As Hillary Clinton leaves Foggy Bottom and begins the next stage of her life, Texas Democrats are buzzing about new numbers from Public Policy Polling that show Hillary would defeat Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) for Texas's electoral votes in 2016. This is both profound and predictable, as I wrote in a recent column titled "Hillary turns Texas blue." The biggest steroid infusion in America is not in pro sports but in the Texas Democratic Party, whose insiders (finally) sense a moment of opportunity for statewide and congressional races in 2014.
First, the polling. In a hypothetical High Noon for Texas electoral votes in 2016, Hillary would defeat Rubio 46 percent to 45 percent, would defeat Christie 45 percent to 43 percent, and and would (pardon the expression) annihilate would-be governor for life Perry 50 percent to 42 percent. In related polling, former Houston Mayor Bill White, who ran a strong campaign against Perry that fell short in the last gubernatorial campaign, would defeat Perry for governor in 2014, 47 percent to 44 percent.
(1) sweeping demographic changes with rising tides of voting groups friendly to Democrats such as Hispanics, women and younger voters, to cite just three;
(2) a new generation of younger Texas Democratic officeholders who are the seed corn of the coming power structure that will succeed great Texas Democratic icons such as Lloyd Bentsen and Ann Richards, to name just two;
(3) the deep-enders of the far right, who are now threatening primaries against more moderate (and more electable) Texas Republicans at the very moment that rising stars among Texas Democrats are making a powerful bid for the political center in the Lone Star State.
The problem with the national political media, when it comes to Texas, is that insiders watch too much J.R. Ewing and read too little Census data. They miss the very powerful underlying changes that are more advanced in Texas than insiders trapped in old stereotypes and Washington elite dinner parties understand.
What I have written before, to the private joy of some Texas Democrats who would prefer to win, and the consternation of other Texas Democratic Party stalwarts who have learned to lose, is that the sleepwalking style of the institutional Texas Democratic Party has held back, not advanced, the historic change that has already begun.
Bill White, a transitory figure, would have a real chance of being elected governor or senator in 2014. Hillary Clinton would compete for Texas electoral votes in 2016 with equal or greater power than any man or woman the Republicans could nominate.
Equally important, stay tuned to hear a lot more about a rising star in Texas and nationally, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who is destined for even greater things, and his brother, newly elected Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), who has an equally brilliant future.
Stay tuned to hear a lot more about Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis, who has thrilled her devoted supporters and offers the promise of future statewide and potentially national leadership.
Let's watch the airline schedules as 2014 arrives with major races for Texas governor, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. A little birdie tells me there may be some important travel to Texas from a certain former president and a certain former secretary of State before the sun sets on the 2014 election!
I would predict that any one of the Texas Democratic names I mention above, and some others, could make a powerful bid to be the next Texas governor or U.S. senator. For governor and lieutenant governor, how about a Democratic ticket of White-Castro, Castro-White, Castro-Davis, Davis-Castro, for starters? The possibilities are many.
In the meantime, let's all wish Hillary Clinton a fond farewell to Foggy Bottom. The next time Hillary sets foot in the Lone Star State, there will talk of red, talk of white, and much talk of Texas blue.