September 9, 2019/Blog, Media

Texas Democrats’ Path to Victory

Texas is the biggest battleground state in the country. At the Texas Democratic Party, we know that to win we must build a state party infrastructure larger than anyone has ever seen.

We have clear momentum. In 2016, Texas performed better than traditional battleground states like Iowa and Ohio. In 2018, the margin narrowed to a 2.57% spread between Democrats and Republicans. Now, polls show Texas is ‘essentially tied’ for the 2020 presidential race.

We will win the White House, take out John Cornyn, ​expand our Texas congressional delegation, break the supermajority in the Texas Senate, ​flip the Texas House, and elect hundreds of local Democrats across the state.

Texas Republicans are scared. Together, we will win — and we’ve got a plan to do it:

1. Protecting and expanding the vote

2. A coordinated campaign as BIG as Texas

Before we dive into our plan, it’s important to run through where the electorate is in Texas, where the electorate will be in 2020, and how rapidly our state is changing.


 

Texas-sized shifts

The closely watched 2018 U.S. Senate race finished with a gap of fewer than 215,000 votes out of nearly 8,400,000 votes cast. This strong performance is driven by our rapidly emerging Democratic coalition in an expanding, engaged electorate, making Texas a focal point of the national Democratic offensive strategy.

Between 2014 and 2018, the Texas voter rolls grew by 1,800,000 voters — that’s like dropping a population the size of the entire voting-age population of New Mexico into Texas. The majority of these voters are women and people of color.


“Between 2014 and 2018, the Texas voter rolls grew by 1,800,000 voters.”

Turnout in 2018 was more than 1.8 times higher compared to 2014. Fifty-three percent of 2018 voters didn’t vote in the 2014 election, and at least 670,000 2018 voters have registered for the first time in Texas since Trump took office. Among these new voters, 38% are under the age of 25 and 60% are under the age of 35.

Looking forward to 2020, there remain 2,600,000 unregistered voters in Texas who are likely to vote Democratic if registered. Additionally, there were 2,400,000 registered but non-voting African American, Hispanic, and Asian American and Pacific Islander voters in 2018 who are primed to be mobilized to vote in a presidential year.


 

Our Moment to Close the Gap

With such massive shifts in the Texas electorate, there are multiple pathways to close the statewide gap and turn Texas blue up and down the ballot in 2020.

Each of these paths represents an approximation and we know that turnout in a presidential year will look different than a midterm. Nonetheless, each strategy represents a solid path to flipping Texas statewide. Texas Democrats are committed to pursuing all of these strategies by making unprecedented investments and taking advantage of unparalleled enthusiasm across the state.

Increasing turnout in communities of color – 400,000+ D votes

2,400,000 registered African American, Hispanic, and AAPI voters didn’t turn out in 2018. On average, 58% of white voters turned out, compared with 51% of African American, 47% of AAPI, and only 40% of Hispanic voters. Increasing turnout among people of color to 53% (statewide average) would result in an additional 400,000+ votes.

Increasing turnout in urban and Democratic base counties – 225,000+ D votes

In 2018, Democrats outperformed in urban areas, carrying eight of the 10 most populous counties at the top of the ticket. Although turnout was comparatively high in these areas, there is an opportunity to continue to push turnout up. While statewide turnout was 53%, 11 out of the 27 counties with more than 100,000 registered voters had turnout less than 53%. If we set a modest turnout goal of 55% in these most urban counties, there is an opportunity to increase the number of overall votes by more than 360,000, and Democratic votes by more than 225,000.

Moreover, turnout in traditionally Democratic strongholds alone could close the statewide gap. If we increased turnout in 22 State House districts that are currently held by Democrats to just 45%, we could net more than 225,000 votes (the statewide turnout average was 53%).

Registering Texans in suburban areas – 130,000+ D votes

Five of America’s 25 fastest growing cities are in Texas. These five cities are expected to drive more than 500,000 people into Texas over the next two years, up to 300,000 registered voters. We know many of these people are coming from liberal cities throughout the country. This could add at least 130,000+ Democratic votes. Moreover, polling shows that suburbanites are repulsed by Donald Trump and the modern day Republican Party. The suburban Republican flight is real and will affect Republicans on the ballot across the country.

