Texas Is Not Turning Blue Anytime Soon

An analysis of data compiled and released by The New York Times surmises that, despite the hopes and claims of groups like Battleground Texas, Texas is unlikely to become a Democratic stronghold, or even a consistent battleground, anytime soon.

The reason? Unlike other southern states that have seen swings in voting patterns -- like North Carolina or Virginia -- Texas' population growth stems largely from a high in-state birth rate and migration from outside of the United States, rather than regional migration within the United States.

Those factors mean the state has a low non-southern born population (14 percent of Texas residents) and a high foreign-born population (17 percent). Southern-born voters are far more likely to vote Republican. Immigrant residents are far less likely to be able to vote at all. In Virginia, by comparison, 27 percent of the population is non-southern born.

Residents do come to Texas from other states in large numbers -- there are 600,000 California transplants here -- but the state's large population size mitigates any potential political shift.

Nate Cohn concludes in the Times that the only quick way forward for Democrats in the state is winning over the group they struggle with most.

"Without additional gains among white voters, Democrats will be forced to wait a long time for the children of foreign-born residents to carry them to competitiveness in Texas, a state that Mr. Obama lost by 17 points in 2012," he writes.

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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young