Op-Ed: How Republicans are tossing Democratic ballots to a Republican-controlled Legislature
On Monday, the Texas Legislature adjourned for the new year.
This week, as we enter into our new year with the same Democrats in power and the same Republicans in power, and now the same people in power, we will look back at how Republicans have tossed Democratic ballots to the voters in the last four years of the U.S. House of Representatives.
In the House, Republicans in 2010 voted down every Democratic nominee for the first time in 40 years. They did it again in 2012, when the state’s Republicans had their strongest Republican majority in nearly 60 years (which was longer than the Republican-led House majority was in the 1950s and ’60s). And in 2015 the “wave election” sent a slate of Democratic incumbents packing, as Republicans gained a total of 48 seats in the House.
After the 2010 midterms, Texas Republicans controlled every U.S. House seat, including all of the ones on the Gulf Coast. That’s partly because many Democrats were new to Texas since redistricting (which is to say, they were not from Texas). But the state has a high population density, which allows a statewide Republican to win reliably by simply flipping a few competitive races. Texas Republicans gained 58 seats, which is about one seat more than the national average (and it was the highest gain in Texas in over 60 years, since 1894).
But Republicans are increasingly not winning with this strategy. As I explain in the new edition of the Voter Guide, the last four years of the U.S. House of Representatives marked the first time since at least the 1920s that Democrats had been in the majority for half a decade. The last time Republicans were in the majority for more than 25 years was in 1954, when the GOP had a House majority of 22.
In 2010, Republicans won only their ninth House majority in 40 years. In 2012,