Texas Liberal

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Should Senator Obama Contest Texas Or Is It A Dry Well?

Should Barack Obama contest Texas?

Senator Obama should strongly contest Texas only if he has a real chance to win Texas.

It takes a lot of money to mount even the appearance of an effort in a big place like Texas.

In 2004, George W. Bush won 61.1% of the Texas vote.

While Mr. Bush was a home state candidate, this number is consistent with Republican statewide majorities in Texas in recent years.

The last time a 60% or higher state flipped parties in one election cycle was Arkansas in 1980.

Jimmy Carter won 65% in Arkansas in 1976. Ronald Reagan carried the state with 48% in 1980.

This had a lot to do with President Carter’s decision to place Cuban refugees in Arkansas and later rioting by these refugees. All that did not sit well with many Arkansans.     

Georgia was 59.8% state for George H.W. Bush in 1988. Bill Clinton won Georgia with 43.5% in 1992 in a three-way race. (Though, contrary to myth, Governor Clinton would have won that race even if Ross Perot had not run.)   

Many Southern states flipped from 60% for Richard Nixon in 1972 to wins for Jimmy Carter in 1976. But that involved a very weak Democratic ticket in 1972, and the unsual, for Democrats, Southern strength of Governor Carter.  

It is hard to see how Mr. Obama wins Texas. Or, should he prove viable in Texas, it will likely mean he has easily won the election elsewhere and Texas is not essential.

As things stand today, Senator Obama might do best to focus his attentions outside of Texas.

Texas is likely a dry well for Barack Obama.

June 18, 2008 - Posted by | Campaign 2008, Political History, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. I don’t know if it’s realistic to expect Obama to win Texas, but I think he can definitely be competitive here. He’ll probably benefit from a strong turn-out by African-American and young voters, and with Rick Noriega on the ballot, he can also benefit from an energized Hispanic vote if Noriega can improve on his name recognition and run a more competitive race.

    I think he should make an effort here, because if he can keep it relatively close in this media-rich state he’ll force the Republicans to blow a lot of money here, making them a lot more vulnerable in other states. And he could give a big boost to Noriega, who is running surprisingly close to Cornyn considering the disadvantages he faces. He could also help us in other down-ballot races. We have a decent chance of retaking a majority in the state house of reps, and we also stand to pick up a few seats in Congress. And the demographic trends in Texas are favorable to Democrats in the long run, but we need to rebuild the party at the grassroots here in order to take advantage of those trends. No better time to start than now.

    Comment by Big Tex | June 19, 2008

  2. I think Obama could do Texas Democrats some good as you well state, but the main focus for Obama has to be Obama and winning that race.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | June 20, 2008


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