Wednesday, November 07, 2018


Some stats and thoughts only a former poli-sci/history double major finds interesting...

According to the Texas Secretary of State's office this morning, only 52.64% of registered voters in Texas showed up to vote in the mid-term elections. So all that excitement of high turnout turned out to be anecdotal. It was indeed higher than past mid-term turnouts but I wouldn't get too excited about 53%. 53% turnout is abysmal. 47.36% lost their right to complain.

Also, the Texas elections highlight the rural-urban divide in American society. However, despite what media analysts tell you, this is not a new thing. The rural-urban divide has been present in electoral American politics for over 200 years. Federalists (urban) vs Anti-Federalists (rural) comprised our first party system in the country's history.

This week my AP U.S. History students were assigned to write an essay that compared and contrasted the two parties of the Second Party System in America in the 1830s and 1840s: Whigs vs. Jacksonian Democrats. The Whigs were mainly urban, the Democrats rural. This is nothing new.

Beto won every urban center (save Amarillo and Texarkana). Even Tarrant County (Fort Worth) voted Beto despite being historically Republican. In most urban areas Beto won big.

But in the rural counties...forget about it. He lost big in the rural counties. Not even close. Even though I live in a county adjacent to Dallas County, Cruz won 68% of the vote. Most of the suburban counties ringing the urban islands also went Cruz by huge margins. Rockwall County 68.8% for Cruz.

The rural-urban divide is not new. Voter turnout is the key. If Democrats can't get a higher turnout than 53% for a charismatic figure like Beto O'Rourke, then the party is doomed to lose statewide elections for the foreseeable future. Very few people like Ted Cruz. But too many voters are straight ticket voters. Straight ticket voting is intellectually lazy, but it helps gets unpopular politicians like Cruz and Dan Patrick elected. No one likes these guys, their favorability polls are in the dumpster. But as long as people cede their ideologies to party politics they can win in Texas.