Democrats entered Election Day hopeful that Texas had modified sufficient politically and demographically in recent times for Joe Biden to win the state’s 38 electoral votes and disrupt the nationwide political panorama.
It didn’t prove that manner.
President Donald Trump received Texas by a bit of greater than 800,000 votes in 2016. With a purpose to flip the tide in 2020, Biden wanted to reap the benefits of inhabitants progress within the state’s greatest cities and political shifts within the suburbs to erase Trump’s large benefits in rural areas of the state. Biden did enhance his numbers within the cities and suburbs, however not by practically sufficient.
To assist clarify what occurred, The Texas Tribune broke up the state’s 254 counties into 4 teams based mostly on their voting habits. These are the identical teams we used to have a look at will increase in registered voters forward of the election.
4 large blue counties: The counties which might be dwelling to Texas’ 4 greatest cities — Houston’s Harris County, San Antonio’s Bexar County, Dallas County and Austin’s Travis County — reliably go for Democrats. They noticed their mixed variety of registered voters improve by 630,796 since 2016.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton defeated Trump in these counties by 20 share factors. However to really win the state, Biden wanted to widen the margins in these key areas. He did marginally enhance his standing, profitable them by 23 share factors this yr.
Coupled with inhabitants progress, that elevated the Democratic candidate’s uncooked margin of victory within the counties from 620,362 votes in 2016 to 912,084 this yr.
Six fast-changing suburban counties: Six suburban Texas counties had been producing lots of consideration previous to the election on account of the truth that they had been rising sooner and shifting politically greater than wherever else within the state.
At the beginning of the last decade, all these counties had been pink. In 2016, Fort Bend County flipped blue. In 2018, Williamson, Hays and Tarrant turned for the Democrats. (Tarrant is dwelling to Fort Value, a serious metropolis, however it additionally has lots of suburban areas and has adopted related voting traits.) Collin County and Denton County had lengthy been Republican strongholds however had been considered in play this yr.
Biden confirmed enchancment in all six counties this yr and received 4 of them — Williamson, Hays, Fort Bend and Tarrant — in contrast with only one that Clinton took in 2016.
Trump received these six counties by practically 10 share factors in 2016. However this yr he solely received by one-tenth of a share level, or 2,515 votes. Democrats lower 178,031 votes out of Trump’s 2016 margin of victory in these counties on this election.
The pink wall: The rationale why Biden wanted to do higher within the cities and the swing suburbs? As a result of the remainder of the state — not together with the border area — is solidly pro-Trump. These areas embody Montgomery County, midsize cities like Amarillo and Waco, and sparsely populated rural areas.
Biden truly carried out barely higher than Clinton in these 216 counties when taken as an entire. Trump defeated Clinton by a 46-point margin throughout these counties in 2016. He beat Biden by 43 factors in the identical counties this yr. However the counties gained 522,972 registered voters since 2016, so Trump’s margin of victory grew by 215,132 votes to 1,710,536.
The border counties: This a part of the state — 28 counties on or close to the border and in South Texas — was the large shock.
It stays an space of power for Democrats, however Biden took successful there. Clinton received these counties by 33 share factors in 2016 when taken as an entire. Biden received them by solely round 17 share factors. He received these areas with 152,502 votes greater than Trump, which is 95,907 fewer votes than Clinton’s lead 4 years earlier.
Some particular person counties had been much more stunning. Trump carried small Zapata County by 5 factors this yr, after Clinton received it by 33 factors in 2016. Farther up the Rio Grande, Biden received Maverick County — dwelling to Eagle Cross — by a slim 9 factors after Clinton secured a blowout there, profitable by 56 factors in 2016.
That displaying was disappointing for Democrats. However these 28 counties are far much less populous than our three different classes.
The very fact stays that if Biden was going to win Texas, he’d must do it at the beginning by rising his margins within the extra populous suburbs and cities. In contrast with 2016, Biden improved Democrats’ margins in these classes by 469,753 votes. On the floor, that’s lots of votes. However on condition that Trump received the state by greater than 800,000 votes in 2016 — and elevated his margins in border counties and reliably pink areas this yr — it was by no means going to be sufficient.
In the long run, Trump received Texas in 2020 by round 650,000 votes.