After making steady gains in 2016 and 2018, Democrats thought 2020 was the year they could finally break through and turn Texas blue, as they have long promised. But their planned blue wave crashed into a red wall on Election Day. Dems failed to win a statewide race again (they haven't won one since 1994), failed to flip any Congressional districts in the state, and came up short in their push to gain control of the Texas House.
That last failure may be the biggest of all, because keeping the majority in the state house means the GOP will again control the redistricting process in next year's legislature. "When it comes to redistricting, everyone knows that every ten years it is probably the most important issue that state legislatures face, and that will most directly affect the lives of citizens," says Vlad Davidiuk, Houston-based Republican strategist. "The way you draw the lines reflects who's going to represent you in the legislature and in Congress, and that's supremely important."
While Republicans will be drawing the new boundaries for state legislature and Congressional districts, they did pretty well this year under the existing boundaries. "Look at what Republicans did in the Rio Grande Valley," says Davidiuk. "Districts that were solid blue, Hispanic-majority districts that we were told would never vote Republican, actually flipped and supported President Trump and the Republican agenda."
Ultimately, this year's success means Republicans should be able to strengthen their hold on Texas in the next few years. "I think Texas is safely red for the foreseeable future," says Davidiuk. "But, Republicans still have to deliver, Republicans still have to provide answers to their constituents...we can't just rest on our laurels."