Joe Biden defeating President Trump in Texas would be a "seismic" event that would "once and for all end the Trump presidency and Trumpism in America," former presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke predicted at an Axios digital event on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Recent polls indicate that Trump and Biden are currently in a dead heat in the state, traditionally a Republican stronghold, suggesting that Texas may be a presidential swing state come November. But O'Rourke warned that the Biden campaign is not doing enough to court Texas voters.

Of note: Jimmy Carter in the 1976 election was the last Democratic presidential candidate to win Texas.

What he's saying: Biden winning Texas "will allow America to start the necessary next chapter for our country," O'Rourke said. "Texas holds the power to do that."

  • "Young people are going to be the vanguard of this. We saw in 2018 where I came very close to defeating Ted Cruz and won more votes than any Democrat had ever won. Young people led the day. Young voter turnout was up 500% in early voting in Texas over the last midterm election," he continued.
  • "And then you name an issue, whether it is reproductive choice, climate change, access to health care, fighting back against the pandemic — young people are on the front lines forcing the conversations and the necessary change that needs to follow."

Asked whether the Biden campaign has done enough to take advantage of the rare opportunity to win Texas, O'Rourke responded, "No. But that's nothing new. Texas has really been on its own — I mentioned its been 44 years since Texas last voted for the Democratic nominee for president."

  • "We've been pretty much left to our own devices for the majority of that time. But there's been an extraordinary self-reliant movement, born of Texans, run by Texans, with Texans volunteering to reach out to their fellow Texans," he said.

The big picture: O’Rourke said the coronavirus pandemic and the state’s response to the virus has disproportionately affected Latinos, and he believes voters will go to the polls with the pandemic in mind.

The bottom line: “By all means, you’ve got to vote," O'Rourke said. "You do not want to look back on this election, this moment, and wonder 'what if?'"

Go deeper

The apocalypse scenario

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democratic lawyers are preparing to challenge any effort by President Trump to swap electors chosen by voters with electors selected by Republican-controlled legislatures. One state of particular concern: Pennsylvania, where the GOP controls the state house.

Why it matters: Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, together with a widely circulated article in The Atlantic about how bad the worst-case scenarios could get, is drawing new attention to the brutal fights that could jeopardize a final outcome.

New interactive tool shows Biden's mail voting danger

Data: SurveyMonkey; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Voters who disapprove of President Trump most strongly are by far the most likely to vote by mail in the presidential election, according to an Axios analysis of exclusive data from SurveyMonkey and Tableau.

Why it matters: The new data shows just how strongly the mail-in vote is likely to favor Joe Biden — with potentially enormous implications in the swing states due to the greater risk of rejection with mail ballots.

Democrats' mail voting pivot

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Democrats spent the early months of the coronavirus pandemic urging their base to vote absentee. But as threats of U.S. Postal Service delays, Team Trump litigation and higher ballot rejection rates become clearer, many are pivoting to promote more in-person voting as well.

Why it matters: Democrats are exponentially more likely to vote by mail than Republicans this year — and if enough mail-in ballots are lost, rejected on a technicality or undercounted, it could change the outcome of the presidential election or other key races.

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