Remember the Filibuster: How Wendy Davis' Stand Is Progressives' Alamo

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The Texas summer of 2013 is a milestone for progressives not unlike the Alamo was to those who fought for the state's independence. A crescendo of energy, fostered by an unprecedented level cooperation and coordination, led up to the “people's filibuster,” – a day that will live in Texas political infamy.

For many, it will be remembered as the day the Texas Legislature passed a bill that was purely political in nature that has so much consequence to people's lives and ultimately to our budget. It was a wake up call.

To others it is because it created the Wendy David phenomenon. The LT. Governor David Dewhurst, who also acts as the President of the Senate, lost his reelection in part because he was blamed for giving Wendy Davis a platform to become a competitive candidate for Governor.

See what it was like for an unruly mob organizer…For the Unruly Mob it was a chance to finally blow the lid off the boys club and show how things really operated and many GOP Senators were more than ready to play their roles.  It was one of the few times Democrats were winning the message war, and I don't mean the pro-life vs pro-choice war. I mean the “War on Women” war.

Everything the GOP opposition did to stop Wendy Davis or those who came to protest played right into the narrative Democrats had been forming. The people's filibuster wasn't a spontaneous combustion, it had been smoldering and building since the bill was first taken up.

It was a response by those who witnessed the rules being bent to breaking point before their very eyes, while they were told to be silent for the sake of “decorum.” It brings to mind a certain joke didn't go so well the last time a woman ran for Governor.

The events certainly changed my life. The Burnt Orange Report has sustained the increased traffic from our coverage, I got a couple of my filibuster related stories picked up by national publications like Esquire, a few graphics and tweets went viral, the above image was featured in a fashion magazine alongside Wendy and I got be a panelist at SXSWi this year describing social media's role in the whole ordeal.

It was a perfect storm for any organizer. We had dedicated people with huge networks, a clear narrative, and eventually the attention of the establishment media. That's not to mention the President who helped grab that attention when he tweeted, “Something special is happening in Texas.”  

Today something else special is happening in Texas. Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte will recall those events and try to recapture that spirit that brought their campaigns to life. And, if we want to drop a few shades of blue on Texas must continue those same efforts through November with the same enthusiasm we felt last summer while in orange.

You can follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.


About Author

Joe Deshotel

Joe was born and raised in Beaumont, Tx, but live music and politics brought him to Austin. He has worked in and around government and elections for over a decade including for a member of US Congress, the Texas Legislature, the Mayor of Austin. He currently serves as Communications Director for the Travis County Democratic Party. He is most interested in transportation, energy and technology issues. He also likes Texas Hold'em and commuting on his electric skateboard. Follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.

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