I tried to vote in Texas’s early voting process Friday. I opted out when, at 6:00 p.m., the line to vote in our usually-sleepy end of Dallas County was up to three hours long (the last voters made it inside the building at 9:08 p.m. — with another 90 minutes of standing in line).
The Obama earthquake is particularly heavy in our precinct. We may have been the most enthusiastic precinct in Texas for Gore and Kerry, and two years ago our voting pushed Dallas County into the Democratic column for judges, sweeping dozens of Republican incumbents out of office. This year, voting by and for Democrats is more than double the early voting totals then. Our precinct is one of many in 2008.
However the Clinton/Obama drama plays out in Texas and Ohio, this demonstration of democratic muscle — in favor of the Democrats — should worry Republicans. If the numbers are repeated in nearby precincts, which have similar demographics, and in similar suburban districts around Houston, San Antonio, Fort Worth and Austin, Republican incumbents in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate will be in trouble. No amount of advertising could avert a change in Texas’s party alignment at the national level.
Obama mania, and ennui from Republican control, combine to make a voting tsunami.
At this moment, from where I sit, it appears Democrats will win Texas’s U.S. Senate seat held by Republican John Cornyn. U.S. Representatives such as Kenny Marchant, who unseated Democratic Whip Martin Frost four years ago, should consider new employment beginning January 2009.
Republicans in Texas were talking about voting in the Democratic primary this year, to vote for Hillary Clinton, in the hopes that waving that particular flag would anger conservative Christians enough to motivate them to vote against her.
That’s a thin hook on which to hang hopes of election wins. There are not enough conservative, religious voters in America to overcome the wave of discontent with the present, and hope for the future, this election race has created. If Texas voters realize the power they wield, and they use it in November, the political world will reel and rock.
Alas for Republicans, that’s not a big “if.”
Will the ground move on Tuesday night?
4,000 screaming fans welcome Barack Obama to Republican stronghold Duncanville, Texas, in the Sandra Meadows Arena, February 27, 2008. Cellphone photo copyright © 2008 by first-time voter James Darrell; used with permission.