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Texas Senate Showdone

by: Ben Sherman

Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:53 PM CST

We are all still processing Ted Cruz's predictable, but depressing,  win last week. The margin is no more encouraging than thinking of six upcoming years of Senator Ted Cruz: he won with 56.63%, to Paul Sadler's 40.45%. That's a larger margin than Mitt Romney's win over Obama in the state, 57.20% to 41.36%.

Some of that is due to some voters making a selection only in the presidential race, but it appears that Cruz won at least some Hispanic voters. Blogger Charles Kuffner notes that there appear to have been a handful of Obama/Cruz voters in some heavily Hispanic counties, but this should not necessarily be attributed to Cruz's personal appeal to Hispanics:

[T]he Senate race was mostly below the radar, with Cruz avoiding debates and not running many ads, while Sadler barely had the money to do any advertising - so it's not too shocking. Because of all this, I'd be careful about drawing any firm conclusions regarding Cruz and Latino voters. Latino voters have a stronger belief in the role of government and by a sizable majority support the Affordable Care Act and believe that the federal government should ensure that all people have access to health insurance. Needless to say, these views are incompatible with those of Ted Cruz. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait till 2018 to see how these voters will behave when they have a fuller understanding of what Ted Cruz is about.

I believe very strongly that Ted Cruz is about to get a national reputation for being a divisive, do-nothing, corporatist senator. Except Cruz will be more grating than most, since he's so damn smarmy. He's a bad candidate for a 2018 Texas much more friendly to Democrats.

Even Cruz acknowledges his, and his party's, grim path. "If Republicans do not do better in the Hispanic community, in a few short years Republicans will no longer be the majority party in our state," he said this week. He continued:

"If that happens, no Republican will ever again win the White House," he said. "New York and California are for the foreseeable future unalterably Democrat. If Texas turns bright blue, the Electoral College math is simple. We won't be talking about Ohio, we won't be talking about Florida or Virginia, because it won't matter. If Texas is bright blue, you can't get to two-seventy electoral votes. The Republican Party would cease to exist. We would become like the Whig Party."

Take it from Ted Cruz: Texas is turning blue - and soon. His party has no plans to woo Hispanics other than to trot out Hispanic candidates like Cruz and Rubio who are viciously anti-immigrant and have (corporatist) economic views utterly objectionable to most Hispanics. Some have pointed out that the Tea Party has actually fostered more victorious minority Republicans than the establishment Republican Party did before 2010. That's true, but those candidates are Uncle Tom's like Mia Love and Allen West who grow very unpopular very quickly because they're terrible and hold views anathema to American progress. How strange it must be for Cruz to be a big victor in a party that is both losing and dying.


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Depends on Cruz's first term (3.00 / 1)
Cruz is definitely not getting off on the right foot with Latino voters in TX with some of his comments but he has yet to be sworn in and start doing what voters elected him to do.

If he does start tacking to the middle on issues and abandons some of the tea party rhetorical ideas, when he's up for re-election in 2018 he could be difficult to beat. If, however, he stays his current course or proves to be ineffective in 2018, then I think it easily opens the door for someone like Mayor Julian Castro to challenge him.

Many have targeted Castro for the governor's race in 2014. Honestly, those are pipe dreams and a victory for governor that year is more a fantasy than anything. TX won't be anywhere close to blue enough to win the top statewide office. 2018 is a more likely year to see Castro move into a statewide office and I think US Senate would be a great target.

Since FDR, there have been only three paths to the White House: VP, US Senate or Governor. I don't see Castro breaking the mold.

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