The group Battleground Texas, salivating over the growing number of minorities in the state, organized in February last year with the expressed purpose “to turn Texas blue” the designated color for Democrats.
Increased voter registration (particularly among Hispanics), use of technology like in President Barack Obama’s election and a curated surge in turnout were to make Texas more of a battleground state if not majority Democratic.
About the only thing blue to come out of Tuesday’s elections was the mood of a Democratic Party once again bereft of any victories in statewide races.
Even worse for them, Republicans swept the statewide contests by 20 points or more, significantly greater than their margins four years ago.
State Sen. Wendy Davis, the Fort Worth Democrat running for governor, conceded defeat less than three hours after polls closed. Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate, won with more than 59 percent of the vote.
In the race for lieutenant governor, Republican Dan Patrick won 58 percent against his Democratic opponent, Leticia Van de Putte.
While Democrats had said they had a successful voter registration drive over the past 18 months, they obviously did not get those voters to the polls in large enough numbers to turn the state purple, much less blue.
Davis and her fellow Democrats turned off — or simply didn’t turn on — the traditional party base, and they did not create sufficient appeal for the female voters she was hoping to attract with her message of standing up for women’s rights.
Abbott had a pronounced message against Obama and Washington interference and a constant call for protecting the border, all of which apparently resonated with Texans.
He even drew 44 percent of the Hispanic vote, the largest for a Republican since Georgee W. Bush in his first run for governor.
The state leadership will be decidedly more conservative next year, particularly with Tea Party-backed Patrick as president of the Senate and Ken Paxton the state’s new attorney general.
Democrats must figure out what they can do different if they are ever to be a force again in Texas politics. They failed miserably this year.