This is day one of the Battle of Texas, which is mostly marked by a website launch. Battleground Texas, the Democratic Party's efforts to shake the GOP hold on the state, officially starts today. The site comes with a nifty graphic showing a red Texas filling up with blue (it's pretty low right now).
Heading Battleground Texas is former Obama national field director Jeremy Bird, and I suppose if we're carrying this battle metaphor all the way then he's the general. Politico of course has more of the nitty-gritty: Bird is joined by digital director Christina Gomez, formerly the Democratic National Convention's digital strategist, and executive director Jenn Brown, the Obama campaign's Ohio field director. The hope seems to be that these two will do for the Democrats in Texas what they did for the Obama campaign in two key 2012 arenas (online fundraising that outstripped Romney's efforts and campaigning success in Ohio).
In the Democrats' corner is the growth of Latino populations and urban centers. In the Republicans' is, well, history. The last presidential candidate without an R suffix to win in Texas was Jimmy Carter in 1976 (Texas, among other places, turned on Carter in 1980). Governor Rick Perry told the Wall Street Journal that Texas going to the Democrats was "the biggest pipe dream I have ever heard."
Eventually making Texas as deeply blue as it is red now might be far-off/fanciful, but the more realistic goal is to make it a swing state. There are hopes (and concerns) of that happening as soon as 2016. Texas GOP Chair Steve Munisteri recently told Real Clear Politics that he's especially concerned about a purpling Texas if Hillary Clinton is aiming for the White House:
"If she's the nominee, I would say that this is a 'lean Republican' state but not a 'solid Republican' state," he said. "I don't know anyone nationally who's scoffing at this. The national party leadership is aware and tells me they're taking it seriously."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
The Democrats will probably need more than a blog and email newsletter, so it'll be interesting to see what kind of arsenal Battleground Texas plans to roll out. Let the battle begin.