If we’ve learned nothing else during 2020, it’s that the only safe bet is to expect the unexpected. And it just so happens that may be true and writ large on one of the nation’s biggest electoral canvases when the votes are counted next month.
Texas is in play. Yes, you read that correctly. Texas is in play, and recent polling shows just how close the race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden is in the nation’s largest and most reliably red state is.
According to the Texas Tribune, early voting numbers for the 2020 race in the Lone Star State have already far surpassed what was seen just four years ago:
“With four days of early voting still ahead, the percentage of Texas registered voters who had already cast ballots on Monday was poised to surpass the entire share of people who voted early in 2016.”
Add into the equation the two elements that are driving much of the interest in casting a ballot this year: The coronavirus pandemic and Trump’s feckless response to it.
It’s also instructive to note that while Trump won the state of Texas in 2016 over Hillary Clinton, his margin of victory was much smaller than Republicans who came before him:
“Trump won Texas by 9 percentage points in 2016 — and that was the smallest margin of victory for a Republican since 1996. But few, if any, polls are showing that kind of margin right now.”
The latest polls show Trump leading, but not by much. And a Dallas Morning News/University of Texas at Tyler poll released Sunday had Biden with a narrow two-point lead. Overall, the polling average from RealClear Politics gives Trump a mere 3.2 percent lead. That’s within the margin of error and suggests the presidential race is likely a dead heat.
There’s also the Bloomberg Factor:
“Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday indicated he would use his super PAC, Independence USA, to fund $15 million worth of statewide ads in both Texas and Ohio. A spokesman for Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, said the decision came after his team polled multiple states and came away convinced that Texas and Ohio were prime pickup opportunities.”
The Trump campaign, according to multiple reports, is now all but broke, unable to purchase television ads in key battleground states with a week left to go.
How winnable is Texas? Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris will visit the state on Friday. That could well boost African-American and Hispanic turnout on Election Day, which would be a nightmare for Trump and the GOP.
Texas is in play. And if it happens to go for Biden next Tuesday, we’ll know that a Democratic landslide we haven’t seen since the days of LBJ is in the offing.