Texas and California have somewhat similar demographic characteristics. They have:

  • A large Hispanic population
  • Younger than average populations
  • White individuals only make up slightly under 1 out of 2 eligible voters in 2020
  • Large populations in general
  • Large cities (though Texas has a lot more rural population, which helped keep it red in 2016 and 2020)

Yes, Texas has been trending Democratic in recent years, and that trend is tending to accelerate, with the exception of 2020 which was slowed down because of voting shifts among certain demographic groups, which may be temporary.

People have wondered what makes California a Democratic stronghold. Why is Texas not a solidly Democratic state the way California is?

  • Pacific Coast whites are not Southern whites.
    – ohwilleke
    Jul 23, 2021 at 1:30

2 Answers 2

  • Religious differences. California has more atheists, and Texas has more Southern Baptists and other "evangelicals".
  • Texas has a bigger oil and gas industry by far. The Democrats' fossil-fuel-hostile climate change platform is unpopular among people who see it as a threat to their (or their family/friends') jobs.
  • In 2000 and 2004, there was a coattails effect from President George W. Bush having been Governor of Texas, though this is less relevant today.
  • 3
    I've heard comments about Texas' districts being a textbook case of gerrymandering, does that have much of a bearing on the matter? Jul 9, 2021 at 8:22
  • No but it does help Texas Republicans win more House seats. Jul 9, 2021 at 9:35
  • 4
    @GeoffAtkins I'm pretty sure every state's districts are a textbook case of gerrymandering. It's so pervasive a practice that it's better to just consider gerrymandering to be par for the course. I'm sure it happens just as much in the comparison state of California for example.
    – dsollen
    Jul 9, 2021 at 18:13
  • 3
    In practice, nearly all of the "non-partisan commission's" members are Democrats though. You can't just slap the word non-partisan on boards that are actually dominated by one team. Jul 22, 2021 at 13:24
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    @EveryoneElse Do you have a source for that? Because the law that created the commission clearly sets out a division of power: "The Commission was created in 2010 and consists of 14 members: five Democrats, five Republicans, and four from neither major party"
    – divibisan
    Jul 22, 2021 at 17:54

I'd suggest that although there's no one simple answer, at base it's because politics is not genetically determined, and so the demographic characteristics you seem to think are important are not the only things, and perhaps not even the primary things, affecting the way people vote.

At a simplistic level, consider that the populations of the two states are somewhat self-selecting. Per a quick search, only about half of California's population was born there, while about 61% of Texans were born in Texas. Although I can't find figures, one would also expect that a significant number of people born in each state have left for greener pastures.

Although some of this movement is purely economic, e.g. techies moving to Silicon Valley, or oil workers & Hispanic immigrants settling in Texas, a lot of it is driven by other factors. If you were a "hippie" in the '60s & '70s, you might well leave Texas (or whatever conservative state you were raised in) for more libertarian California. Likewise in the '80s and '90s, if you happened to be gay, (parts of) California would be much more tolerant of you than most of Texas. I'd expect it to work the other way around: if you couldn't stand those non-traditional neighbors, you might well move to a more conservative state such as Texas.

So what you have is an example of the old saying about birds of a feather flocking together.

  • 2
    "... libertarian California." Huh? I think you mean progressive. California has never been libertarian. In fact, they don't tolerate environmental terrorism. Jul 22, 2021 at 17:19
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    @BeginnerBiker California (and the West in general) used to be quite right-wing, though much more libertarian than, say, the South. Both Reagan and Nixon came from California, and you should check out Prop 13, etc
    – divibisan
    Jul 22, 2021 at 17:52
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    @ jamesqf ... Libertarianism is about reducing government intervention to a minimum. That means little to no regulations in the way of environmental, labour or economic legislation. It's a nice smoke screen for corporations to do what they want. If you want to see what it looks like in practice, take a look at any 3rd world country. Jul 23, 2021 at 3:45
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    @BeginnerBiker If I do need to clarify, FYI "used to be" refers to prior to some clear and obvious change.
    – timuzhti
    Jul 23, 2021 at 9:16
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    @Beginner Biker: You apparently know little of libertarianism. It is first and foremost personal: if you want to smoke marijuana, marry someone of the same sex (or multiple someones), follow a non-mainstream religion or no religion at all, that is your choice, and no one else's business unless you are harming others. And if you harm the environment, you are obviously harming others.
    – jamesqf
    Jul 23, 2021 at 17:43

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