Updated 09/10/2012 10:36 AM
On the Agenda: Thoughts on conventions and does it mean anything for Texas?
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The political conventions are over and the campaign season has begun in earnest.
The polling suggests Republican Mitt Romney got a negligible bounce out of his convention while President Obama appears to have widened his national lead by a few points.
The superstar of both conventions was former President Bill Clinton. It is hard to remember he was so unpopular in his first term that he handed Congress to Republicans for the first time in forty years. He was embroiled in scandal and impeached yet left office with a balanced budget, record prosperity and more than 60 percent approval rating.
If there was an inflection point in the two conventions, Mr. Clinton’s speech was it.
But conventions are only about exciting the base. Presidential elections are won by electoral college math. A month ago, eleven states were considered probable battlegrounds. Now it’s apparently down to eight.
Other than Ohio which is still in play, the auto bailout appears to have locked down the rust belt for Mr. Obama. The Washington Post reports Republican super PACs are now focusing their spending on Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia.
Are there any implications in any of this for Texas? Only on the margins. Four years ago, eight million voters showed up but Mr. Obama scored only 44 percent. Today, some wishful thinking Democrats argue that Republican Senate nominee Ted Cruz is so radical he’ll scare independents.
They also argue that San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro’s powerful keynote speech will help move the needle for Hispanics. But for the moment, there is no evidence of any serious Democratic money or organization to project either message.
But it is worth remembering that Mr. Obama’s 44 percent in a high turnout year dragged some Democratic legislative candidates in swing districts across the finish line creating a virtual tie in the Texas House.
But this is the year after redistricting and there are fewer swing districts. Nevertheless, if Mr. Obama somehow manages even 46 percent of the vote, there is potential for some down-ballot surprises on election night.
Texas politics and government are rarely what they seem. Join
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. Kronberg has covered the Capitol for more than 20 years, and he knows where to find the scoop.