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Michael Li @mcpli
, 15 tweets, 8 min read Read on Twitter
A bunch of handwringing debate about Beto O'Rourke's performance in the smaller Texas counties - where his 26.6% of the vote underperformed Bill White's 32.4% but bettered Wendy Davis' all-time D low of 22.6%. #txlege 1/
And there is no question that doing better in rural Texas would have helped O'Rourke close the gap with Ted Cruz. But it's important to remember that the smaller counties only contribute around 21% of the vote, so the impact of "underperformance" can be exaggerated. #txlege 2/
Even if O'Rourke had won the same percentage of the vote in the smaller counties as Bill White, he still would have come up short (a lot closer to be sure but still short). #txlege 3/
And even if he had done poorly as Wendy Davis in the smaller counties, the effect would have been less than a point. #txlege 4/
To be sure, Texas is a hard nut to crack politically for Ds. But the previous chart suggests that the argument of Andrew White and others that Ds need to run someone less liberal may be misplaced. #txlege 5/
To be sure, no one should gratuitously give up a point or two. The real question is whether a more conservative D would have gotten up to Bill White levels and still won the 54.1% of the vote that O'Rourke won in the biggest 30 counties. #txlege 6/
And, if the answer is no, then given the fact that the smaller counties are providing a steadily declining share of the vote, it seems the bigger risk for Ds could be alienating their big county voters. #txlege 7/
The other thing I will say is that the smaller counties had a turnout of 49.2% and many are becoming much more diverse. The idea that the small county voter universe is necessarily static (and statically white at that) seems to ignore the potential upside for Ds there. #txlege 8/
Ultimately, it's a question of money. If you can raise money at the levels O'Rourke did, then a lot seems possible. Which is where I also am doubtful about Andrew White's prescription. Hard for me to see a more conservative candidate raising O'Rourke level dollars. #txlege 9/
To follow up on this, if O'Rourke had matched Bill White's vote share in the smaller Texas counties *and* Hillary Clinton's performance in the largest 30 (the *best* D performance in two decades until 2018), he would have lost by almost 9 points. #txsen #txlege 10/
In other words, failing to motivate or, worse, turning off voters in the big 30 Texas counties - even if you still manage to hit the historically *high* levels reached by Clinton - has a much bigger effect than underperforming in the smaller counties. #txsen #txlege 11/
Which, again, is not to say one should ignore the smaller counties (that would be stupid). But at the same time, it's not clear that being more conservative so you can do better in the smaller counties (as some have suggested) is that logical politically. #txsen #txlege 12/
A couple of final charts to this thread. First, a look at the electorate in the Big 30 Texas counties vs. the remaining 224, including people who were registered but did not vote. Nearly 5.7 million non voters in the Big 30. #txsen #txlege 13/
Though Andrew White and others argue the battle should be for the hearts and minds of the 1.2 million Cruz voters in the smaller counties, an equally strong, if not better, case would be to focus on the potential in the Big 30. #txsen #txlege 14/
And not just the Big 30, also a lot of non-voters in the smaller counties, where turnout was 49.2% vs. 53.7% in the Big 30. #txsen #txlege 15/
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