Sunday, October 20, 2019

"Texodus" Bodes Badly for Republicans

Like many Republicans who ultimately became "Never Trumpers," for years George Will served as an apologist for many of the forces within the GOP base - e.g., Christofascists and others who would use religion and a perverted version of "religious freedom" as a basis to harm others while grabbing special rights for themselves.  Then, of course, there were the dog whistle racists who paved the way for the outright white supremacists who now comprise a significant portion of the party base. Both of these factions of the GOP base helped hand Trump the nomination and helped him eek out an Electoral College win despite losing the popular vote by 3,000,000 votes. Belatedly, in my view, Will is playing Cassandra for the Texas Republican Party that has grown increasingly extreme and shamelessly panders to racists and the ugliest and often most ignorant elements of the evangelicals in Texas. The problem the Texas GOP faces is what has already happened in Virginia: the population has changed racially, become increasingly suburban, and finds the GOP's racism and religious zealotry disgusting and loathsome.  In a column in the Washington Post, Will warns the Texas GOP to learn the new reality before it is too late.  Here are excerpts:
I am a classically trained engineer,” says Rep. Will Hurd, a Texas Republican . . . . And he sees portents that his blinkered party would be prudent to notice.
Hurd is one of six Texas Republican congressman who have decided not to seek reelection next year. Until this year, none of them had, since 2011, experienced the purgatory of being in the House minority. In the 2018 “Texodus,” five Texas Republican representatives retired (a sixth resigned) and two were defeated. Of the 241 Republicans in the House when President Trump was inaugurated, almost 40 percent are gone or going. See a trend?
His district, which includes 23 percent of Texas’s land and extends from San Antonio’s fringe to New Mexico’s border, is the state’s largest, encompassing all or parts of 29 counties and 820 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. It is 58,000 square milesalmost as big as Georgia and larger than Illinois and 25 other states. It is 69 percent Hispanic and just 4 percent African American.
Hurd, an articulate, assertive 6-foot-4 former CIA operative and the only African American Republican in the House, thinks voting trends “are moving so fast” that 2020 “has nothing to do with 2016.” Just as “U.S. economic and military dominance are no longer guaranteed,” neither is Republican dominance in Texas, a state that is hardly immune to national trends.
In the 2016 House of Representatives elections, no Republican incumbent from Texas lost . . . In 2018, there were eight losses, and 16 won with less than 55 percent. . . . Nationally, Republicans are decreasingly strong where two generations ago they were especially robust — in suburbs. Texas ranks high among the states in terms of the percentage of the population that is suburban. And statewide, whites are a minority.
In Texas’s most important 2018 contest for a federal office, incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz won by just three. See a trend?
If the Democratic Party can collect Texas’s electoral votes — 38 today, perhaps 41 after the 2020 Census — as well as California’s 55, it will reap 35.5 percent of a winning 270 from just two states. Then the GOP will have almost no plausible path to 270. . . .
And Hurd will repeat what he says today: Texas is “already purple.” Republicans “have to get out of our own way” because “if the Republican Party in Texas does not start looking like Texas, there will not be a Republican Party in Texas.”

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