While we wait for votes to be counted across the country, it is clear that in spite of a resounding win in the national popular vote our country is profoundly divided and these divisions run deep. 

In Texas, we declared to be the biggest battleground, not the biggest blue state. Being a battleground state means we can take nothing for granted. It means fighting like hell on many fronts at once. We are proud to be in this fight alongside countless great Democrats and progressives in this push to make history.

While we achieved some goals in this election and came up short on others, we have marched forward in Texas. We just had the best presidential margin in decades and made inroads statewide– registering, persuading and mobilizing over 1 million more Democratic votes than the last presidential election. This is because of the movement every candidate, volunteer, and donor is helping build day by day. The slow pace of change might be disappointing at times, however over years, it is meaningful and will lead to real help for the people who need us. That is exactly what is happening in our state. 

A critical strategic goal this year was to block Dan Patrick’s agenda in the Texas Senate. By flipping Senate District 19 and electing Roland Gutierrez we have claimed our power in the Texas Senate. Texas Democrats were proud to invest in Senate District 19. 

In the lower chamber, we fought like hell to take back the Texas House. We didn’t pick up the nine seats we needed. We won an additional seat on the State Board of Education, congratulations to Rebecca Bell-Metereau. We protected the congressional districts we picked up in 2018. We congratulate Darlene Byrne, who has won Chief Justice of the 3rd Court of Appeals, and Rebeca Martinez, who has won Chief Justice of the 4th Court of Appeals. We’re eagerly awaiting more results in our Courts of Appeals districts that are currently too-close-to-call.

There is no doubt that Texas Democrats have work to do. We have tough questions to ask ourselves. There are significant challenges before us, and new solutions are required. The future of Texas is at stake.  

Any pundit who claims ‘Democrats lost Texas’ can’t see the forest for the trees. We have been making ground year, after year, after year, because we have been fighting for this. Every newly registered, first-time young voter will be even more prepared to vote in the next election. When everything has been stacked against us—gerrymandering, voter suppression, voter intimidation—we did not give up. We will not give up after the closest we’ve come in a generation to delivering our electoral college votes to a Democratic presidential candidate. 

All of this is bad news for Republicans. We may not have advanced as far as we hoped, but we are just as ready and eager as we have ever been for the fight to come. The next election will bring new voters, new voting maps, and new candidates. We are in the strongest position we’ve been in years and we are no less optimistic about the movement we are building. Texas is the biggest battleground state.

Editor’s Note: The above commentary was penned by Gilberto Hinojosa, chairman of the Texas Democratic Party. The guest column appears in The Rio Grande Guardian with the permission of the author.

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