The Tea Party’s Texas Advantage

When it comes to politics every state is different – from the way populations are spread to demographic composition.

Texas, which is holding primary run-off elections tonight, looks as though it is going to give the tea party some big wins when all the votes are tallied and there’s a reason for that. The state is home to big Exurban counties in the American Communities Project that are often bastions of tea party support.

Look at the map below and the Exurban counties (in yellow) around the Big City counties (in pink) around Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, Houston and San Antonio.

In other states Big Cities tend to give way to semi-urban locales, Urban Suburbs or Middle Suburbs in the ACP. Those places are more densely populated and often tend to vote more Democratic – in the case of the Urban Suburbs much more Democratic. The Republicans in them are also more likely to be establishment Republicans.

But in Texas those kinds of counties and communities are in short supply – as you can see on the table below.

County Type

Number in Texas

Population in Texas

Exurbs Exurbs


5.16 million

Graying America Graying America



African American South African Amer. South



Evangelical Hubs Evangelical Hubs


1.05 million

Working Class Country Working Class Country



Military Posts Military Posts



Urban Suburbs Urban Suburbs



Hispanic Centers Hispanic Centers


4.3 million

Rural Middle America Rural Middle America



College Towns College Towns


1.03 million

Aging Farmlands Aging Farmlands



Big Cities Big Cities


11.6 million


Instead, the state’s biggest population centers are the Big City counties, which in Texas tend to be a sprawling blend of density and suburbia. And after that comes the Exurbs.

Many Texans also live in Hispanic Centers, which are usually a mix of Democratic-leaning Hispanic voters and, often, Anglo voters who tend to be strongly Republican and who are opposed to immigration reform. They are also the kinds of places that can be cradles of tea party support.

There are a lot of components that go into a primary vote – from turnout to candidate appeal – and those things all play a big role in the results. They will in Texas tonight as well. But even before taking those elements into account, Texas looks like good terrain for the tea party as viewed through the ACP.


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