The decline and fall of the Republican Party in Harris County

It can be summed up in this table:

Dist   Romney  Trump   Cruz
HD126   62.1%  53.0%  51.5%
HD127   69.2%  61.2%  59.5%
HD128   72.4%  68.2%  66.8%
HD129   64.5%  55.3%  54.0%
HD130   75.9%  68.1%  66.0%
HD132   58.9%  50.0%  47.9%
HD133   68.1%  54.5%  54.3%
HD135   58.8%  48.9%  46.4%
HD138   59.2%  47.8%  46.5%
HD144   47.9%  38.4%  37.9%
HD150   68.5%  59.2%  57.0%

These were the last three high-turnout elections. You can see what happens to the Republican share of the vote in State Rep districts that had been held by Republicans after the 2010 election. (I am as per my custom ignoring the unicorn that is HD134.) Besides putting more districts into play – the Democrats now hold 14 of the 24 State Rep districts, and came within an eyelash of winning a 15th – it means the Republicans aren’t running up the score in their best districts, which gives them fewer voters overall in the county, and in overlapping places like CD07 and Commissioners Court Precinct 2. For comparison, here are the Democratic districts over the same time period:

Dist   Romney  Trump   Cruz
HD131   15.7%  13.3%  14.1%
HD137   34.5%  28.9%  28.7%
HD139   23.6%  20.6%  21.7%
HD140   29.0%  21.9%  21.9%
HD141   12.1%  12.6%  12.7%
HD142   22.0%  21.0%  21.1%
HD143   31.9%  26.0%  26.0%
HD145   38.3%  28.7%  28.3%
HD146   20.1%  17.3%  17.9%
HD147   20.3%  16.8%  16.8%
HD148   41.1%  30.5%  30.0%
HD149   40.1%  32.5%  34.8%

There are a few notable drops in Republican support between 2012 and 2016, mostly in HDs 140, 145, and 148, but overall the decline was less severe. Of course, in some of these districts they basically had nowhere further to fall. The strong Democratic districts also tend to have fewer eligible and registered voters overall, and lower turnout besides. By my count, there were 605,214 votes total cast in the ten State Rep districts the Republicans won in 2018, and 612,257 in the 14 Democratic districts. If you put HDs 132 and 135 back in the Republican column, as they were before the election, then the split was 729,298 votes in the twelve districts that started out with Republican incumbents, and 488,119 votes in the twelve Dem-held districts. They needed bigger margins in those Republican districts, they got the exact opposite, and the rout was on.

Does this mean the Republicans are forever doomed in Harris County? No, of course not. As I said, I was feeling pretty good after the 2008 elections too, and we know what happened next. But the dynamic is clearly different now. Harris County isn’t purple. It’s blue, and it’s blue because there are more Democrats than Republicans. Right now at least, modulo any future changes to the nature of the parties and who belongs to them, the Democrats’ biggest threat in Harris County is lousy turnout. We did get swept in the no-turnout year of 2014, but the margins in the judicial races and at the top of the ticket were much closer than the ones we had this year. Until something changes at a macro level, in any normal-or-better turnout scenario, there are going to be more Democratic voters than Republican voters in Harris County. That’s the threat that the Republicans face, and the trends are not in their favor. On top of the demographic shift in Harris County, Donald Trump helped push away some of the more reliable members of the GOP base this year. Maybe that won’t stick, but even if it doesn’t that doesn’t help them that much. The Harris County GOP can whine all they want to about straight ticket voting. That wasn’t even close to their biggest problem.

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5 Responses to The decline and fall of the Republican Party in Harris County

  1. Exlitigator says:

    I used to split ticket, but once the Republican Party doubled down on the anti LGBQT agenda, and even the Republican judiciary ads talked about Democrat judges releasing child molesters, they lost me forever. Clean up your own house if you want votes again.

  2. Joshua ben Bullard says:

    The Democrats in Harris County were better organized, worked smarter than the Republicans, learned from their mistakes and capitalized on these facts ,additionally when i saw Democrats sleeping in tents at west gray in order to vote Day one for the early vote ,i knew then the Republicans were finished. Joshua

  3. Once diane trautman… expands voting hours, gets rid of the requirement that you can only vote in one place on election day. We will see more voters, probably democratic.

    Now that Jack Morman and Ed Emmett are gone we can hopefully implement free county-wide pre k for $20 a month, paid family leave for $10 a month and bail reform.

    If the desk-lamp democrats would grow balls and put real ideas on their websites they might be able to win at-large seats.
    I’d let David Robinson borrow mine, but it’d probably just be easier if he copied ideas off my website instead of following me around at poison girl.

  4. Ross says:

    Once again, Joe appears to be drunk posting, spouting stupidity that is either against the law, not feasible, or just inane. I’m pretty sure the County can’t fund preschools or pass ordinances for paid family leave. There are also no at large positions in the Commissioners Court.

  5. It was such a wild night.

    Salsa dancing plus 3 beers in 4 hours.

    If lina hidalgo can’t figure these things out by 2022. I could either hold her hand while i’m on city council or run against her.

    I’ll let you decide.

    Having women (blanchard, moser, reynolds) with 4-12 years of post secondary education ask me for ideas i googled was funny enough. Try hiring smarter employees?

Comments are closed.