Pundits Wonder Why Trump is in Austin
The media is calling it "the most baffling campaign stop of 2016." Why is Donald Trump in Austin?
Yes, baffling. Texas is among the Republicans' most reliable red states. It should not even be in play. Some say it is. Some say it's foolish to think that.
Without a doubt, Texas is the strongest Republican state in the nation. The people of Texas have entrusted Republicans with the stewardship of every statewide elected office and majorities in the state senate, state house and on the state board of education.
At the same time, citing more conservative states such as Wyoming, Utah and Idaho, the Houston Chronicle's Matt Levin asserts, "Despite Texas’ reputation as a Republican bulwark and a stronghold for conservatism, the state’s electorate doesn’t lean as hard to the right you’d think. Not by a long shot." He says the state is more in play than it has been.
So whom do you believe? Isn't Texas more Hispanic and thus less GOP red?
But do the numbers tell the tale? In comparing voter patterns in Texas to those in other states, Democratic strategist Jason Stanford says, "Not only are Texas Hispanics less likely to vote than California Hispanics, but they are more likely to vote Republican when they do."
Thing is, given Trump's perceived antagonistic stance towards Hispanics, will they vote in higher numbers and in solidarity against him? Or is his swing through Texas and softening of strident language part of a plan to keep Texas in the fold? Perhaps, but this headline from Public Policy Polling has to be giving him concern: according to their poll, he is only up by six points in this state deemed most reliable.
In other words, nothing's a given. Just another reason this is the strangest election ever.