Dems Mess With Texas

Is this the year that Texas turns blue? Even if not, there’s no denying the political shift in the Lone Star State.

By Lisa Lerer

Hi. Welcome to On Politics, your guide to the day in national politics. I’m Lisa Lerer, your host.

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I started writing this newsletter today from the window seat of an airplane, flying over a country that is casting many, many ballots.

But even stranger than the experience of flying in a pandemic (they haven’t changed the movies since March!) might just be my destination.


Yes, the Texas of George W. Bush, former Gov. Rick Perry and cowboy conservatism. The place that last voted for a Democratic presidential candidate more than four decades ago. Ruby red, Grand Old Party Texas.

Something is clearly happening in the Lone Star State. The national press has descended — myself included. The state leads the country in early voting, with more than 8.5 million people having already cast ballots — that’s 95 percent of the total number of people who voted in Texas in 2016.

Democrats have been talking about Texas going blue for years, pointing to political shifts brought by the state’s fast-growing and diversifying population. Donald Trump has supercharged those changes, plunging the traditionally conservative suburbs into open revolt against what many college-educated voters, particularly women, see as a divisive presidency.

Take a place like Plano, a once-reliably conservative city north of Dallas that has tilted Democratic in the Trump era. After I landed, I went there this afternoon to see Senator John Cornyn fight for his political life.

“They want to turn Texas into California or New York,” Mr. Cornyn warned at a campaign stop, littering his remarks with attacks on Democrats like Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer. “This is for all the marbles.”

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