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Last week, the Trump campaign communications director told a regional reporters’ roundtable that Texas “is not a swing state.” The aide is either downplaying his boss’ difficulty here, or doesn’t know Texas (or a bit of both).
More telling is the Trump folks aren’t acting like they believe what they said. They just hired a Texas state director and 50 communications staffers — an aggressive move — for the Texas region. And the campaign, including Trump himself and the vice president, made fundraising swings through Texas in April.
The president is losing Texas right now, according to multiple polls. And Republicans who do know the state have flagged the danger.
- U.S. Senator John Cornyn’s campaign chair, Steve Munisteri: “Texas is not as solidly Republican as people think. You need to treat this as a swing state.”
- James Dickey, Texas GOP chair: “The challenges we face in Texas are very real.”
It won’t be a cakewalk
While it’s true Texas has become a Republican-leaning swing state, it’s also true it will be one helluva fight statewide for Democrats.
The Texas Republican Party’s Dickey has said his ambitious goal is to add one million more votes in 2020 over 2018.
And President Trump has two big things going for him.
- The economy nationally – for now – remains strong. Unemployment is near 3% and job creation is steady. If this holds, that will help the president, despite wages staying low and income inequality rising.
- Trump can move a message. He’s garnered billions of dollars in free news media coverage. And his and his team’s facility with social media memes, with or without the Russians’ help, is strong. (See David Axelrod, former Obama chief strategist discuss this on CNN.)
Moral of the story
The perennial romance by Democrats taking Texas is now a potential reality. Whichever party works harder, smarter and more aggressively wins the big prize of Texas’ 38 electoral votes.
“Texas is the biggest battleground state in 2020,” said Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa in April. “Texas Democrats know that with hard work, strong values, and bold action, victory is in our grasp.”