The Texas Democrat Presidential Primary is seven months away, and it’s already shaping up to be one of the most contentious in recent memory. Spurred on by hatred for President Donald Trump, the Democrat field has swelled to over 20 candidates, with everyone from small-town mayors to a former vice president jostling for the nomination.

But despite the apparent unity of the candidates in their opposition to President Trump, an internal fight is brewing over the future identity of the Democrat Party. Namely, whether the party will be run by the “moderate” establishment or the more radical progressive wing, a cohort that has recently been gaining popularity and power. 

Suffice it to say that the results of the 2020 primary will create long-lasting consequences for both Democrats and the national political landscape.

Texas is viewed by many on the left as a key battleground, even a potential contender to flip blue. While Democrats may be a growing population in Texas, questions remain over which type of Democrats they are.

Fortunately, however, the presence of a large selection of Democrat candidates coupled with substantial primary polling data gives some insight into who the Texas left is supporting—as well as which side they align with in the establishment vs. extremist conflict.

Currently, the RealClearPolitics polling average shows former Vice President Joe Biden in the statewide lead with 27 percent of the vote. This reflects a trend seen nationwide in which Biden, who is largely viewed as an old-guard establishment candidate, holds a healthy lead.

Source: (August 2019)

Biden is trailed by Texas Democrat golden boy “Beto” O’Rourke with 16.8 percent, with Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris rounding out the state’s top five. At first glance, it appears that Biden holds a decisive advantage over the others.

However, when factoring in personal ideology, his lead becomes more uncertain. Besides Biden, the next four most popular candidates are all members of the Democrats’ extremist, quasi-socialist wing—with platforms including Medicare for all, firearms bans, “free” college, and unfettered access to abortion. 

And if these progressives’ percentages are combined, Texas Democrats support the extremist ideology to a tune of about 40 percent—far more than Biden’s establishment base.

Despite apparent likability, establishment bets like Tulsi Gabbard (left) and Andrew Yang (right) have not caught on.

Furthermore, establishment support among Texas Democrats does not appear to extend beyond Biden. Other moderates like Tulsi Gabbard and Andrew Yang are barely mustering a single percentage of support.

Therefore, data appears to indicate that though Biden is leading, his apparent success is more a product of a crowded primary field rather than genuine popularity. By and large, Texas Democrats seem to be supporting the far-left extremist ideology that is growing within the party.

Perhaps the sentiments of Texas Democrats are similar to those on Capitol Hill, where the establishment appears to be in charge, but the extremists are the ones running the show. 

Sam Samson

Sam Samson is a third-year Government Honors major at the University of Texas and is an officer at UT's Young Conservatives of Texas. His political experience includes serving as both a staffer in the office of Senator Ted Cruz and as a member of two leadership missions to Israel. Besides being an overt Traditional Catholic, he loves friends and family, golfing, playing piano, debating hot takes, and is an avid world traveller, having visited 26 countries.