WASHINGTON Donald Trump falsely boasted during his campaign last fall that hed won Texas by a landslide in 2016, and on Saturday night, he told another whopper about his popularity in Texas this time about his performance in the 2020 campaign.
We won Texas by a lot, he claimed at a North Carolina GOP dinner.
Thats revisionist history, pure and simple.
Trump carried Texas in November by a margin of just 5.6 percentage points even worse than his 9-point margin in Texas over Hillary Clinton four years earlier.
Only two GOP nominees have won Texas by a smaller margin since 1976, when President Gerald Ford lost the state and the White House to Democrat Jimmy Carter, 51-48.
Trump also lagged other Republicans running statewide in November, notably Sen. John Cornyn, who topped MJ Hegar by 9.6 points. Railroad Commissioner Jim Wright won by nearly as much.
So, its not as though Trump had coattails in Texas to brag about last fall, either.
His Texas margin of victory did seem like a lot compared with early July polls, which showed a 5-point deficit. But that was Joe Bidens high point in Texas and he effectively abandoned the state to focus elsewhere.
Texas had not been a battleground in decades before Trumps anemic showing in 2016.
The single-digit victory margin put a scare into Republicans, who have no viable path to the White House without Texas because of Democratic dominance in California and New York.
Democrats smelled opportunity for the 2018 midterms, when Beto ORourke held Sen. Ted Cruz below 51%, the worst showing for any statewide Republican nominee since 1994.
As for the purported landslide over Clinton in 2016, Trump occasionally liked to make that claim, as he did while stumping in Ohio six weeks before Election Day last fall.
Theres no precise definition, but political scientists and campaign experts reserve the term landslide for an overwhelming victory, especially one that exceeds expectations and demoralizes the losing side.
A 9-point win is a comfortable margin. In 2016, Trump carried battlegrounds Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin by less than 1 point.
But in Texas, which still hasnt elected a Democrat statewide since 1994, its not a margin for a Republican presidential nominee to brag about.
Trumps 9-point win over Clinton was 7 points smaller than Mitt Romneys victory margin in Texas four years earlier and the lowest for a Republican nominee since Bob Doles 5-point squeaker in 1996 though both Romney and Dole lost despite the support from deep red Texas.
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