Tag Archives: battleground states

Texas becomes ‘battleground’? Who knew?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I won’t even think about predicting that Joe Biden is going to win Texas’s 38 electoral votes next month.

However, it is fascinating in the uber-extreme to think that this longstanding Republican bastion has become a battleground state in this year’s presidential election.

The Dallas Morning News/University of Texas-Tyler this past weekend published a public opinion survey that says Joe Biden holds a narrow lead over Donald Trump. Biden is up 3 percent over Trump in Texas — with just eight days to go before the election.

Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris is coming to Texas to campaign. Yes, just a bit more than week out from the election and we’re getting an up-close look at one of the major-party candidates for national office. And she’s a Democrat!

Granted, Texas isn’t going to be trampled by candidates the way, say, Florida, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin will be pounded. Still, Texas has emerged from the ranks of those states that get zero attention from the presidential campaign teams.

Any of the Pacific Coast states are seen as Democratic bastions. Democrats take voters there for granted; Republicans realize Oregon, Washington and California are lost causes. Conversely, voters in Oklahoma, Utah, the Dakotas or Wyoming won’t see the candidates in the flesh. Republicans take those folks for granted; Democrats know they can’t win there.

Texas has become arguably the biggest prize on the national political map.

I have longed for this moment. I hope the state can flip this year, from GOP to Democrat. I don’t dare predict such a thing will occur.

It surely is fun to watch this spectacle unfold in real time.

Texas might be a battleground? One can hope

Beto O’Rourke’s near-electoral miss in November 2018 has managed to turn Texas from a reliably red, staunchly Republican state into a potential battleground state in the 2020 presidential election.

Maybe . . . that is.

O’Rourke is now running for president of the United States. He damn near was elected to the U.S. Senate this past year. He came within 2 percentage points short of beating Ted Cruz. His close finish energized a once-moribund Texas Democratic Party.

So he decided to parlay that enthusiasm into a national bid.

Now, does his presence amid a gigantic — and still growing — field of Democratic presidential contenders automatically convert Texas into a battleground? Of course not.

He is going to campaign like all hell for Texas convention delegates. If he somehow manages to become the party’s presidential nominee –or even end up on the Democratic ticket as a VP nominee — then the state becomes the site of pitched battle between the two parties.

This is a dream come true for many of us. Me included.

I long have wanted Texas to become a two-party state. Even when Democrats controlled every public office in sight. It shifted dramatically over the past three decades. The GOP has control of every statewide office.

Presidential candidates haven’t given us the time of day. Why bother? The state’s electoral votes are going to the Republicans. So, the GOP has taken us for granted; Democrats have given up on us.

Beto O’Rourke well might have changed all that.

So, we might be in store for a barrage, a torrent, a tidal wave of political ads as we enter the summer and fall of 2020.

Forgive me for saying this, but I would welcome it.

Beware of what we wish for?

Man, oh man. I might regret getting my wish if it comes true.

I have stated already my hope that Texas becomes a major act in the 2020 presidential nominating and election process. According to the Texas Tribune, that well might be happening even as we digest our Thanksgiving turkey and all the sides that came with it.

The Tribune reports that Beto O’Rourke, the failed Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, Julian Castro, the former San Antonio mayor and housing secretary for President Obama, and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, the Republican senator who’s up for re-election in 2020 are getting set to be heard.

That means Texas is going to be smack on center stage in this coming election cycle. Just think: We just got through a tumultuous midterm election that saw the House of Reps turn from GOP to Democrat and O’Rourke damn near knocking off Sen. Ted Cruz in that campaign for the Republican’s Senate seat. Oh, yes: O’Rourke’s near miss occurred in heavily GOP Texas.

Why the possible regret over getting my wish? The TV airwaves are going to be full — as in brimming full — of political ads that will repeat themselves ad nauseum. I’ve already griped about the midterm TV ad fare that kept playing on Metroplex stations. Enough already!

So we’ll have the primary election March 2020 that will feature an expected horde of Democrats running for president. One of them might be O’Rourke; I hope the young man doesn’t do it, because — in my view — he ain’t ready.

Then we’ll have the Democratic presidential nominee, whoever he/she is, likely squaring off against the Republican nominee. It appears that would be Donald John Trump, the incumbent president; then again, one never knows.

So we’re going to get a Texas-size snootful from all the players — big and small — on the national stage.

The past few election cycles have been conducted in states far away from Texas. Those other states have served as battlegrounds where the major parties have fought against each.

Texas well might join the “fun” in 2020.

Are you ready for it? Neither am I.

Might the battleground be expanded for 2020?

Texas remains a “red” state. Just as California remains a “blue” state.

“Red” means Republican; “blue” means Democratic.

