I feel for the Texans.
Just like us New Yorkers, there are good things and bad things about the places we call home, but one thing we have in common is that our states aren't competitive in national politics -- Texas is a deep red state; New York is true blue -- so we're spared the relentless campaigning and commercials that must drive people crazy in states like Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
But for one terrifying moment, it looked like Texans might not be spared. It came in May, when the usually pragmatic Hillary Clinton started daydreaming during an interview with New York magazine's Rebecca Traister.
Here's the relevant passage, when Traister asked the Democratic frontrunner which states might be "in play" in a head-to-head campaign against Trump:
"Texas!" she exclaimed, eyes wide, as if daring me to question this, which I did. “You are not going to win Texas,” I said. She smiled, undaunted. "If black and Latino voters come out and vote, we could win Texas," she told me firmly, practically licking her lips.
Cue images of reporters parachuting into Texas towns to cover campaign stops, families getting calls from pollsters during dinner hours, and endless political commercials. So. Many. Commercials.
I'm sure plenty of Texans breathed a sigh of relief when it became clear Clinton's Lone Star state ambitions were just a fantasy.
But now that fantasy has been resurrected -- sort of -- in the minds of some talking heads on the heels of an August 16 survey by Public Policy Polling that showed a much tighter contest in Texas than anyone thought possible. That poll put Donald Trump ahead of his Democratic rival by only six points, suddenly making it look like Texas was up for grabs.
But even PPP cautioned against jumping to conclusions about Texas, stating the obvious by reminding readers that the 2016 race is singular, with two historically unpopular and polarizing candidates. While we tend to think of Texas as a deep red state dominated by white voters -- which it is -- it's easy to forget about the state's sizeable Hispanic population, which isn't nearly as enthusiastic about Trump's proposed wall-building and comments about "Mexican" judges.
"A Democratic victory in Texas this year remains a stretch but within the numbers there are signs of Democrats being positioned to become seriously competitive there in the years ahead," the pollsters wrote.
So why is Trump in Texas on August 23? Why would he waste valuable, finite campaign days on a state he can pretty much take for granted?
Money, what else?
"Today Mr. Trump is in Texas for two large fundraisers and then he will be taping an important town hall on border security and crimes committed by illegal aliens that will air nationally over two nights on Fox News' Hannity," Trump senior communications adviser Jason Miller told The Dallas Morning News.
A planned rally tonight will "draw additional national attention to his call for border security as well as the need for a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton's bought-and-paid-for State Department," Miller added, referencing the release of a new batch of emails that show big-time donors to the Clinton Initiative allegedly received special access and favors from State while Clinton was Secretary.
In a post titled "Welcome to Texas, Donald Trump, but why are you here?" The Hill helpfully explains that the Republican candidate "hates raising money, but loves holding rallies, which he believes drive cable news coverage, demonstrate his grassroots support (due to the size of the crowds) and boost his spirits from the raucous response he receives."
Put bluntly: Trump is not in Texas today because he's worried about losing the state.
So tell our friends in Texas they really can breathe a sigh of relief. Their state hasn't become a late battleground in the 2016 campaign, and once Trump collects the last donor checks and signs off on his last rallies, the Lonestar state isn't likely to see either candidate again this season.
Sure, Trump will carry the state and, just like us New Yorkers, Texans' votes won't mean much. But at least they'll be spared the commercials.