Engaging rural voters – 100,000+ D votes

While Democrats are outperforming in urban areas, it is clear that we have work to do in our rural communities. Beto O’Rourke came up short in 210 of the 228 counties with less than 100,000 voters. Although it might not be possible to flip some of these counties in two years, we can make progress in persuading voters and turning out non-voters in these areas. Setting a goal of a 5% increase in Democratic votes could net more than 100,000 votes.


 

Our Plan

We know where our target voters live and we have multiple strategies to close the statewide gap. Now, we must organize. In 2020, we will plan, build, and execute the most ambitious coordinated campaign in Texas history.

With so many opportunities at every level — from the U.S. Senate to Congress, from the Statehouse to the State Board of Education — we are starting now to grow and develop our organizing capacity across Texas into a truly coordinated machine.

Protecting and expanding the vote

Expanding the electorate and laying the groundwork to make it easier to vote is the first critical step to flipping Texas. The Texas Democratic Party is committed to expanding and protecting the vote through several programs: registering voters; maintaining MyTexasVotes.com, our voter information hub; helping hundreds of thousands of Democrats vote by mail; and launching our biggest voter protection effort ever.

We must register new voters.

The Texas Democratic Party works diligently to ensure that all eligible Texans are registered and energized to vote. In 2018, nearly all counties increased Democratic voter turnout. The Texas Democratic Party led the effort to register more than 130,000 voters — a record among progressive efforts and more than any Republican effort.

Looking forward to 2020, the Texas Democratic Party is making major investments towards registering the 2,600,000 unregistered Democratic voters.

As we dive deeper into the pool of unregistered voters, we register an electorate that is younger, more diverse, and more progressive.

Many of these Democrats have recently moved. The Texas Democratic Party proactively identifies Democratic voters who have moved to Texas from other states or who have moved from one county to another and targets them for registration.

Texas Democrats will meet this opportunity with big organizing on the ground — chasing voter registration forms sent to new Texas residents, knocking on the doors of Texans who need to get registered, partnering with organizations doing high school and college campus organizing, and developing and fostering a culture of registration amongst Texas residents across the state.

We’ve built an information hub for voters.

Over 200,000 people visited our one-stop voter information hub for Texas Democrats. Our website MyTexasVotes.com does what Texas Republicans have made incredibly difficult for voters — helping Texans easily find their polling place, when their polling place is open, important information on registering to vote, how to vote by mail, what they need for voter ID, and more. Our polling place locator is available in five languages: English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Hindi.


“The Texas Democratic Party works diligently to ensure that all eligible Texans are registered and energized to vote.”

We will help a record number of Texas Democrats vote by mail.

In 2020, we will send more than 1,500,000 vote-by-mail applications to help increase the Texas vote — more than ever before. The Texas Democratic Party runs the most comprehensive, Democratic, statewide vote-by-mail program for seniors and disabled voters. In the past three cycles, the Texas Democratic Party has nearly tripled the number of Democratic votes by mail.

Applications are mailed to voters using advanced modeling, ensuring the applications reach the targeted Democratic voters that are needed to win. We have one of the highest application return rates in the country.

We must protect the vote.

In addition to expanding the vote, we must protect Texans’ sacred right to cast their ballots and we must fight back against all Republican attempts to suppress the vote. Texas experiences one of the highest rates of voter suppression attempts in the country. As a result, Texas has the lowest voter participation rate in the country. Our democracy is on the line, and Texas Democrats are fighting back.

Republicans have tried it all: implementing the most onerous voter registration process in the country; ending mobile voting that will disenfranchise seniors in nursing homes and students on campus, and an end to straight-ticket voting for the sole purpose of discouraging Democrats to stay in line to suppress the votes in urban counties.

We took them on in 2019. We blocked voter suppression with the defeat of the confirmation of David Whitley as Secretary of State. And we brought so much pressure to bear, that even Republicans got cold feet on their worst anti-voter bill yet, Senate Bill 9, resulting in it dying in the House.

And in 2020 we’ll meet them head-on. We will have the most sophisticated voter protection program in the nation. On January 1st, 2020 we’ll go live with a year-round hotline to answer any voter’s question and triage any voter suppression attempt during the primary and the November election.

We’re teaming up with Democratic lawyers and allies to file lawsuits to block voter suppression or intimidations as they happen. And every occasion of voter suppression or intimidation will be noted and filed away for future legal challenges and court cases around redistricting.

