- - Thursday, November 13, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The Democratic dream of “turning Texas blue” dissolved on Nov. 4. The left had elevated Wendy Davis, an obscure state senator, to superstar status after she delivered an emotional 11-hour panegyric to abortion. She was expected to ride her celebrity status and the “war on women” into the executive mansion in Austin. She had only to defeat a Republican white man. It didn’t quite work out that way, drawing just 38.9 percent of the vote.

From the top of the ballot on down, the wreckage from the Democratic effort was strewn across the state from Texarkana westward to El Paso. Mrs. Davis carried only 18 of 254 counties, 10 fewer than the party’s gubernatorial candidate four years ago.

The far-left Mother Jones magazine lamented that “the Lone Star State just got even redder.” Mrs. Davis couldn’t even turn Texas pink, to say nothing of purple or blue, despite fawning local and national coverage of her every word. To rub salt into the wound, the state Senate seat from Fort Worth that Mrs. Davis gave up to run for governor was captured by Konni Burton, a pro-life, Tea Party Republican woman.

Gov.-elect Greg Abbott won 52 percent of the women’s vote, including 67 percent of the white women’s vote. The latter statistic set off a Twitter howl among disappointed liberals, who called the white women “Stepford wives” and attributed their choice to “self-hatred and loathing.”

Mr. Abbott’s stunning triumph demonstrates that the Republican message can appeal to minorities. He won 44 percent of the Hispanic vote, and his wife Cecilia, granddaughter of Mexican immigrants, will become the state’s first Hispanic first lady.

The Democrats haven’t won a single statewide election in Texas since Bob Bullock, a conservative Democrat, won re-election as lieutenant governor in 1994. This time, Republicans swept races for governor, lieutenant governor, comptroller, railroad commissioner, and for four justices of the state Supreme Court. None of the Republican candidates won by less than 57 percent of the vote. Republicans won 25 of Texas’ 36 seats in Congress, and Sen. John Cornyn coasted to re-election.

Republican dominance has been good for the state, which includes seven of the 15 fastest-growing cities in the nation. Census Bureau figures show far more people are moving to Texas than any other state. It’s not hard to see why. It has low taxes and lots of jobs. Outgoing Gov. Rick Perry has been luring businesses from high-tax, liberal California and New York, where the unemployment rate is significantly higher than in Texas.

Mr. Abbott promised Texans that he would continue the “free-market principles and conservative fiscal policies that have led to our economic success.” The voters resoundingly said they want more of this.

The liberal group Battleground Texas tries to put on a brave face. “People often forget what the alternatives were,” group founder Jeremy Bird told The Texas Tribune. “If [Mrs. Davis] doesn’t run, and we’re running no one at the top of the ticket, that certainly doesn’t help the long-term process [of making Texas competitive].” And it’s true that Democrats could scarcely have done worse. The voters demonstrated that Texas can’t be won by outside liberal political operatives who scorn Texas values. They learned that you don’t mess with Texas, or you’ll be roadkill.

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