Why I'm Willing to Give Texas Democrats All the Moral Victories They Wish to Claim

A line of mostly students wait to vote at a Texas primary election polling site on the University of Texas campus, Tuesday, March 6, 2018, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

A line of mostly students wait to vote at a Texas primary election polling site on the University of Texas campus, Tuesday, March 6, 2018, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)



If you were paying attention, at all, to the Texas primary you know that a lot of the left had invested in the “blue wave” idea:

Texas’s primary brings the first actual voting in the 2018 midterm cycle, giving both parties a chance for a more concrete measure ahead of November’s elections. Early signs of such a swell in a bulwark red state could be an even more ominous sign for Republicans nationally this fall if it’s borne out by Tuesday’s results.

“Texas is the nation’s bellwether right now,” said Tariq Thowfeek, the communications director for the Texas Democratic Party. “It’s a good gauge of the incredible progressive energy we have across the country in a state that is ranked at the bottom of the barrel in voter turnout.”

The Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman found that in the top 15 counties in the state, the Democratic early vote had spiked 105 percent over 2014 numbers. On the Republican side, there had been only a 15 percent uptick.

And you’ve probably seen this chart:


This is today’s coverage:

CNBC–Democrats, women candidates score big in Texas primaries


NBC–Democrats hope biggest Texas midterm primary turnout in 15 years starts national wave

The Guardian–Texas primary: Democratic turnout soars as Republicans stand their ground

The Wall Street Journal–High Turnout in Texas Primaries Shows Democratic Enthusiasm

The actual results were a lot more prosaic. As it turns out, the only early vote numbers reported were from the 12 most populous Texas counties. When the early vote tabulation was released


As a friend of mine who consumes Texas politics professionally says:

1) Nineteen of the 36 Congressional districts had primaries in both parties; of those the average Republican Congressional-district turnout was 157.52% of the average Democratic turnout: 45,462 to 28,862, respectively.
2) Of those 19, Republican turnout decisively exceeded Democratic in 16, nowhere with a close margin. The closest a Democratic turnout got was in district 32 (northeastern Dallas) where Republican turnout was 108.5% of the Democratic.
3) The three where the Democrats had higher turnout are districts 16, 23, and 29 — El Paso, Trans-Pecos to San Antonio, and eastern Houston respectively.
4) The Democrats ran candidates in all 36 districts.
5) The Republicans ran candidates in only 32 districts, failing to field anyone at all in districts 9 (southwestern Houston), 20 (San Antonio), 28 (San Antonio-Laredo), and 30 (south Dallas).
6) Aggregate statewide turnout for the Congressional races saw Republican turnout exceed Democratic by 132.31%.


The great Hispanic hope “Beto” O’Rourke looks fated to perform pretty much like Wendy Davis:

All in all, it is safe to say that nothing has changed in voting in Texas. One never knows what will happen in November but barring some deus ex machina, the Democrats were no more competitive this year than they have been in any other primary. If this was a blase GOP electorate competing with a fired up Democrat electorate, then November is going to be a huge disappointment for the Democrats.

So I’m willing to let them crow about the enthusiasm that early voting in twelve Democrat-friendly counties shows. It is the least I can do for a suffering fellow man during this Lent.


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