Blue Texas: Will Red Texas Go Blue in 2016?
The first thing to realize is that Texas is rising.
More accurately, it has always been a political powerhouse, but headlines will be headlines. The latest headline — Texas To Go Blue Soon! — has likewise been around for some time. Still, the national Democratic Party, unlike the somewhat dilapidated state party in Texas, has decided that enough is enough, and that Texas and its 38 electoral votes deserve some attention.
This is especially true now that Public Policy Polls have shown Hilary Clinton to be more popular than leading Republicans in potential 2016 matchups. See "Hillary Turns Texas Blue." She is the focus of so much speculation.
The new effort is called Battleground Texas, whose website was launched today, as the Texas Tribune reports. The premise is that the Democratic Party will infuse Texas with tens of millions of dollars and lots of volunteer attention using the time-tested methods of micro-organizing utilized successfully by presidents Bush and Obama in the last three elections, as well as seek the expert counsel of campaign veterans. This will thereby build up the party infrastructure and spark excitement about Texas being on the receiving end of politicians’ attention during campaign season, instead of being used as a brief stopover — an ATM pit stop, if you will — long enough to dine with bigwig donors and refuel the private jet in order to begin yet another pass through the swing states.
My first reaction was one of enthusiasm. One-party states are not good for anyone for very long — eventually the party in power starts to trip over itself, trying to avoid problems of its own making and attempting to keep united disparate party elements. Echo chambers are not conducive to democracy. Uncompetitive politics is about as healthy for America as crony capitalism.
On top of this, Texans of every political stripe should be excited about the prospect of tens of millions of dollars directed to purchasing goods and services in our state. Gov. Perry should love it; blue California IS investing in Texas! It’s like a mini-stimulus package without any federal strings attached. Please, Democrats, swipe your credit cards right here. (We can go blue, I promise. Just spend a few more million first.) Residents will be pleased to hear candidates come to discuss the values of Sam Houston or Sam Rayburn and how much they admire LBJ and Barbara Jordan — instead of listening to them work crowds in Iowa or Ohio.
However, if Battleground Texas gets off the ground, then let me make a few suggestions. First, Texans’ names need to be on the marquee. Carpetb ... outsiders, I mean, who come in from the colder states seeking to instruct Texans and demonstrate proper political habits will not play well. Similarly, they have to demonstrate this isn’t just a passing fad amongst eager politicos at the DNC and gullible big-money donors.
Also, open offices throughout the state — not just in the big cities, but in smaller cities like Odessa, Midland, Alpine, Amarillo, and Abilene as well. They’re more important. The regions where these cities are located are the places where some people don’t trust Democrats as far as they can be thrown. Fail here, go no further.
And don’t forget Fort Worth: second only to San Antonio with its Castro twins and Speaker Joe Straus, Fort Worth is a rising power in state politics with Prince George Bush III for the GOP and State Senator Wendy Davis for the Democrats.
Lastly, actually spend the time and money advertised. Once you’ve committed resources, do so fully. People don’t trust groups who don’t try their best to deliver. Likewise, if Battleground Texas is only looking at part of the electorate, it will fail. Only a group that seeks to appeal to all Texans and compete across the state will open the door for victory.