Is Texas Becoming a Swing State?

This article was originally published on November 2, 2020.

The 2020 presidential election has been a highly contested subject with many varying opinions. Though most people have stayed rooted in their political beliefs, the votes in the state of Texas have slightly shifted in the last few days. Looking at the past 44 years, Texas has only voted for Republican candidates. However, the voting numbers in the state are now beginning to change.

A swing state is defined as a state in which the number of votes for Conservative and Liberal candidates are about equal. In the 2016 election, Texas was beginning to increase its Liberal votes, however, the total percentage of Liberal votes only added up to 41%. This year, however, 45% of people have voted for Biden, while 46% have voted for Trump. Regardless of people’s political opinions, this piece of news is greatly shocking and a change from years past. It’s said that these numbers were slightly expected, as the votes for Democrats have gradually increased each year. However, Biden is 10 points ahead of where Clinton was in 2016, meaning that the voters in Texas have either greatly shifted their belief system, or new voters have emerged.

The news source, CNN, states, “In 2018, Democrat Beto O’Rourke came within three points of knocking off Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. It was the best Democratic performance in a Texas Senate race since 1988. It wasn’t just O’Rourke who came close. The Democratic candidates for attorney general and lieutenant governor finished within five points of their Republican opponents.” Here, it’s apparent that the trend in Democrat contestants being voted in has greatly increased throughout the last few years. However, the increase of Democrat voters was slightly left to the side and forgotten about in the previous election, as Trump was still the leading candidate. Now that the votes are contentiously close, the news has been brought to the attention of many.

A reason for why the change in voters has occurred could be due to the large number of COVID-19 cases in Texas, as many did not approve of Trump’s handling of the pandemic. Additionally, Texas is filled with many different ethnicities, and since a large portion of the Republican voters are white, the reasoning behind this change could be because of the diversity. That being said, it has been shown that most commonly Hispanic voters tend to choose Republican candidates in Texas. Furthermore, the news source US NEWS writes, “Texas is growing at a breakneck pace, expanding by 15.3% from 2009-2019, according to USAFacts – a speed nearly two and a half times faster than the national average. The population is younger than the national average – the 65-plusers who voted Republican in 2016 make up 12.6% of the state population, compared to 16.1% nationwide. That puts the GOP at a growing disadvantage.”

Though there are numerous factors that contribute to the turnout of liberal votes in this election, it’s still an immensely monumental occurrence, as there hasn’t been a Democrat elected by the majority of people in Texas since 1976. As for the electoral college, US NEWS also states, “Trump needs Texas to get re-elected, but Biden can easily come up with a winning Electoral College map that doesn’t include the Lone Star State. Texas, after all, was almost automatically considered in the GOP’s camp.” Therefore, even if the Electoral college in Texas is not in favor of Biden, he could still win.

Most importantly, it’s crucial to vote and voice your opinion in America’s democracy. After the presidential election held four years ago, 1.8 million people in Texas have newly registered to vote. By voting, you can be a part of making history with the results of Tuesday’s election.