Don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched, political analyst says
Politics in Texas have always been contentious and this political season is no different. With the primaries behind us, many people are wondering what can be expected in November. However, Allan Saxe, associate professor of political science at the University of Texas at Arlington with 52 years of teaching under his belt, said one thing is for certain - Democrats won’t take Texas, yet.
“The Democrats would love to turn Texas blue, but that just isn’t going to happen yet,” Saxe said. “California is to the Democrats what Texas is to the Republicans.”
Though he doesn’t see Texas turning blue anytime soon, Saxe said the changing demographic of the state with the influx of immigrants, who account for one in six residents, according to the American Immigration Council, could change the way the state votes.
“The battle over immigration is really a battle over politics than anything else,” Saxe said. “For now, Texas is secure in the Republican hold. The Democrats have a lot of money. They are very active and want it bad.”
Saxe used the special election happening in Pennsylvania as an example for what could come in Texas. Republican candidate Rick Saccone is a conservative Air Force veteran who worked in counterintelligence. Democrat Conner Lamb is a former Marine and ex-prosecutor.
“The Republican chose a very weak candidate against a conservative Democrat,” Saxe said. “The Republicans say the Democrats picked this conservative candidate but he isn’t really that conservative. The Republican nominee is not very charismatic. So a lot of times when we look at people and these races, it has to do with what is going on in that district and state and it doesn’t have a lot to do with what is going on nationwide. These candidates have to be very appealing.”
Additionally, Saxe said democrats should not put all their hope on Beto O’Rouke, the Democratic darling running for U.S. Senate. Saxe said the similarities between O’Rouke and the campaign of Wendy Davis are striking.
“Like Davis, O’Rouke had a lot of money behind her campaign,” Saxe said. “A lot of O’Rouke’s money has come from out of state. Davis generated a lot of buzz on college campuses, just like O’Rouke has. Wendy lost to Gregg Abbot by 20 points. I don’t think Ted Cruz will beat O’Rouke by 20 points, but it’s going to be hard to beat Ted Cruz.”
Moreover, Saxe sees young people more engaged in politics this season, especially after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. After that shooting, which left 17 dead, students across the country held protests, marches and school walkouts.
“Young people are always enthusiastic for about five minutes,” Saxe said. “That doesn’t mean we should disparage their right to do what they are doing. But it’s difficult to know if it will last.”
Furthermore, Saxe wanted to address a rumor that the Democrats are trying to sway the thoughts of gun control on impressionable students.
“Some are saying that they are being highly manipulated by anti-gun people and the Democratic party, but there is no proof of this whatsoever,” Saxe said. “If these young people are lasting and stay the course, they could have an impact. I don’t think it’s enough to turn out Ted Cruz.”
So, even though the November elections may not seem all that far off, don’t hold your breath. A lot can change in the coming months and turbulent political climate.
“The November election is a long way off,” Saxe said. “A lot of stuff could happen this summer and people forget that.”