I want to share something that has been happening very quietly in The 134 over the last decade--so quietly it has largely gone unnoticed. Steadily, rural Texas is growing more Democratic. Here is the proof.
While the number of primary voters in the Democratic Primary has more than doubled, voters in the Republican primary have not kept pace with that level of growth. In 2012 the number of Democratic primary voters relative to Republican Primary voters was only 19.56%. In 2020, that margin had increased to 30.15%. More important, take a look at the margin shift numbers above. Margin shift is the growth in Democratic Primary growth relative to the growth in the Republican Primary. If the number is 100% that means the Democratic Primary voters and Republican Primary voters are growing at the same rate. Anything less than 100% shows Democratic voters are not growing as fast as the Republican Primary voters. Likewise, anything over 100% shows that the number of Democratic Primary voters are growing faster than the growth of Republican Primary voters.
In 2012 participation in the Republican primary was growing 23% faster than Democratic Primary growth. There the trend changed. In 2014 the growth rate difference dropped to less than 2%. In 2016 that growth dropped slightly but still lagged Republican growth by only 4 %. Then in 2018 it shot up to 20% faster than Republican growth. In 2020 that trend continued. Democratic Primary growth exceeded Republican Primary growth by 33%.
So what does this mean? While Republican votes are still more than double Democratic votes in The 134, their margin is shrinking and we are gaining on them. If this trend holds, and if we keep at it long term to make sure it does, The 134 will become more and more competitive for Democrats over the next several election cycles. This is why I am optimistic about the future of the Democratic Party in rural Texas. This is why I take the long view of this game. This is also why we need people running on the Democratic ticket at every level every election cycle. Concede nothing. Make them spend their money on races out here they thought were safe. The Democratic Party was born and bred in rural places. Its people are our people. Their values are Democratic values. They are in fact American values. Now is the time to invest in rural Texas, with our lives our fortunes and our sacred honor.
Special Thanks to David Logan for analyzing the data and preparing the chart.