The last time a Democrat won statewide office in Texas, grunge rock topped the music charts. The state has been solidly red ever since Republican George W. Bush took over from Democrat Ann Richards in the Governor's mansion. That was more than 20 years ago.
Houston Chronicle columnist Erica Grieder is making a bold prediction. She thinks 2018 will be the year Texas turns blue again. She says the election of Donald Trump as president has a lot to do with it.
Grieder says the very fact the Republican Party has been in power for so long, and focused so much on keeping its conservative base happy, will likely lead voters to consider Democrats.
"We're seeing discussions of bathroom bills and constitutional carry and sanctuary cities," she says. "It's not a kind of a focus on infrastructure, roads, schools."
Grieder says that even though moderates like House Speaker Joe Straus have been frozen out of the GOP, members of the party tell her they think a good year for Democrats would be helpful to Republicans who are less identified with the far-right.
"For Democrats to gain a significant number of seats in the legislature or in Congress, will kind of be a wake up call to other Republicans. That they can't keep doing this," Grieder says.
Grieder says even a single statewide Democratic win could energize the party and its voters toward further gains. She says Democrats have fielded large numbers of candidates for 2018, and she sees more enthusiasm on that side of the aisle.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.