Texas Blue County Voters Need to Run Up the Score in 2018
While it's true that we as progressive-minded folks can stand to do better at winning votes in some less populous counties, a lot of like-minded Texans in solidly blue counties stay home - because they think their votes don't matter. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The way we change the state of Texas is by turning out our people everywhere, which includes winning the blue counties by bigger margins in 2018.
In examining the new voter growth that took place in Texas from 2012 to 2016, we see that Democrats gained 569,744 votes over that four year period. When we break that down even further, we see that 568,073 of those votes came from the state's 20 most populous counties. That means that a margin of 1,671 new Democratic votes came from the 234 other counties.
It's not that these other 234 counties are not important, because of course they are, but voters in blue counties are not off the hook. Just because you live in a blue county does not mean your vote doesn't count. We need your votes now more than ever - we need you to help us run up the score.
We need to look at blue counties as if it's Texas playing Oklahoma: winning is fine but running up the score is even better.
The term "drop-off voter" is what we call people who vote in presidential years but stay home in midterm elections. And the number of drop-off voters is enormous in blue counties.
For instance: in 2012, Texas saw 3,308,124 votes for President Obama, of which 2,646,310 votes came from the 20 most populous counties. But in 2014, Wendy Davis received 1,835,596 votes. A whopping drop-off of nearly 1.5 million votes in an election where Davis lost by roughly one million votes.
Now the less populous counties have a drop-off margin as well, and it went from 661,814 in 2012 to 346,789 in 2014. Clearly we need to bring these voters out as well, but as you can see it's the BLUE COUNTIES where we leave the most votes on the table.
My true blue friends, it's time to run up the score in 2018.
Wendy Davis won Dallas County with roughly 55% of the vote in 2014, which is great. But organizing and getting your friends to vote might help us win that county by 63% for Beto O'Rourke in 2018. Same can be said with Travis County where she won by 63%, let's get that up to 67% in 2018.
What about the populous non-blue counties such as Collin and Denton? Good news folks - these counties are home to some of the fastest growing Democratic populations in Texas. For instance, Collin County was won by Republicans in 2012 by a (rough estimate here) 200,000 votes to the Democrat's 100,000 votes. But by 2016, that margin was 200,000 to 140,000. That's a huge growth margin - and as you can see by Republicans maintaining their number, the Democratic votes weren't as much cross-over voters as they were new voters.
We can all help move Texas forward in 2018 if we don't leave votes on the table, if we don't get comfortable, and if we don't take this wave for granted.
The blue wave is coming, but we have to build it. Just remember these four words:
RUN UP THE SCORE!
Note: all data was sourced from the Texas Secretary of State elections page.