As I sat in the back of the Senate District 12 meeting in Grapevine, Texas, a suburb in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, I kept noticing a similar phrase being thrown out by each delegate who had the opportunity to speak. A “Red Riot” had overtaken the Democrat’s “Blue Wave,” each speaker proclaimed. This supposed “Blue Wave” that was headed for Republicans in the midterm elections had turned out to be only a small ripple. Texas State Senator Jane Nelson announced confidently to the crowd that after the primaries there were was no way Texas could go blue.
Yet, I remember very clearly Democrats 2 years ago saying that there was no way Donald J. Trump could become President of the United States. In fact, in the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election, Democratic politicians and the mainstream media repeatedly told the country that Hillary Clinton would be our next president. If that message did not work for Democrats in 2016, then why are Texas Republicans basking in their virtually meaningless midterm primary win?
Although primary elections are key in deciding who will represent each party at the ballot box come November, the competition is not Democrat vs. Republican. What I mean by this is that primary elections are run between members of the same political party and voter turnout does not typically matter when it comes to Democrat vs. Republican.
Yes, as a Republican voter it was nice to see that Republicans across the state dominated Democrats in voter turnout as over 1.5 million Republicans voted in the primaries as opposed to 1 million Democrats. However, the last midterm primary election saw 1.3 million Republican voters and only 560,000 Democrats. Although Republicans saw an increase in voter turnout from 2014 to 2018, Democrats saw their voter turnout go up by almost 50%. This could spell doom for the Republican Party if it is not careful come November.
The Democrats are energized, not only in Texas but throughout the United States. After stealing a United States Senate seat in Republican-heavy Alabama when Democrat Doug Jones knocked out controversial Republican candidate Roy Moore, Democrats have their eyes set on swiping another Senate seat in the highly conservative state of Texas as the state has not had a Democratic senator in 25 years.
The Democratic Party targeted Beto O’Rourke, who has served Texas’ 16th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2013, early on last year as a candidate who would be a worthy opponent for incumbent Senator Ted Cruz. Cruz has served one term as the junior senator from Texas and gained widespread recognition across the country when he faced off against Donald Trump in the Republican presidential primary. Cruz lost the primary and faced criticism from members of the GOP after his divisive speech at the RNC where he said he would not endorse Trump due to his lack of conservative values.
After his remarks, many believed Cruz would face stiff competition in the 2018 primary election for his Senate seat. However, that ended up being a farce as Cruz easily won the Republican primary as he took home more than 85% of the vote. That was only the first part of what should turn out to be an interesting election in November.
Both the Democratic Party and liberal donors have pumped record amounts of money into Beto O’Rourke’s campaign, as he now has over 14 million dollars to spend in the upcoming election season. That is over 4 million dollars more than the Texas state record for a Democrat, which was previously held by David Alameen who spent over 10 million dollars in his 2014 senate loss to Senator John Cornyn.
O’Rourke has outraised Ted Cruz by a 3 to 1 margin in the first 45 days of 2018. This can be seen in signs and advertisements with the words “Beto for Senate” splattered all across the state. Yes, Hillary Clinton outraised President Trump in 2016, but that was a different time.
2 years ago, Democrats had the pleasure of having President Barack Obama in the White House for 8 years prior and were being told that there was no way Donald Trump could not win the presidency. Fast forward to today and Democrats have had to endure 2 years of Trump’s presidency. For many Republicans, it has been a blast, yet for Democrats, it has been a nightmare. With that being said, Democrats are more energized and will not stay at home come Election Day 2018. Since Trump took office, we have already seen an increase in voter turnout by Democrats in areas won by the president as evidenced by Democratic victories in PA-18 and the Alabama senate race that I previously alluded to.
Ted Cruz understands that the upcoming election is going to be a dogfight as he was recently quoted in an interview saying “Let me tell you right now: The left is going to show up. They will crawl over broken glass in November to vote. It’s true my Democratic opponent is raising a lot of money. We’re not going to take it for granted. That’s a manifestation of the energy on the extreme left.”
He is 100% on point with this language. Instead of rejoicing over their so-called dominance in the primaries, the Texas GOP needs to spread Cruz’s message that the Left is coming and that Republicans must go out and vote on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. If they don’t, history will repeat itself and the underdog O’Rourke will stand victorious.