Blue Wave Fails Again - TX Dems Beat Lowest Turnout Record Since 1920


Surfing the “blue wave” these days is a lot harder than it was back in the heady days of January, where Democrats were predicted to pretty much turn the electoral map into a Smurf.

CNN’s polls, which one showed a generic Republican congressional candidate losing to a generic Democrat candidate by 16 points, dropped to within 3 points in May. That’s within the margin of error.

At least the Democrats were still up in that poll. They couldn’t say that with Reuters, which shows them losing to a generic Republican by over 6 points. In December, the Democrats were up by over 14 points.

The Senate’s also not looking so hot; a Tennessee race that once looked like an possible pickup for the Democrats has closed significantly, and races like Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota and West Virginia could be very tough holds for the Democrats, meaning that regaining the Senate is looking more and more impossible by the poll.

If you needed more evidence that the blue wave has dissolved into a blue puddle, take Texas. Texas is one of those states that the left has been hoping to turn “purple” for quite some time now. They had even hoped to have an outside shot to take out Sen. Ted Cruz in November if things had really gone well.

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So, you would assume given all that, Gov. Greg Abbott would be another target for a major pick-up in a blue wave. After all, he’s one of the most visible conservatives in the United States — a wall-building, gun-loving patriot who signed an anti-Shariah law act.

That’s a target in a purple state during a blue wave if I’ve ever seen one, particularly one where the Democrats still held some sway until relatively recently. Surely the primary to get a shot at Abbott was a full-blown Texas shootout, right?

As you can probably tell from the tenor of my prose, not so much. The three-way gubernatorial runoff was earlier this week, and… well, there’s probably a reason you didn’t hear about it.

“As of 11 p.m. Tuesday, just 415,000 Democrats had cast ballots in the gubernatorial runoff. For reference, that’s a decline of almost 60 percent from the 1 million Texans who cast ballots in the March Democratic primary,” Cassandra Pollock at the Texas Tribune reported.

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“That’s the largest primary-to-runoff decline — and the smallest number of ballots cast — in the 14 Democratic gubernatorial primary runoffs held since 1920. That year, 449,000 Democrats voted, according to Texas Election Source’s analysis of Texas State Historical Association data.”

Yes, that’s right, the lowest total in 98 years of gubernatorial runoffs. Boy, they sure are excited down Lone Star way.

For those of you counting, the winner was Lupe Valdez.

“Some 14 years ago, the liberal, gay Latina set her sights on an unlikely goal: Dallas County sheriff. Now, she’ll take on an even bigger challenge — running against the popular incumbent Republican governor,” Pollock noted.

“Valdez officially accepted her party’s nomination Tuesday night, narrowly defeating Andrew White with around 52 percent of the vote. But she faces an uphill battle against Abbott, who touts a high approval rating and a $41 million war chest in an ultraconservative state.”

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Yes, Texas is now ultraconservative — proved by the fact that a liberal, gay Latina sheriff is running for governor. Of course, it seems like just yesterday that I read, “Could Hillary Win Texas? Some Democrats Say Maybe.” And by yesterday, I mean 2016.

See, because of its immigrant population and maverick tradition, Texas is always about to turn purple. Until it doesn’t.

Of course, there was the slight problem that Clinton couldn’t win Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida and a whole raft of other states she thought she had in the bag, so maybe that failure to turn purple was excusable.

However, primary excitement is usually a pretty reliable indicator of how stirred up an electorate is. Given that RealClearPolitics refuses to call Cruz’s seat safe (in the only two polls taken, during April and May, he’s been up by 3 and 7 points respectively) you could think that everything’s up for grabs in Texas. I mean, if you think Cruz is vulnerable, Abbott should be very beatable.

That’s the thing about the blue wave — it’s always been mostly illusory. It’s based off of polls in which anger at Donald Trump and the Republicans is considered the socially acceptable response. Yet, as the rocket fuel of engineered anger begins to burn off and the economy continues to flourish under Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress, the “blue wave” is rolling back in a major way.

Now, it’s hardly even a drip.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture