2014 Archives

Texas Democrats ponder how they will ever win


The following is from the Nov. 5, 2014, edition of The New York Times. SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson provided expertise for this story.

November 19, 2014

By Manny Fernandez

FORT WORTH — Wendy Davis was beaten not once but twice on Election Day.

Greg Abbott, her Republican rival in one of the most expensive races for governor in Texas’ history, crushed her hopes of becoming the first Democrat elected to the office in 24 years. And a campaign that began with exuberant expectations ended with her failing to do even as well as the last Texas Democrat to lose a race for governor: Bill White, a former mayor of Houston, who won 42 percent of the vote in 2010, compared with Ms. Davis’s 39 percent in her defeat on Tuesday.

The result in a year in which Democrats invested tens of millions of dollars in an effort to make Texas a competitive electoral landscape was a humiliating defeat that left analysts asking a simple question. Was it the fault of Ms. Davis and her often rocky campaign, or was it a sign that Texas is far too Republican for a Democrat to have a prayer?

Clearly, there was some combination of the two, but everyone agreed that the problems went beyond her campaign. . . 

“Democratic leaders are trying to sound upbeat, but their collective heart, having been torn out and stomped on, is clearly not in it,” said Calvin Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “Democrats will not be competitive again in Texas until they grow their share of the Anglo vote from its recent 25 to 30 percent toward 40 percent. That will be hard work, but it is work that simply must be done for Democrats to be more than an afterthought in statewide elections.”

Read the full story.

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