Magazine December 3, 2018, Issue

Urban Cowboys

Eugene Kettletop Montoya waits for midterm voters in El Paso, Tex., November 6, 2018. (Reuters/Adria Malcolm)
As Texas grows less countrified, Republicans struggle to adjust

There were once so few Republicans in Fort Bend County (just west of Houston) that a letter addressed to “Mr. Republican” went straight to the county GOP chairman. That was 1960. Eight years later, Richard Nixon would narrowly carry the county, and he won it again, less narrowly, in 1972. By the 1980s, Fort Bend was sending the likes of Ron Paul and Tom DeLay to Congress.

But what suburbia giveth it also taketh away. In her 2016 race against Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton became the first Democratic presidential contender to carry Fort Bend County since Lyndon Johnson. Its larger cities,

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