Richard Greene

May 3, 2014

National media hand-wringing about Texas Democrats

Turning Texas blue is more difficult than Democrats imagined.

With about six months to go, let’s check in on how things seem to be shaping up for what could be the most important state and mid-term elections in many years.

As Barack Obama’s approval ratings fall to the lowest level of his presidency, the mainstream media is doing lots of hand-wringing — perhaps more so in Texas than anywhere else.

Even the most left-leaning of news outlets recognize that the journey of turning the state blue has become more of an uphill climb than they imagined when state Sen. Wendy Davis entered the governor’s race.

With the composite of major polling results continuing to show Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott leading by double digits, it would seem that launching a campaign opposed to more protection for the lives of unborn babies wasn’t such a great idea.

But the national media concern over what’s happening in Texas goes beyond the Abbott-Davis contest.

Just a couple of weeks ago, The New York Times sounded the alarm about what it will mean when Wendy’s seat in the Texas Senate is again occupied by a Republican.

The article explained that this outcome could result in Democrats not having the votes needed to block legislation and even more conservative measures becoming law.

Democrat Libby Willis, who will face the winner of the Konni Burton-Mark Shelton Republican primary runoff this month, immediately appropriated the Times report for her big Annie’s List fundraiser later this month.

Next came a Washington Post lament that Democrat hopes in Texas were suffering from the lack of Hispanic voter participation in the state’s elections.

In a story that led off with a declaration that Republicans were facing a major demographic problem and that “reforming the nation’s immigration laws could very well create a whole bunch of new Democrats,” it went on to become more of a call to arms for Hispanics to seize control in Texas.

The analysis showed that 37 percent of the state’s population is now Hispanic, but only 30 percent of them with citizenship, and only 22 percent “voters.”

With some degree of enthusiasm, the Post report concluded that the route to a quick change in the country’s electoral map — meaning a blue Texas — could be achieved by mobilizing what is thought to be a Democratic juggernaut.

Regardless of such hopes and dreams, that’s not going to happen. At least not yet. Thankfully, there are all kinds of obstacles that have to be cleared before the country’s journey down the road of socialism is accelerated.

The same Washington Post, together with its ABC News partner, found in its own latest polling that Democrats have more concerns to deal with than just the free-fall in the president’s popularity.

His handling of the economy is favored by just 42 percent of voters, only 37 percent approve of how he is managing the implementation of his signature government healthcare program, and merely 34 percent say they are impressed with his leadership involving Ukraine and Russia.

In the most revealing question of what voters’ intentions seem to be come November, only 39 percent of them say it is important to have Democrats in charge in Congress to help support Obama’s policies.

By a 53 percent majority, voters say Republicans should be in control to keep the president’s powers in check.

All this suggests a couple of things. First, Texas will be as red, or redder, than ever. Second, if (and this is a big if) the right Republican presidential candidate emerges from the field, Hillary Clinton may not be so much the heiress apparent after all.

Richard Greene is a former Arlington mayor and served as an appointee of President George W. Bush as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.

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