On Friday, Battleground Texas hosted a fundraiser at Netroots Nation in San Jose. About one hundred people from across the country came to support Battleground. It was energizing to see the national progressive community stepping up early to invest in Texas.
Burnt Orange Report Editor-in-Chief Katherine Haenschen spoke first, talking about the great work Battleground is already doing and how turning Texas blue will change the country by making it very difficult for Republicans to win presidential elections. Attendees then heard from Laura Derrick, Training Director from Battleground, who told a moving personal story about how the health care fight inspires her work. Jeremy Bird, Senior Adviser to Battleground Texas, then laid out Battleground's strategy.
Read more below the jump.Battleground will compete all over Texas. That means all areas of the state – including the ones where the Democratic vote needs to be 35 percent instead of 27 percent. It will do so through greatly expanded voter registration (they've already trained thousands of people to do so), specific community outreach including a Latino-specific program coming later this year, and grooming capable candidates of seizing the opportunity to take office. Battleground's strategy is designed for the long haul, and Bird reminded everyone that Battleground will stay until Texas turns blue.
This is not about one election cycle, or one candidate. It's about building up a lasting Democratic base that will enable Texans to elect worthy public servants.
Bird emphasized that all money donated to Battleground goes directly and entirely to Texas. In the past, political money has gone outside of Texas as Democrats ran campaigns that excluded this state. Never before has there been an organization of national field experts specifically designed to turn Texas blue. Bird also emphasized that Battleground is not supposed to be the progressive organization in Texas. All progressive groups and citizens need to work in their own capacities to make this happen, while collectively working to increase voter turnout and educate people about what's at stake.
There are 1.5 million unregistered Hispanic Texans, 500,000 unregistered African Americans, and 200,000 unregistered Asian Texans. There are more Hispanic Texans in Houston's Harris County than Nevada and Colorado combined.
Imagine how different our politics would be if Texas weren't last in voter turnout.
On a busy day at Netroots, one hundred people showed up to change one state. But as Haenschen emphasized, this isn't just about Texas. Turning Texas blue will change Texas and change America. If you couldn't attend the fundraiser but would like to contribute, you can do so here.