The 3rd largest county & 2nd largest city will be run by two women who outspent 4/1 & 11/1, respectively. Lina Hidalgo & Karen Bass prove an engaged democratic grassroots can beat the rich & the oligarchy.
Yesterday a full-page ad appeared in the Houston Chronicle that I found bewildering. A usually affable millionaire furniture salesman, aka Mattress Mack, who promotes his brand by doing very visible philanthropic deeds in the community, came out hard in support of an unqualified MAGA Republican candidate to unseat a young Latina woman, Lina Hidalgo.
I assumed Mattress Mack’s benevolence came with two purposes; brand awareness and benevolence. After watching his support for the unqualified MAGA Republican candidate, Alexandra Mealer, and being a part of the misinformation campaign bordering on lies, it was clear my assessment was wrong, and my fondness for him was misplaced. He became just another rich political hack buying a politician to control.
It turns out Jim McIngvale and his wife invested over $600K in this county campaign. Other developers and MAGA Christian Extremists also invested millions in supporting Alexandra Mealer — in a county judge race! This does not include the outside groups. Lina Hidalgo was outspent more than four to one. But she prevailed. She was reelected through the work of hundreds of grassroots organizers. Those who chose to use their minds and their democracy beat money.
The Houston and national oligarchs who supported the losers are not happy. They lost throughout the country. But most knew that it was smart to be quiet, to eat their losses. After all, they were trying to buy politicians like they purchased slaves in the past.
But not all were quiet. Mattress Mack must have been upset that the young woman, Lina Hidalgo, called him out. How dear she. An ad paid for by Gallery Furniture, Jim McIngvale’s aka Mattress Mack’s store, took out a full page ad where they attacked her and demanded an apology. Really? Will they apologize for distorting her record?
I could enumerate a list of what it meant to have Lina Hidalgo as County Judge, but it would make this newsletter much too long and change the focus. Suffice it to say she does not take monies from the developers and other rich cats doing business with the county. She created programs to build up the youth and education. And she buttressed the county’s healthcare system as she willed us through COVID with headwinds from an incompetent Texas Governor, Greg Abbott.
What I found most refreshing about Lina Hidalgo’s win and Karen Bass’ win is the living proof that grassroots actions can still win elections. Many throw their hands up into the air because they see the rich getting richer and using that wealth to buy voters and politicians. But I have more faith in the voters. If we can get to them and plant the seed that encourages them to think critically, enough of them will vote for the right candidates to turn this country around. That this could happen in the third largest country in a purported Red State and the second largest city in a Blue State is the power of what the grassroots can do.
The basic tenet here is that we must engage everyone. We must engage rural, urban, and exurban. We must engage those of every religion, ethnicity, and creed. We must seek people of all ideologies because there is one ideology we all believe in, comfortable survival. That is the fear of our plutocracy, our oligarchy, our corporatocracy, and the ultra-rich. The reason they try to keep us fighting with lies and misinformation is that together we would bring the earned equity they have legally stolen.
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