It’s easy to assert that, overall, Texas will be a Democratic state at some point in the future, due to blahs and browns, but I’m interested in what we’ll see out the window and where we’ll stop to use the bathroom on the trip. This map is pretty interesting, especially that big blue chunk next to the Rio Grande, the 23rd district.
In 2012, there were only 6 Congressional races that weren’t landslides, and that probably overstates how competitive they were, since a lot of those were 60/40 races if you added the Republican and Libertarian totals together, as the free market demands. The most competitive race in Texas was the 23rd, where Pete Gallego got a bare majority of 50.3 percent. There was a Green in the race (to provide pure progressives the ability to throw away their vote more efficiently), and a Libertarian, so the real total was 51.4%/48.5%. That result is due to multiple interventions of activist judges legislating from the bench using the outmoded and unconstitutional Voting Rights Act:
[…] The district was represented for over a decade by Republican Henry Bonilla, but in 2006 the U.S. Supreme Court declared that the 23rd violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. A federal judge substantially increased the Hispanic population of the district, and Bonilla lost to Democrat Ciro Rodriguez (who had been upset in a primary by Henry Cuellar in the neighboring 28th District a few years earlier).
Rodriguez lost to Republican Francisco “Quico” Canseco in the 2010 landslide. The GOP attempted to shore up the district, which stretches across the vast, empty expanses of southwest Texas to cover the El Paso and San Antonio suburbs. But a federal court undid that effort, and actually made the 23rd a touch more Democratic than it had been in its earlier iteration.[…]
If I understand this story correctly, Perry just signed the most recent federally-mandated redistricting into law, so the map we see now will remain the map until the next census, for better or worse. The better is the 23rd, the worse is some of those majority minority districts. Push your mouse around Houston, for example. There we have three majority-minority districts where Democrats won by 75%, 79% and 90%. There are two other districts where Republicans won by 60% and 65%. If you want to have a safe seat, those minority-majority districts are great. If you want to grow the numbers of Democrats in your Congressional delegation, they’re not helping.