Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) told a group of Texans they could flip the state into the blue column this year if they are willing to do the work. The Vermont senator’s comments came during an appearance at Austin’s South by Southwest Festival.
“If you in Texas are prepared to work hard, stand up, fight back, go out to your neighbors, talk to those people who voted for [President] Trump, make sure that every friend you have, and family member that you have, comes out and votes — yeah, I believe that Texas can go blue,” Sanders stated, according to an article in The Hill.
Admitting it would be a daunting task, the senator explained Democrats would need to “get involved in the political process in a way that we have never done in the modern history of this country.”
Voter turnout in the recent Democrat primary increased significantly in many of the state’s most populated counties. In Harris County, Democrat voters outnumbered Republican voters, Breitbart Texas reported.
A dramatic change happened in 2018 primaries. County Judge Ed Emmett, normally the county’s largest vote-getter, increased his vote tally from 103,759 to 122,247. However, his 2018 Democrat challenger, Lina Hidalgo, received 131,511 votes. This represents an increase 94,141 votes (an increase of 234 percent). Hidalgo received 9,264 more votes that Emmett in the current primary cycle.
Because of Texas vast rural counties, the statewide effort is still more of a challenge for Democrats.
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and Governor Greg Abbott each received more votes than the entire Democrat voter turnout in the March 6 Primary Election, Breitbart Texas reported.
In the Republican Primary of 2018, Senator Cruz received 1,317,450 votes in a race with four challengers. His Democrat opponent, U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke only received 641,311 votes against two opponents.
The race for Texas Governor yielded similar numbers. Governor Greg Abbott received 1,392,294 votes in a field of three candidates while the Democrats split among nine. Just over one million voters cast their ballots in the Democratic gubernatorial race. Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez received 436,658 votes while her main opponent, Houston businessman Andrew White received 278,702 votes. The two Democrats will face off in a May 22 runoff.
Despite the voter turnout numbers, The Hill wrote, “Democrats, energized by opposition to Trump, are seeking to make gains in Republican-held districts across the country in the midterm elections in an effort to win control of the House.”
Sanders is in the middle of a nationwide campaign tour to energize Democrat voters. He stopped in Texas’ most liberal county to attempt to fire up Democrat grassroots voters.