That is how political media and political operatives refer to the country. Red or blue. There’s also “purple,” which is what you get when you combine red with blue. “Purple” states are those that aren’t strongly either red or blue. It’s a blended color connoting the conflict between the parties for control of the political palette.

The midterm election drew a lot of eyes toward Texas. We had a competitive race for the U.S. Senate seat occupied by Republican Ted Cruz. The Democratic challenger, Beto O’Rourke, came within 3 percentage points of knocking Cruz off. That’s not supposed to happen in a strongly “red” state such as Texas. It did and now Democratic activists, strategists and assorted other partisans believe Texas stands on the cusp of turning purple.

Maybe. I would have thought so had Democrats been able to capture a single statewide office at the end of the midterm election balloting.

Here, though, is what might happen when the 2020 presidential campaign kicks into high gear: Texas might become much more of a “battleground state” that attracts presidential candidates for events other than closed-door, high-dollar fundraisers.

I’m beginning now to fantasize about big crowds gathering at rallies in Dallas or Fort Worth when the 2020 candidates start mapping out where the votes are.

Residents of places like Ohio, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania long have been courted by presidential hopefuls. Texas? Pffftt!¬†The pols haven’t given so much as a first look, let alone a second look.

Democratic candidates for president have given up on Texas. Republican candidates have taken us for granted. Beto’s showing against Cruz might serve as a wakeup call for presidential candidates on both sides of the chasm.

Come the next election year, there could be a realization at campaign HQs in both parties that Texas’s 38 electoral votes are worth fighting for. We could see presidential nominees traipsing through State Fair crowds in Dallas in September of 2020. Our airwaves might be flooded with campaign ads. So might our mailboxes.

I’m not yet ready to declare that such an activity officially makes Texas a “purple” state. We’re still red, although after the midterm election it looks as though Texas isn’t quite as red as it has been since, oh, forever.

Trumpkins are locked in; time for Hillary to talk about herself


My wife and I live in the heart of Trump Country, the Texas Panhandle.

Donald J. Trump is likely to carry this part of the world by a wide margin. We’ve just returned from more parts of Trump Country. We visited Enid, Okla.; North Platte, Neb.; Rapid City, S.D.; Lusk, Wyo.; and Colorado Springs, Colo.

We’re home now, recuperating from two weeks on the road.

Of all the locations where we stayed, we found something interesting in Lusk and Colorado Springs: both cities are served by Colorado media outlets; Colorado is a “battleground state”; therefore¬†TV is full of ads from both Trump and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

I want to focus for a moment on the Clinton ads.

She’s going after Trump hard. The bulk of the TV ads we saw dealt with Trump’s feelings about women. You know to which I refer.

My thought is this: Trump’s hard-core supporters are locked in. Nothing that Clinton says about the hideous statements Trump has made about women is going to move them.

Three days out from Election Day, and it occurs to both of us that it’s time for Clinton to tell us what she intends to do if she’s elected president next Tuesday.

Trump’s advertising has been decidedly anti-Clinton. No surprise there. Trump doesn’t have a program. He doesn’t have any ideas that go beyond the usual platitudes and demagoguery.

Clinton, though, does have a record of working on behalf of children; she has worked to reform health care; she has served at the center of American foreign policy.

I think it would be helpful for her to tell us how she intends to improve our nation’s economic performance; how she intends to improve the Affordable Care Act; how she would strengthen our alliances.

I happen to believe that Trump is unfit to serve as president. Hillary doesn’t need to persuade me of anything regarding Trump — and she doesn’t have a prayer of converting the 40-plus percent of voters who already are aligned with Trump, who’ve stuck with him and will be with him for the duration.

Aw, what the heck. I’m not her campaign manager. She’s got a crack team already on board. Maybe they know what they’re doing, even if two voters who happen to live in the midst of Trump Country can’t figure them out.

Trump still not listening to advice


Eighty-seven days to go before Election Day.

Public opinion surveys are showing a clear trend: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton is opening up a significant lead over Republican candidate Donald J. Trump.

The so-called “battleground states” are leaning increasingly toward Clinton.

So, where is Trump campaigning today? Is he in one of those battleground states battling Clinton tooth-and-nail?


No. He’s in Connecticut. The Nutmeg State hasn’t voted GOP since 1988. It won’t vote for Trump this time, either.

And this, I believe, sums up just why Trump is losing this campaign.

He’s got a campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who supposedly is an experienced hand. Is Manafort sending Trump into the belly of the beast? Does he actually believe Trump has a shot of winning Connecticut?

My guess: Probably not. Trump is continuing to march to his own cadence.

For someone who knows nothing about politics and even less about government, this is the “strategy” of a loser.