turn Blue

By Manifesto Joe

Amid Democratic/progressive/liberal euphoria, most understandable after the past eight years, there's been talk that even states like my home sweet home Texas could possibly be flipped for the Dems, and soon.

Don't hold your breath waiting for Texans to turn blue. You'll literally turn blue long before. We've got another generation to go here before the demographics of this very distinctive but chauvinistic state will change that much.

The percentage breakdown (all figures courtesy CNN Politics) was 55% McCain, 44% Obama, 1% all others. That was promising, surprisingly good at 44% for a mixed-race liberal Democrat in a state that still has so many Dixiecrats.

The urban areas are where you can see the changes that are eventually coming. In Dallas County, Obama kicked McCain's ass shockingly, 57-42%. Travis County (home of dear old liberal college town Austin) it was 64-35% Obama!!!

Obama pulled out Harris County (Houston, America's 4th-largest city), 50-49%. There, the African-American vote, 95% for Obama, was the clear difference. He won Bexar County (San Antonio) by a decent margin, 52-47%, and that's in a place with a big military vote. The dominance of Obama in Hispanic Texas was most obvious in El Paso County, 66-33% -- and there's a big military vote there, too. He also took most of deep South Texas, my old stomping grounds.

Even in Tarrant County, which has become Texas' answer to California's right-wing Orange County, there was good news for Democrats. Fort Worth delivered for Republicans much as it has in recent years, making the county breakdown the very same as the state's, 55-44% for Big Mac. There's a lot of old oil and gas money there that more than offsets the minority voting blocs. But the Dallas-FortWorth midcity of Arlington, home of centrally located amusement parks and sports stadiums, split 50-50%. The demographics there are definitely changing.

But there was plenty of discouraging news. Nueces County (Corpus Christi) is largely Hispanic, but went 52-47% for McCain. There must still be lots of priest-ridden Catholics down there. And when you track the vote out into the boondocks -- East Texas, outlying central areas of the Hill Country, the South Plains, the Panhandle, the rest of the west ... well, McCain just cleaned up.

Candidly, the story is just this simple. McCain and the other Republicans held on to the redneck vote.

It's discouraging, in that the Democratic Party actually fielded a fine candidate for U.S. Senate, state Rep. Rick Noriega of Houston. Noriega polled just about evenly with Obama in a race against one of the most vapid (but well-funded) members of the Senate, Bush cheerleader John Cornyn.

What is clear from the results is that there is still a deeply ingrained "rube" vote in this state, the kind of people who would never, ever have given Obama any decent hearing, let alone serious consideration. I will refrain from using any stronger language about them.

Significantly, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram recently reported that many voters in Wise County, some of them Democrats, voted the straight GOP ticket because they wouldn't vote for any Democrats on a ticket headed by Obama. In so doing, they elected a guy to the office of constable who is affiliated with the Minuteman vigilante organization, devoted to chasing real or supposed illegal immigrants around the state.

Change can eventually come to places like my home state. But sadly, it is often glacial in pace. I got used to being in the beleaguered minority many years ago, so I can live with it for now. I hope, along with the optimists among progressives, to see it change before I die.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

1 comment:

Chris said...

I don't think that Texas will turn blue realistically anytime soon. On the other hand, the change in Virginia, a traditionally very conservative state is encouraging, so maybe things are happening. On the other hand, the only change is happening in the urban centers versus the more rural (red) areas.