Simple Reasons Why Progressives Don’t Do Well in Red States

Duane Gundrum
12 min readSep 22, 2021

As a political scientist currently working in the State of Texas, one of the things that often bothers me is whenever the national media tries to create a narrative that a red state is potentially turning purple (i.e., previously conservative state starts trending towards becoming more liberal). Whenever I read (or hear or watch) such proclamations, my immediate thought is that I’m receiving wishful thinking much more than actual news content. But every election cycle, these claims happen, and as often happens immediately after the election, rarely do those predictions come true.

This was my thought when there was so much effort put into claiming that Texas was going to be turning blue during the last election (and slightly before it). In recent memory, there were claims that Beta O’Rourke was going to overcome Ted Cruz for US senator, which never happened. And then there was a weird belief that President Trump was going to lose to Joe Biden in the state vote, and now I’m hearing claims that due to “popularity” Beta O’Rourke has a strong chance of becoming governor against Greg Abbott when he runs for reelection. Again, wishful thinking along with further beliefs that the state is on the verge of becoming that ever so elusive “purple” state.

Probably not going to happen.

But it could. If only progressives actually did something about making those predictions come true, something they NEVER do no matter how much blustering they do.

Now, before you get all “Duane, stop with your crappy conservative man-child crying,” I should probably point out that I’m not saying these things because I want red states to remain red, but because I’d be quite happy if they did turn blue, or at least purple. I just realize they’re probably not going to, and the reason is the rationality for why these areas always stay the same.

So, your argument right now is probably, “okay, smarty pants, tell us how progressives can actually win in these areas if you think you know better.”

And therefore, I will.

First, progressives need to understand the canvas on which they are trying to paint this bizarre approach to “winning” future elections. And they need to understand why their predictions rarely come…

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Duane Gundrum

Author of Innocent Until Proven Guilty and 15 other novels. Writer, college professor and computer game designer.