Hope springs eternal for long-suffering Texas Democrats, as they head into the 2018 elections looking to end the worst losing streak of any political party in any state in the country. The Dems have not won a statewide race in Texas since 1994, while the GOP has run up large margins in the state legislature and in the state's Congressional delegation in that time.
In recent years, Democrats have pledged to "turn Texas blue" by trying to energize the state's growing Hispanic population and finding more attractive statewide candidates. But that strategy has yet to yield any positive results. Ross Ramsey, executive editor of the Texas Tribune and longtime observer of state politics, says it comes down to simple arithmetic. "The problem the Democrats have to overcome is that the Republicans outnumber them," he tells KTRH. "Almost twice as many people vote in (Texas) Republican primaries as Democratic primaries, and in the general elections, which over the last few years Democrats have lost by 12 to 20-point margins."
One area where Democrats have made inroads is in urban centers. A statewide map of the 2016 Presidential election shows Dems carried the counties that include Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Austin. But that wasn't enough, as Donald Trump carried the state by eight points. "Democrats don't stack up big enough margins in the cities to overcome the Republican margins in the rest of the state," says Ramsey. "And the number of people voting in the rest of the state is considerable."
Democrats are putting up a fight in 2018, with nine candidates running for governor and several others challenging for competitive GOP seats in the state legislature and in Congress. But Ramsey believes the best they can hope for is steady progress. "(Democrats) have the opportunity to pull off some upsets in Texas," he says. "But the idea that a 'blue wave' will turn the state blue, I think, is at least a few years off."