Did Texas Shoot Itself In Foot With Constitutional Carry?

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The state of Texas has a reputation. It’s a red state that’s always been unapologetically red. However, recent demographic shifts in the Lonestar State have made a lot of people wonder how long that’s going to continue.

After all, it’s been fairly well documented that a lot of progressive Californians have been moving into the state and bringing their politics with them (often ignoring that those politics are what created the situation they’re fleeing in California). Couple that with the rise in Hispanic voters, and you get a recipe for potentially turning the state blue.

Yet Texas still voted for two bills that are guaranteed to raise the blood pressure of any leftists. One is the abortion law. The other is permitless carry.

It seems Texas is betting on the majority of voters in the state to remain red.

Republicans in America’s largest conservative state for years racked up victories under the slogan “Keep Texas Red,” a pledge to quash a coming blue wave that Democrats argued was inevitable given shifting demographics.

Now, those population transformations have arrived, with the 2020 census confirming that the state got bigger, more suburban and far more diverse. Yet a more apt state GOP rallying cry for today might be “Make Texas Even Redder.”

Faced with increasingly dire demographic threats to their party’s dominance, Texas Republicans have championed a bevy of boundary-pushing conservative policymaking that dramatically expands gun rights, curbs abortions and tightens election laws — steering a state that was already far to the right even more so.

Far from tiptoeing toward the middle to appease the Democratic-leaning Texans driving population growth, the party is embracing its base and vowing to use a new round of redistricting to ensure things stay that way through 2030 — becoming a national model for staying on the offensive no matter how political winds may eventually shift.

“Texas, obviously, is a national leader as it concerns the laws that we pass and other states follow,” Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who is fond of vowing to make Texas the “freedom capital of America,” said Tuesday.

These policy victories are poised to become cemented for the foreseeable future. Because Republicans control both chambers of the Legislature, the party will decide new congressional and statehouse districts based on 2020 census figures — seeking to make the boundaries as favorable as possible so the GOP can hold statehouse majorities for the next decade and beyond.

The new maps will have to counteract what looks to be unfavorable census data for Texas Republicans. The state’s Hispanic population grew by nearly 2 million, according to 2020 census figures, accounting for half of Texas’ total population increase. Even as the GOP made gains with Hispanic voters, about 6 in 10 Hispanics in Texas chose Democrat Joe Biden over Republican Donald Trump in November, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of the electorate.

Let’s be honest, as long as the majority of Texans vote Republican, these approaches will probably work. While the left has decried gerrymandering for years, they only do it in places where they fail to benefit from it. Both sides do it and do it so egregiously that it’s now just how business is conducted.

Then there’s the possibility that Hispanic voters aren’t interested in being good little Democratic foot soldiers anymore. You see, as the Democratic Party has rolled further and further to the left, a lot of Hispanic voters aren’t comfortable with that direction. While that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll vote Republican, it does mean that many of those 2 million new Hispanic voters may well decide to just stay home.

That’s almost as bad for Democrats.

I think Texas made a bet that their state would stay red, and I’m fairly sure they’ll be able to keep it that way. Which is why it’ll be funning to watch Michael Bloomberg throw millions at the state again only to come up empty.

Especially since the demoralized Democrats aren’t likely to get worked up about flipping the state. No one likes getting beaten, and that’s pretty much what’s happened in Texas.

So yeah, Texas bet they wouldn’t lose out to demographics and I suspect they’re right.

Meanwhile, it might be a good idea to remind all those progressive voters who moved into the state that the politics they espoused created the environment they left back in California.

Sep 21, 2021 10:30 AM ET