Voter turnout bodes well for Texas, out­pac­ing 2014 num­bers

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - CITY | STATE - ERICA GRIEDER Com­men­tary

The past few weeks have de­mor­al­ized many Amer­i­cans.

Acts of vir­u­lent ha­tred have dom­i­nated the news, in­clud­ing the dead­li­est at­tack on Jews on Amer­i­can soil in our na­tion’s his­tory. Last Satur­day, a gun­man en­tered

a syn­a­gogue in Pitts­burgh’s Squir­rel Hill neigh­bor­hood and mur­dered 11 peo­ple, while shout­ing “all Jews must die.” In such times, true lead­ers seek to bind up the na­tion’s wounds. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has poured salt in them — while con­tin­u­ing to vent his griev­ances against Democrats, im­mi­grants and the me­dia.

There’s an elec­tion just around the cor­ner, af­ter all. Early vot­ing be­gan on Oct. 22. And Trump has al­ways sought to make a virtue of his own mo­ral turpi­tude. He seems to think his sup­port­ers share his de­sire to win at any cost.

But there’s more to life than tax cuts. There’s more to life than con­ser­va­tive judges. And those achieve­ments have come at a very heavy cost.

Amer­i­cans who agree can

take some com­fort in what’s hap­pened in Texas lately.

Our elec­torate is no­to­ri­ously ap­a­thetic, but lately vot­ers have shown signs of life. In fact, dur­ing the early vot­ing pe­riod, we shat­tered ex­pec­ta­tions.

Roughly 4.65 mil­lion Tex­ans voted in the last midterm elec­tion cy­cle in 2014. This year, Elec­tion Day is Nov. 6 — but we may have al­ready have beaten the record for to­tal turnout. Ac­cord­ing to the Texas Sec­re­tary

of State, as of Fri­day morn­ing, more than four mil­lion bal­lots had been cast dur­ing the early vot­ing pe­riod in the state’s 30 largest coun­ties, where roughly three-quar­ters of Texas’s regis­tered vot­ers live.

It’s im­pos­si­ble to know whether this surge is good news for Democrats or Re­pub­li­cans, but I’d guess the for­mer. This is Texas, af­ter all. Democrats have a floor, and Re­pub­li­cans have a

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