The PJ Tatler

Can Democrats Give Texas The Blues?

Maybe not, but they’re at least going to try.

THE 2012 presidential race in Texas might as well have been in Mexico, so little did the Democrats campaign for the state’s 38 electoral votes.

Yet during a fund-raising swing on a sweltering July day, President Obama let a political secret out of the bag for his rich donors. “You’re not considered one of the battleground states,” he said, “although that’s going to be changing soon.”

Democrats are champing at the bit to turn Texas blue. “People are now looking at Texas and saying: ‘That’s where we need to make our next investment. That’s where the next opportunity lies,’ ” one Democratic state senator told Politico. There’s even optimistic chatter of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s capturing the state in 2016 if she runs for president.

The article acknowledges that this will be no easy accomplishment. The difference between the Democrats’ and Republicans’ approaches to such things is what matters here. The Democrats are always in strategy mode while the Republicans often behave as if fund raising were the only worthy off-year goal. California is a classic case. The Republicans have to scratch and claw for every electoral vote because it cedes the state to the Democrats every presidential election. They just scream “Demographics!” and wring their hands. But the California GOP has been a huge part of the problem. It has spent a couple decades (going back to Michael Huffington’s 1994 Senate run) generally just ferreting out wealthy, self-funded candidates that it doesn’t have to work too hard for in the money department (that’s an assessment given to me by a former Republican member of the California Assembly). Each spectacular failure weakens subsequent chances for the party.

It may be an uphill battle for the Democrats to turn Texas blue, but they’re at least thinking about committing time and resources to overhauling the state party. Because they are always fighting (get on the OFA email list and see what I mean). Hopefully, the Republicans will soon realize what they’re up against and respond in kind.