Joe Simonson, DCNF
CNN made a bold prediction without much evidence on Wednesday: The Republican Party can no longer count on the Lone Star state to vote red in off-year elections.
At first look, it appears that a CNN article had confirmed one of the greatest Democratic prophecies of the last decade — that GOP Sen. Ted Cruz was at risk of losing his seat and a new era of Democratic dominance of our national politics had begun. The headline on the article reads: “Senate Key Race alert: Texas is no longer Solid Republican.”
They didn’t provide a single poll to justify their assertion.
Instead, CNN looked through fundraising documents from Cruz and his Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke.
“The Democratic underdog from El Paso outraised the first-term Republican senator and former presidential candidate by $1.5 million — $2.3 million to $800,000 — from the beginning of 2018 through mid-February. That impressive fundraising haul comes after O’Rourke also outpaced Cruz in the closing quarter of 2017, $2.4 million to $1.8 million,” wrote CNN’s Terence Burlij and Eric Bradner.
And that’s it. That’s the totality of their technical evidence aside from a superficial analysis of historical trends and President Donald Trump’s approval rating.
Nevermind that the Republican Party has significantly more cash (some of which will presumably get transferred to Cruz if he needs it), but even Democratic pollsters put Cruz at an eight point advantage over O’Rourke. That same poll found that 38 percent of Texans viewed Cruz favorably , but only 20 percent feel the same way about O’Rourke.
Polling aggregator RealClearPolitics still puts the race as “likely GOP.”
If you predict the president’s lousy approval rating means Republican voters are going to endorse a young progressive who was once arrested on drunk driving and burglary charges (or, as CNN put it, someone who is “embracing his punk rock roots), think again.
“Texas dislikes Trump, but that doesn’t mean it will go blue in 2018,” Henry Enten wrote Feb. 2 for FiveThirtyEight. The state’s electorate — for the time being — is structurally incredibly unfavorable for Democrats.
Another survey by Cruz found him an 18 point advantage over O’Rourke.
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