Crystal Ball Sees Texas Going Blue in November
with Highly Contagious Trump Taking GOP Down
Texas 2020 Campaign Rankings
By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor
October 5, 2020
Texas is closer to going blue than it's been in the final stretch before an election in more than 50 years as a product of President Donald Trump's incredible unraveling in the aftermath of the first debate as the boss at a White House that's crawling with the coronavirus.
Capitol Inside has had the presidential competition ranked as a coin flip in Texas for the past several months while the national handicappers still have the state leaning Republican in the general election four weeks from now.
Texas is the only swing state that the independent experts haven't moved to the toss up column. It would probably be the last to fall in the event of a Democratic Joe Biden sweep of the battleground states at the polls on November 3.
There's a last time for everything - however - and we'd take Biden with or without the points as the projected winner here in Texas at this moment in time in an election that's clearly the most unpredictable in the history of a nation that hasn't been this bitterly divided since the Civil War.
The national prognosticators are going off the polls that have shown Trump leading here by about 4 percentage points in the past two weeks. But that would make the upcoming Texas vote a status quo election that's all but inconceivable heading into the eighth month of a COVID-19 crisis that has no end in sight.
With Biden leading or tied with Trump in every swing state except Texas, the former vice-president odds here have to be soaring after a disastrous showing last week at a debate where the president was apparently infected with the virus that has him in the hospital on experimental drugs now. Trump's press secretary on Monday joined the growing list of people who've tested positive for the coronavirus since a series of public events that violated every major safety protocol because that's what the president demanded.
This all will raise a very simple and fundamental question among the very few number of voters who are still undecided and some who have planned to vote for Trump as well. Can they trust their lives and the nation to someone who failed to protect himself and the people closest to him from a highly contagious disease that's killed almost 210,000 Americans in the past seven months?
While Texas would have been more inclined to tilt slightly red this fall up until a week ago, the Trump camp outbreak after the presidential debate debacle could be the tipping point here as the last and most valuable domino to fall on the swing state battlefield.
Trump will be just as contagious at the top of the Texas ticket for down-ballot Republicans as he's been for family, friends and other loyalists who tried to impress him by ignoring mask and social distancing emergency laws at events that violated state and local bans on large public gatherings.
The voters here and beyond who aren't married to Trump will be asking themselves if they want to gamble their safety and futures on a president who's behaved so recklessly in the midst of the worst public health emergency in more than 100 years.
Biden's lead has gone up several points in almost all of the independent surveys on the national popular vote that were taken after the first and quite possibly last presidential debate six days ago. None of the polls have shown the effect that a White House that's been crippled by a coronavirus that it denied and mocked could have on the election next month.
Some Republicans in swing races in Texas could be saved by the new prohibition on straight ticket voting in Texas. They will be hoping that U.S. Senator John Cornyn provides a firewall to some degree in a bout with Democrat MJ Hegar in the contest right below the president's race.
The crystal ball here has Cornyn winning by a small margin. But Cornyn and the Republicans in swing races on the ballot below have been running as fast and far from Trump as they possibly can in recent weeks.
Governor Greg Abbott demonstrated last week how alarmed he is about an oncoming blue wave when he ordered the shuttering of mail ballot dropoff locations that he'd approved in July to help protect the health and safety of voters here in the first White House election during a pandemic in history.
A presidential race that's close here - regardless of who claims the state's 38 electoral votes - will spell doom for the GOP in its attempt to protect a majority in the state House where the current CI forecast has the Democrats flipping 15 seats with the potential for two dozen at the rate that Trump and the Republicans have been going.