In Ryan Lizza’s story in this week’s The New Yorker, Texas’ newly-elected Republican Senator Ted Cruz worries about the changing electoral landscape — and how it could get even less favourable for the GOP in coming years. Cruz provides what must be a truly terrifying thought for the Republican Party:
“In not too many years, Texas could switch from being all Republican to all Democrat,” he said. “If that happens, no Republican will ever again win the White House. New York and California are for the foreseeable future unalterably Democrat. If Texas turns bright blue, the Electoral College maths is simple. We won’t be talking about Ohio, we won’t be talking about Florida or Virginia, because it won’t matter. If Texas is bright blue, you can’t get to two-70 electoral votes. The Republican Party would cease to exist. We would become like the Whig Party. Our kids and grandkids would study how this used to be a national political party. ‘They had Conventions, they nominated Presidential candidates. They don’t exist anymore.'”
Mitt Romney already faced a tough road to the White House through the electoral map this year, and the country’s shifting demographics make the map an even bigger problem for the Republican Party in future elections.
Some Democrats think that Texas and Arizona could be the next to become swing states, and there were signs of a future Democratic invasion into these Southwestern states during the 2012 campaign, including San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro’s keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention.
Cruz is right: Without Texas’ 38 electoral votes, it would be virtually impossible for Republicans to win a presidential election. There is simply not a corresponding state that Republicans are targeting to go from blue to red.
Sylvia Manzano, an analyst at the polling firm Latino Decisions, said that Texas could be in play by as early as 2016 — if Democrats are willing to work for it and its steadily growing Latino population.
“The parties need to create their own destiny and pursue their own destiny,” Manzano told Business Insider. “The Latino behaviour in this election had a lot to do with the Obama campaign courting the Latino vote aggressively. If the Democratic Party uses a similar approach in the future, then we could see further swings.”
Still, despite the talk, Obama’s 2012 performance in both Texas and Arizona actually lagged behind 2008. Whether the states will continue to shift Democratic likely depends on what happens in a second Obama term.
And Manzano said Republicans can help blunt Democrats’ advances in the states by rectifying some of their mistakes with Latinos in this election.
“The 2012 results say more about the Republican Party than they do about Latinos,” Manzano said. “Latinos are not the ones who have changed. The people voting for Obama today are the same people who voted for George W. Bush not long ago.”
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