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True Significance of Chris Bell's loss.

by: ManOverBoard

Wed Dec 17, 2008 at 10:03 AM CST

There's more to this story than lazy voters.

The Texas Democratic Party doesn't stand for anything. To win, our candidates must offer a compelling vision of change.

It is not enough to have an excellent field staff, to have a good media campaign, to have a great yard sign campaign, to have attractive/experienced/qualified candidates. It is also necessary to make a strong case for change.

The problem is that the democratic party attempts to win by shmoozing with Texan voters. That just isn't going to work in Texas. Texans will always vote for the real thing. They aren't interested in "Republican Lite" beer.

The other problem is a presumptious attitude about minority support. Democrats cannot take minority votes for granted.

Al Edwards, a black democrat state representative, endorsed phantom democrat Stephanie Simmons in the SD17 primary. No one had even seen a photo of Stephanie Simmons and she is not even listed by the Texas State Bar in TexasBar.com as a Texas Attorney (allegedly a "Missouri City attorney"). Yet, she got 21,000 votes in the primary (14%).

It's obvious that Simmons had the support of black voters, by virtue of the Al Edwards endorsement. And, it is also obvious that black voters in December still felt resentment towards Chris Bell for running against a black democrat.

For example, a Chris Bell neighborhood walker on the eve of the run-off was confronted with a sophisticated black voter who demanded to know why the party assumed he was a likely Chris Bell voter, just because he was an Obama voter.

In leading the State Senate victory committee, Austin State Senator Kirk Watson totally gambled on the Obama vote. As we have seen with Jim Martin's U.S. Senate campaign in Georgia, the Obama voter just isn't there for white candidates. Also, it is interesting that Houston candidates with Jewish sounding names (Troutman, Mincberg) also failed to benefit from Obama voter surges last month.

This is not a matter of stupid uninformed voters. The significance of the Obama voters has simply been misunderstood. We cannot take these people for granted. We must remake the Texas democratic party to focus on the needs and desires of the Obama voter.

First, we should forget about running white candidates for anything. From now on, so long as a black lawyer exists who can fill the slot, all candidates must be black. And, we must be prepared to support aggressive social justice advocacy. The Texas Prison System must be a chief focal point of reform efforts.  

We must give Obama voters a reason to believe in the Texas Democratic Party. Otherwise, we might as well close the doors.

Thanks in large part to the failed leadership of Kirk Watson, there is no hope favorable for redistricting in 2010-11. We need to build for 2020.

Put Al Edwards in charge next time.

The Kirk Watson State Senate Majority Campaign was doomed to fail because:
No articulation of a compelling vision of change.
Failure to recruit black candidates.
Lazy, ignorant voters.
Republicans are invincible.


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