A coordinated campaign as BIG as Texas

Without Texas, Trump cannot win this election. With the Trump Administration motivating Democrats more than ever before, we can take advantage of our energized base and train up a new wave of volunteers supporting every Democrat on the ballot.

The Texas Democratic Party is committed to building a coordinated campaign as big as the size of Texas. There will be no state-level coordinated campaign effort of the same size and complexity in the country.

We cannot wait until the fall of the election year. When we have a presidential nominee, it’s critical that there’s an organizing apparatus in place they can immediately plug into. The Texas Democratic Party will build that operation, and we must begin now.

A fully integrated team effort.

The coordinated campaign will feature a fully integrated team effort — data, training, county party support, candidate services, and organizing — that will lift the vote for every Democratic candidate.


"By the end of the cycle, we project to have over 1,000 field organizers and blockwalkers on the ground — knocking on doors, making calls, sending texts, engaging online, and getting out the vote for Democrats up and down the ballot come Election Day."

Our candidate services team is actively recruiting and supporting the more than 1,500 Democratic nominees at all levels who become part of the statewide coordinated campaign. Our data team will provide campaigns and collaborate with progressive organizations on data services, from our voter database TexasVAN to in-depth analysis identifying the voters we need to win.

We have a team focused on building up county parties, a crucial part of our infrastructure coordinating efforts at the local level. Our training team is working to ensure every volunteer, candidate, campaign staffer, and party leader has the practical knowledge they need to communicate with voters, run aggressive campaigns, and integrate with the broader coordinated campaign effort.

Organizing starts now.

The heart of any campaign is the organizing effort — from the organizers to the countless volunteers spending an afternoon calling or knocking their neighbors’ doors. We already have organizers on the ground, earlier than ever before. We’re rapidly expanding our team to register, energize, and mobilize our base communities, with dedicated staff engaging our AAPI, African-American, Latinx, LGBTQ, Millennial/Gen Z, and Disability communities, and narrowing the gap in our rural committees.

By the end of the cycle, we project to have over 1,000 field organizers and blockwalkers on the ground — knocking on doors, making calls, sending texts, engaging online, and getting out the vote for Democrats up and down the ballot come Election Day.

We don’t want people to come and volunteer just once, never to enter the political process again. Whether they’re helping at Texas Democratic Party headquarters, a county party office, on a local campaign, or at a local grassroots headquarters in a supporter’s home, we need a constantly growing army and network of volunteers to keep coming back throughout the cycle. Texas Democrats know that every precinct matters. Organizing must happen in every zip code across the state and we’ll have the ability to do this with a truly coordinated campaign.

We’re training the movement.

The Texas Democratic Party understands that it will be more important than ever, that Democratic candidates, activists, and volunteers across the State have the tools and skills needed to turn Texas blue.

The Texas Democratic Party is the only state party in the country with a full-time, permanent training director and training team. Going beyond training volunteers directly, we’ll work to make sure that our volunteers have the skill set needed to train others.

Hundreds of people across the state have already come forward and stepped up to be volunteer trainers. They have taken on the responsibility of mentoring and supporting volunteers participating in their first voter contact efforts.

We are constantly expanding our library of online, evergreen training materials. Thousands of activists, candidates, and party leaders regularly access our online training platform, learning how to use our voter database, how to fundraise, how to register voters, and more.


Investment & Conclusion

Change is coming to Texas — a new wave of activists and progressive candidates demand it. They’re fired up about affordable healthcare, financing public schools, and, most importantly, a fair shot for all Texans. In flipping seats up and down the ballot we have also created a bench of candidates eager to run for higher office in 2020 and 2022. 2018 was only the tip of the iceberg of possibilities.

What can you do right now?

 

1. Donate. This is going to take all of us. This work only happens because of supporters like you chipping in what you can to your Texas Democratic Party.

 

2. Volunteer. The Texas Democratic Party is building a coordinated campaign as big as the size of Texas. We cannot wait until the fall of the election year. Sign up to volunteer right now.

 

3. Share this post. Spread the word about our path to victory and encourage your friends and family to get involved too.

 

Texas is the BIGGEST battleground state in the country. Thank you for being a part of this.