The Lone Star State is turning into ground zero for GOP midterm panic and dirty tactics.
One of the GOPs worst nightmare scenarios is a day when Texas is no longer a reliably red state. And with polling consistently showing a massive blue wave in the 2018 midterms, that day may be fast approaching.
Texas is the only majority-minority state that does not already tilt blue, largely because of poor voter turnout. But the 2016 presidential election results in Texas were closer than Iowa, and Democrats have built an enormous bench of candidates going into 2018, aiming to contest the GOP in virtually every part of the state.
Moreover, it doesn't help to have the very unpopular Sen. Ted Cruz on the ballot, facing a serious challenge from Democrat Rep. Beto O'Rourke. Cruz's lockstep support for Donald Trump, who is unpopular among Texas Republicans, doesn't help either and already has the state's party worrying that Republican women in particular won't bother to show up to help win this November.
If Republican women dont work, then 2018 Republican candidates will not win. And honestly Im concerned about our state, said the states senior Republican senator, John Cornyn.
This panic among Texas Republicans is why they are resorting to increasingly underhanded tactics to try to keep the Lone Star State in red hands.
Newly released documents reveal Trumps now-defunct voter suppression commission, led by Mike Pence and Kansas voter suppression pioneer Kris Kobach, demanded that the state organize its data in a way that would allow the commission to identify voters with Hispanic surnames.
This was likely an attempt to investigate Trumps favorite conspiracy theory that millions of noncitizens illegally voted in the election and a perfect way to investigate voters who broadly broke against Republicans.
But even at the county level, some Texas Republicans are trying to cheat, as is happening in Dallas County.
Republicans there are trying to purge 128 Democratic candidates from the ballot, including multiple sitting state legislators, based on a frivolous procedural technicality. The county is one of the bluest parts of the state, but it typically experiences terrible voter turnout, and the GOP may be trying to ensure it stays that way.
What is happening in Texas is a microcosm of the nationwide Republican push to prevent competitive elections. But the people will not be silenced and they will have their say.