Fort Worth, Texas is an interesting city that is home to many people. However, is Fort Worth a liberal city, or is it conservative like most of Texas?
Fort Worth is not a liberal city. Fort Worth, Texas leans conservative, but only barely. Out of the last five national elections, the city only voted Democratic in 2020. However, the city’s local leaders have typically been Republican for many years and remain that way.
The political situation in Fort Worth is a little more complicated than a clean split between conservative and liberal. There are a lot of reasons that neither label really effectively conveys the city’s political climate. Keep reading to find out more about it!
Anyone who was paying attention to the 2020 election while it was happening probably remembers Texas coming close to voting for Joe Biden instead of Donald Trump. Whether this reflects a demographic shift or was merely a fluke remains to be seen, but what is for sure is that it was the first time that Fort Worth had voted for a Democrat in a presidential election in years.
Many people took this to mean that Fort Worth was shifting further to the blue side of the spectrum, but that isn’t entirely the case. In 2021, 1 year after the presidential election, Republican Mattie Parker won her bid for mayor of the city by 54% to 46% and will continue her term until 2023.
This suggests that if there was a significant shift in the city towards liberalism, it was either specifically in opposition to certain political forces, or it was among a group of people who weren’t inclined to vote in mayoral elections.
Historically, presidential elections haven’t really been a good predictor of local politics in the Fort Worth area anyways. While the city has voted hard Republican in every presidential election since 2000, for about half of that time, the city’s mayor was actually a Democrat.
Because of this, looking at recent election history doesn’t give the full story when it comes to Fort Worth politics. In order to do that, we’ll have to examine a few key issues in relation to the city’s policies.
Fort Worth, alongside its neighbor Dallas, was one of the many American cities to sign the Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement in 2005, making a promise to decrease greenhouse emissions over an unspecified period of time. However, since it signed that agreement, the city has done very little to actually change things.
According to the 2021 Clean Energy scorecard, the city has only earned about 17 points out of a possible 100. This remarkably low score trails behind most of the other cities in the state and is likely the result of the city’s lack of a plan to switch to more energy-efficient power sources.
It also may be influenced by Texas governor Greg Abbott’s law preventing cities from banning the use of fossil fuels to power new construction, which stops cities from being able to regulate their own growth when it comes to power consumption and makes it much more difficult for them to encourage the use of renewable energy.
It also may be influenced by the city’s ownership of a crypto-mining operation.
The city of Fort Worth is, according to a press release, the first city in the United States to have its own bitcoin mine. Setting aside the fact that bitcoin wasn’t really the most widely used cryptocurrency when the mine was opened, it’s hard to see this move as anything other than an attempt to draw libertarian types to the city.
While there is no official party that fully supports the use of cryptocurrency, the toll that crypto mining can take on the environment is definitely something that gives many liberals pause. Because the machines used to mine crypto use a ton of electricity and produce no useful products, they are often seen as both a waste of precious natural resources and a source of harmful pollution.
That being said, the city does seem interested in mitigating any environmental issues the mine may cause by using more energy-efficient computers, which will likely decrease the direct damage that the mine ends up doing. However you feel about cryptocurrency, this seems like a right-leaning move.
One thing that liberals find extremely important and that some conservatives oppose is LGBTQ+ rights, and it is easy to see why Fort Worth isn’t just another conservative city. The Human Rights Campaign, a premier advocacy group in the US, gives Fort Worth 100 out of 100 points for LGBTQ+ rights.
This includes representation in government, city anti-discrimination laws, and the stated positions on the subject of city leadership. This makes Fort Worth a relatively progressive city in that it opposes much of the openly anti-LGBTQ+ legislation that the state itself has written.
This includes ordinances that forbid employment discrimination based on gender identity, something that many cities in the US lack entirely.
However, advocates within the city have criticized this analysis as being incomplete, as Fort Worth currently lacks both open support for trans people and assurance of key healthcare for trans people. This is consistent with the state as a whole, which has recently ramped up anti-trans legislation and rhetoric.
That being said, the city certainly wants to be seen as pro-LGBTQ+, and city leaders have said that they stand for equality for all people, so the city has a strong chance of changing in the near future.
The Texas trigger law HB 1280 went into effect on August 25, 2022. While the city is currently home to a handful of abortion clinics, they will likely have to close or are planning on closing in the near future, as the law, as well as a few other Texas laws, bans abortions.
While the city’s policy in the past has been relatively permissive, it seems unlikely that people will be able to avoid prosecution at the state level for participating in or performing an abortion. The city’s position will likely become more clear as time progresses.
Freedom of speech is critical for a functioning liberal democracy, and even many supposedly liberal cities have a huge problem when it comes to the way that they treat protestors. Even in places like Seattle and Portland, the police and national guard have been deployed en masse to quell peaceful protests.
In the most recent mass protest event in the US, the George Floyd Black Lives Matter protests, Fort Worth didn’t call in the national guard or institute curfews. The police also dropped all charges against the few protestors who they did arrest towards the beginning of the protests.
This is a much better record than most other cities that had major protest movements during this period. That is not to say that the police didn’t perform any violence against protestors, as there was at least one serious altercation during this period. However, the Fort Worth Police Department does seem to have a better track record than most when it comes to protecting the freedom of assembly.
Is Fort Worth a Liberal City?
In many ways, it’s difficult to call Fort Worth a liberal city. Its current failure to institute proper energy policies, embrace of cryptocurrency, and lack of support for trans people make it a right-leaning city at the most. It also has a Republican mayor and has done nothing to mitigate harsh Texas anti-abortion laws.
However, its devotion to upholding the right to assembly and pronounced support of LGBTQ+ rights makes the question slightly more complicated. Fort Worth doesn’t really fit in with the idea of a conservative city very well in these ways, especially considering that it has a history of democratic mayors and has recently swung liberal in a national election.
Perhaps the political leaning of the city of Fort Worth will become clearer as time passes. After all, most big cities in the US currently lean to the left, and Fort Worth feels increasingly that way as well.
Whatever happens, Fort Worth occupies a unique political space in modern America, being a large city in one of the most conservative states in the union that can only barely be considered conservative itself. This city is certainly one to watch in the coming years!
Should Liberals Move to Fort Worth?
Any liberal who feels comfortable moving to Texas will likely be as comfortable moving to Fort Worth as they would moving to one of the more left-leaning cities in the state. They may even have a chance to influence the city for the better, as recent elections have been quite close.
On the other hand, it doesn’t feel good to know that your property taxes are going to a city that isn’t trying to improve its relationship with fossil fuels and that isn’t providing trans people with the support that they need. People who feel like they need to live in a place that takes more responsibility for its impact will want to move somewhere else.