Tarrant County is the key to Win Texas

Syed Hassan

Elections 2020 is expected to restore American moral leadership of free world. We are almost seventeen months away from inauguration of a new President. Campaigns are starting to heat up, though Labor Day typically starts the official season, this election cycle has started long before.

Will Texas be a battle ground state in 2020? Well, looking at the data trend, it certainly seems so. It was expected to turn blue for a later year but thanks to Trump, and open racism of GOP, it is here sooner than anticipated. This election cycle is now expected to be brutal for GOP in Texas. July Newsweek polls suggesting Beto O’Rourke beating Trump in Texas by eleven points 49 to 38. Other polls may differ in size of Democrats winning but they all are pointing in same direction. Texas is already a battleground state

“Democrats must win Tarrant County to win Texas. It is not my allegiance to the county, this is what data suggest in loudest possible way. In other words, road to Texas runs from Tarrant County.”

Tarrant County has been a “bell weather state” is an understatement. Past election results over two decades show an amazingly high correlation of 97 percent between Texas and Tarrant county for Democratic Performance Index. No county can claim such a robust relationship with Texas. This is a very consistent trend since 1992. The state of Texas goes where Tarrant leads it to. With a treasure trove of 1.1 million registered voters, Tarrant can lead the state in turning not just purple but a light blue.

The five big counties of Texas have gained around twenty-seven percentage points on average in Dems vote-share since 1998. Travis county leading the group of top five with a gain of thirty-six percentage points in this period.  However, Tarrant County gained twenty percentage points which is lower performance than other counties. The state Dems proportion went up by seventeen points, from 31.4% to 48.6%. This Democratic share growth is extra ordinary in recent years as Dems were only 35.8% of total votes just five years back in 2014. The growing Democratic vote share and shrinking GOP share leads to one direction- Democrats are showing great performance and are almost there to take over state of Texas.

Another startling feature in Texas. Top five big counties in Texas carry 43% of total votes, where Democrats had 24% edge in 2018 elections translating into around 800,000 votes above Republicans.

Democrats have won nine out of twelve counties in 2018 elections. El Passo, Hidalgo in Valley and suburban Fort Bend and Williamson Counties topped 50% of votes, where Collin and Denton Counties in North are among the fastest in Democratic growth in big counties and are much closer to 50% mark then ever before.

The anecdotal evidence and some data research show multiple factors attributing to this societal transformation from GOP to Dems over time. Demography certainly plays a big role. Increasing share of minority voters in Texas as a minority majority state seems to be the biggest factor in large urban counties voting trends. Increasingly educated minority population is also contributing to this phenomenon. This is a well-documented fact that education has a very robust and direct relation with voter turnout.

Increasing number of suburban voters in Texas comes from domestic migration. Predominantly white college educated migrating from East and West Coasts are adding to Democratic votes. These people are relatively younger and more progressive than local Texans.  Fort Bend, Williamson, Collin, Denton and some other suburban counties are showing visible trends in fast growth in Democratic percentages from this demographic.

Of course, Republican rhetoric dominated by Trump, Tea Party extremists and Texan extreme hate groups are pushing many fiscal conservatives but social liberals out of GOP. They are either not voting or voting for Democratic candidates. Few congressional and or smaller district seats show this trend where Democratic numbers are not increased but GOP vote bank has shrunk

Republican incumbents are vacating four congressional seats in Texas 2020 elections. They obviously see the writing on the wall. These four Democratic seats falling to Democratic candidates will reflect fair distribution of Dems and GOP in Texas congressional delegation. A few state house seats will also be open seats.

Tarrant County which came out over 50% for Beto O’Rourke is waiting for its new more vibrant and visionary leadership. There are at least three state house seats that can flip to Dems in 2020 elections, with fourth one a real possibility. We may see at least few of county wide seats, to move into Democratic column as well. Dems can add at least a couple of Constable seats and comfortably defend one commissioner seat. If contested, Dems have a real chance to win judicial races in Tarrant County in 2020

The timing is right, if Democrats win the state house in 2020. Texas will be a very different state throughout 2020s. Redistricting after 2020 census done by Democratic legislature will change the course of history for our coming generations. Democratic National Committee DNC and RNC are watching this development and we will witness a much busy politicking in Tarrant County this coming year. I would argue that DNC invest heavily in Texas, and specially in Tarrant County. Tarrant will be the Jewel of the crown for its representation of whole state, as it did in last few decades

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