What a crock. Beto O’Rourke is losing not because he is a Democrat in a Republican state but because he can’t attract enough Republican voters.
Yes, Texas is a conservative state. However, the largest cities in the state are generally pretty blue. In the 2016 election, Harris County (Houston), Dallas County (Dallas), Bexar County (San Antonio), El Paso County (El Paso) and Travis County (Austin) all went for Hillary Clinton. Most counties in South Texas and along the Texas-Mexico border also went into the Democratic column. Outside of that, the state is deep red as far as the eye can see.
O’Rourke made a big mistake. The “Coastal” Democratic Party platform didn’t play well among Texans and toeing the party line didn’t help him attract the voters he needed. He really should have picked the parts that worked and left the rest at the border.
Just a month and a half ago, O’Rourke was within three points of Cruz. Money was pouring in as the Democratic Party saw a chance to flip a Senate seat. Today, in both Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight and Real Clear Politics forecasts, O’Rourke is running nearly seven points behind Cruz and the wind has shifted strongly against the Democrats’ hope of taking back the Senate. Even a recent University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll showed a six-point gap.
The Democrats may actually lose a seat as the GOP flips Heidi Heitkamp’s seat in North Dakota. Although the races are still too tight to make anything other than a wild guess, Republicans are also currently leading in Arizona, Nevada, Missouri and Tennessee. Since the leaders in the Florida, Montana and West Virginia races are all Democratic incumbents, there’s no net gain.
As was true in 2016, the Democratic Party remains out of touch with the voters who once were the backbone of the party. They continue to overlook the very basic fact that in order to be elected you have to attract more voters than your opponent. It’s their values to which you must appeal rather than hoping you can inflict yours upon them.
While the Blue Wave and Trump fatigue may sweep away the Republicans’ control of the House of Representatives, it doesn’t appear they will be enough to take control of Congress.
The only comfort that might be found is that we will get two years of gridlock.