When was the last time a Democratic presidential candidate won the state of Texas?
If you guessed Lone Star State native Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1964, you would be wrong. Yes, LBJ won Texas that year, but so did Georgia native Jimmy Carter in 1976. Since then, beginning with Ronald Reagan’s crushing national landslide in unseating Carter in 1980, Texans have voted for the GOP presidential candidate in the past nine presidential elections.
But if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee in 2016, there’s a very good chance that Texas—and its 38 electoral votes—will end up in the Democratic column.
A Feb. 3 Daily Beast column by Lloyd Green, opposition research counsel to the George H.W. Bush campaign in 1988 and former Department of Justice staffer for the first President Bush, points out just how hard it is going to be for Republicans if Clinton wins the Democratic nomination next time around.
“Recent polls put Hillary ahead of possible Republican challengers in vote-rich Texas and in Kentucky, home of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Tea Party favorite Rand Paul,” Green writes.
After writing insightfully about how Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign reversed the fortunes of a Democratic Party that had lost five of six presidential elections since 1968, he goes on to state that “Bill’s successes served as the electoral predicate for Obama’s victories and position Hillary to pick up where Obama ultimately leaves off.”
GOP has no one who can beat her
Republicans simply do not have an answer for the Hillary Clinton electoral juggernaut that will surely sweep the United States if she remains healthy and decides to seek the presidency.
Green writes that not only would she benefit from President Barack Obama’s coalition of younger voters, minorities and women, she would also connect with the white working class and improve on Obama's numbers with that voting bloc. Green says she "could make a serious play in the South and build upon existing margins in the Midwest." He goes on to state that North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky and Texas all would be in play.
If we look at the states Bill Clinton won in both 1992 and 1996, we can add Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee and West Virginia to the list of states in play for 2016. Interestingly, Obama did not win any of these states in 2008 or 2012, but he still won the presidency by relatively large margins both times.
Hillary Clinton's resume is second to none
As Green notes, four years is a long time. Obama’s economy isn’t exactly thriving, and a major world event could shake up the presidential playing field in a huge way. Still, Hillary Clinton has something no potential or actual presidential candidate has had since Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 and, to a lesser degree, George W. Bush in 2000: National stature that no amount of advertising can buy.
RFK had his late brother and hard-driving father to thank for his political prominence, while GWB had his father (and the numbskull who advised Michael Dukakis to take a tank ride) to thank for his national visibility prior to mounting his own campaign for the White House. True enough, both men won elective office prior to launching their presidential bids, but they were connected by blood to men who already had held the highest office in the land.
RFK served as his brother’s attorney general and as a senator from New York, and Bush served as the governor of Texas, but neither man had as much relevant experience as Clinton has now. As ABC News correspondent Cynthia McFadden noted in a Jan. 29 report, “She has met with world leaders 1,700 times in the past four years.”
Hillary Clinton has not only won elective office, she possesses national and international stature and has a proven track record in the Senate and as Obama’s secretary of state to bolster her credentials. Yes, she is a former first lady, but she is very much her own woman when it comes to her list of accomplishments and achievements.
Upon stepping down from her post as America’s top diplomat, Clinton enjoyed a favorability rating of 67 percent, compared to an unfavorable rating of just 28 percent, according to a Washington Post poll released in January.
If her numbers remain anywhere near those levels, Clinton is well positioned to win the White House by a landslide in 2016.
Hillary Clinton in 2016: Be afraid, Republicans, The Daily Beast, Feb. 3, 2013
Dave Leip’s Atlas of US presidential elections
Hillary Clinton reaches new heights of political popularity, Washington Post (The Fix), Jan. 23, 2013
Hillary Clinton stands by Benghazi testimony, ABC News, Jan. 29, 2013