Democrats have long dreamed (and spoken) of winning Texas in a presidential election, but it hasn't actually happened since 1976, when Jimmy Carter carried the Lone Star State over Gerald Ford. Since then, Republicans have garnered Texas' electoral votes in every single presidential race, most by a comfortable or wide margin.
Cue 2020, shaping up to be perhaps the most bizarre of presidential election years ever, and this time Democrats think they really do have a chance to snare Texas. Dems tout recent polls showing the race in Texas too close to call between Biden and Trump, along with recent national polls favoring Biden. For its part, the Trump campaign is not taking Texas for granted, committing plenty of resources here.
We've been down this road before. In 2016 Democrats claimed Texas was in play with similar polls showing a close race here and Hillary Clinton leading nationally...and Trump ended up winning 30 states, including Texas by nine points.
Cal Jillson, political science professor at Southern Methodist University, still gives Trump a slight advantage. "I assume that (Trump) wins Texas narrowly," he says. "Trump won Texas by nine points in 2016, I thought for a long time that he would win Texas (this year) by four or five...it looks like it might be a little bit closer than that."
Jillson acknowledges Trump's poll numbers have been down in recent weeks, but there is still a lot of time left until Election Day. "We have a long way to go, and over that period of time you can imagine how Trump would recover his balance," he says. "What would give Trump a bump is if the coronavirus seems to be coming under control and the economy seems to be recovering."
"If you were going to bet with your idiot cousin, you'd probably want to put money on Biden in the national election, and maybe bet on Trump in Texas," says Jillson.