As Election Day looms, both sides are firing up their base and urging voters to the polls—nowhere more than in Texas, as Beto O’Rourke challenges Ted Cruz for his Senate seat. Will President Trump’s recent focus on the divisive issue of immigration help propel Cruz to victory? Or will O’Rourke galvanize first-time and young voters enough to turn Texas blue? This special mini-episode of Underdog: Beto vs. Cruz examines how early voting and young voter turnout could affect the race.
For answers, host Eric Benson calls up Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, who has been closely analyzing state and national electoral dynamics. He foresees a blue wave—but not a tsunami.
“Something happens that brings together demographic change with political change, and then a state is transformed,” says Sabato. “There is going to come a moment when Texas ends up democratic, and we’ve been promised that over and over.” But can Beto usher in that moment?
Record numbers of young and first-time early voters in Texas are promising—but those demographic groups are up against the far greater numbers of voters over 50 years old, who tend to lean more conservative. Either way, we won’t know until Election Day is done. In the meantime, follow along with Texas Monthly‘s election coverage here.
Stay tuned for our final episode of Underdog: Beto vs. Cruz, which will be published on Friday, November 9. You can find Texas Monthly and Pineapple Street Media’s Underdog: Beto vs. Cruz on Apple Podcasts or anywhere else you listen to podcasts.