History aside, if neither party lifts a finger to change current trends, the demographic changes taking place in Texas will — by themselves — seal it as blue by around 2040. The Democrats, however, plan to lift more than a finger; and if they play their cards right, they could speed the process up by 25 years, putting Texas in play much sooner.
The Dems are very capable of messing with Texas through three steps. And that’s just what they’re fixing to do, starting with voter registration.
1) Voter registration
In 2008, Hispanics made up 54 percent of Texas’ registered voting electorate, while whites and blacks held even at 74 percent. And in 2010, Hispanics were registered at just 53 percent, while whites and blacks were at 67 and 62 percent, respectively. Over all, Texas is home to 1.5 million unregistered Hispanic-Americans, 500,000 unregistered African-Americans and 200,000 unregistered Asian-Americans — all populations the Democrats intend to target.
2) Voter participation
The Hispanics are underperforming as far as voter participation is concerned. Democrats know that this leaves a lot of room for improvement — a lot of room for outreach.
3) Voting blue
This is the harder part, at least as far as a 2016 timeline is concerned, because shifting public opinion is harder than registering voters or increasing turnouts. But the bottom line is this: If the Democrats accomplish their first two goals, and get Texan Hispanics in line with national Hispanic party affiliation, they could put Texas in play in 2016. And while swinging public opinion is difficult, it certainly isn’t impossible — particularly giving the Democrats’ demonstrated ability to micro-target potential voters with data-driven messaging.