Donald Trump may win Texas or he might lose it. But either way, it's clear the Republican presidential nominee has already had an influence on the Lone Star State. Whether it's a good or bad influence remains to be seen.
And then there's the voting thing. While plenty of people turned out to holler their approval at Trump during his campaign stops in Texas earlier this year, it's become apparent that the candidate's more controversial aspects — the allegations of groping women, the racism, the punchy debate performances and refusal to disavow Vladimir Putin — haven't inspired the kind of support that, you know, Ronald Reagan had back in the day.
In fact, in recent weeks that lack of enthusiasm from Texas Republicans has paired up with the staunch opposition of Trump by the Democrats and the result is the once-unthinkable: Trump is struggling to stay ahead of Clinton in Texas, according to the polls.
While this unexpected shift has left many wondering if Texas, the reliably red state, could actually be in play, it has also led Trump to use another questionable tactic to try and whip up support and to potentially explain in advance that a loss in Texas won't be his fault. He's been telling anyone who will listen that the election is rigged.
Last week, once reports started circulating about people claiming their ballots had been switched in the voting booth — despite the fact that Texas officials and the media have checked this out and concluded there's nothing to it — Trump seized on the idea and started tweeting and talking about how he's heard Texas voting booths are rigged.
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Much like his refusal to pledge that he'll accept the results of the election even if he loses, calling the validity of Texas elections into question is just a low-down thing to do. Faith in our electoral process is a hallmark of this whole democracy thing we have here in the United States. When we're so clearly divided on so many different issues as both a state and a country, it's even more troubling to realize that one of the two major-party candidates for president is playing on that divide every chance he gets, deepening it as he goes.
Trump will probably win Texas — even Wendy Davis thinks so, and if Clinton's people thought there was a serious chance of tipping the state they'd probably have put in actual money and effort toward doing that, which hasn't really happened. But win or lose, Trump has already made his mark around here.
There has been incredible turnout so far for early voting. In Harris County alone the first day of early voting was record-breaking, with 67,000 people showing up at the polls. By Thursday, according to the most recent data made available, more than 366,000 people had voted in Harris County. Across the state more than 1.7 million people have voted, about 18 percent the Texas electorate.
So even though Trump has done a lot of damage — with the racist immigration stance, the ugly rhetoric, hs way of talking about women, for example — he may have also done some good. After all, at least it's looking like a whole bunch of people are going to vote. Whether Texas goes to Trump or Clinton, at least we'll know that it's a better representation of what people in the state actually wanted.