Wendy Davis is getting on her game at the right time
This week a friend sent me a blog post written by Paul Burka, senior executive editor of Texas Monthly. The piece titled ‘What Governor's Race?’ just may be the kick the Democrats in the great state of Texas need to get on their game after the following assertion.
With three months to go until the general election, there isn't much reason to talk about the governor's race. It's over. In fact, there was no governor's race. The only good day Wendy Davis had was the contretemps with Abbott over his keeping the location of dangerous chemicals secret, an exchange that Davis clearly won. Otherwise she has little to show for her efforts.
It's not entirely her fault. The larger problem is that the Democratic brand in this state is so damaged. The party lacks the infrastructure to win an election. The idea of turning Texas blue this year is a pipe dream. Greg Abbott is no ball of fire, but Republicans have figured out a simple formula to winning the race: just mention Barack Obama's name at every opportunity. It's the only strategy they need.
Paul Burka’s cynical view of Texas politics neglect two specific points. The campaign has not begun in earnest. The Real Clear Politics polling shows the race between Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Texas State Senator Wendy Davis at 50.5% to 36.8%, a 13.7 point advantage for Greg Abbott. Unlike Republicans in 2012, one should not assume these polls are skewed. They are likely correct for the makeup of the sample polled.
Updated poll: The Conservative Rasmussen likely voter poll released this weekend shows the race 48/40, an 8 point Abbott advantage. This is great news for the Wendy Davis campaign.
While the rest of the country sees Texas as a solid Red State, the reality is that Texas is a non-voting state. This is not just conjecture. The report from the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas at Austin is probative. The report points out that Texas ranks 51st in voter turnout, 42nd in voter registration, 43rd in donating, 42nd in volunteering, and 37th in group membership. It also shows that Latinos and other immigrants or least likely to participate in civic engagement.
The non-voting culture is not an accident. It is well-designed. A biased media curtail information on air and in print. While the coverage given to Republican events are generally extensive, those given to Democrats rarely get consummate exposure.
Local community newspapers that are very prevalent throughout the suburbs in Texas fail to run Liberal, Progressive, or Democratic points of view in the similar numbers to Republicans. They allow the spewing of verifiable propaganda and fallacies from Republican politicians and their operatives. In fact our local paper which ran our articles every two weeks after constant prodding for inclusiveness, changed their policy. They stopped printing all political op-eds from community members. They of course continued printing the propaganda from the ‘politicians’ elected from the region.
The media and a corrupt Republican Party cannot stop a good ground game. The effects of an effective ground game cannot be seen in current sample of polls. Many polls determine likely voters based on whether people have voted before. Of course a poll looking at registered voters is only good for the current registered voter base.
What is happening in Texas is an unprecedented registration campaign. Battleground Texas is a statewide organization that is registering and mentoring voters, many who have never voted before. Local Democratic clubs are independently launching voter drives throughout their districts. Most importantly they are establishing relationships with potential voters to attempt to increase the likelihood they will turn out at the polls. Wendy Davis, Lieutenant Governor Candidate Leticia Van de Putte, State Controller Michael Collier, and many other statewide officers have been crisscrossing the state’s large population (and nonvoting) centers throughout this huge state.
Texans are hurting. Republicans have had near absolute power in the state for decades and can blame no other party for the hurt millions of Texans are feeling. Republicans in Texas have hurt Texans economically, educationally, and health wise.
Texas Governor Rick Perry and the current Texas Republican Party have sentenced thousands of Texans to death by refusing the Medicaid expansion to the Affordable Care Act. Republicans in Texas have interfered with the reproductive health of women by effecting laws that closed many clinics. Texas Republicans have cut billions from our children’s education while providing $19 billion yearly in tax breaks and credits to businesses. Texas Republicans continue to endanger the lives of Texans with lax regulations that cause the continued death of many in cancer alleys and catastrophic fatal explosions as occurred at a fertilizer plant in West Texas.
The airwave wars have not yet started. Texas Republicans only have social issues to run on. Even those are running away from them. If Democrats frame their message in a manner that touches every Texan, they will win. Democrats must all read Drew Westen’s ‘The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation’. Democrats must tailor the solutions to Republican inflicted damage specifically to the lives of every Texan. Make each one of those ads, those rallies, and those events speak directly to the lives and well-being of every individual in that audience.
Who can forget the summer of 2013 as Texans marched in the thousands on Austin? Who can forget as Texans out-rallied Republicans at the Texas Capitol? Texans are waiting for real leadership. During the Wendy Davis rallies throughout the summer of 2013 the electricity was evident among women, among the young, and among the old throughout. It is time to awaken the state and shock Paul Burka and the Republican establishment.
Note: Many Americans first came to the realization of the oppressive policies being instituted in the state of Texas with the heroic filibuster effected by Texas State Senator Wendy Davis last Tuesday. That filibuster was just a continuation of an incessant fight by valiant Texas women who refuse to capitulate to a Texas undemocratic Republican Party. Here are many of those events.