I don’t think we should expect much at first out of this sort of endeavor, but it is well worth pursuing over the long-term:
National Democrats are taking steps to create a large-scale independent group aimed at turning traditionally conservative Texas into a prime electoral battleground, crafting a new initiative to identify and mobilize progressive voters in the rapidly-changing state, strategists familiar with the plans told POLITICO.
The organization, dubbed “Battleground Texas,” plans to engage the state’s rapidly growing Latino population, as well as African-American voters and other Democratic-leaning constituencies that have been underrepresented at the ballot box in recent cycles. Two sources said the contemplated budget would run into the tens of millions of dollars over several years – a project Democrats hope has enough heft to help turn what has long been an electoral pipe dream into reality.
At the center of the effort is Jeremy Bird, formerly the national field director for President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, who was in Austin last week to confer with local Democrats about the project.
In a statement to POLITICO, Bird said the group would be “a grass-roots organization that will make Texas a battleground state by treating it like one.”
Again, this should be viewed as a long-term project, and expecting to see immediate results in 2014 would be silly. But think of the payoff- if Dems could flip Texas, there won’t be another Republican President for generations.
Not 2014 or 2016, but definitely by 2020.
Try telling that to the morons who keep using “acknowledging the harsh reality” as an excuse to do nothing.
Agree. Other Southern states too, but especially Texas. Going for the gold.
@Chris: The only other Southern state I can see as a target is Georgia. And of course, it would mean not only getting the states to flip in Presidential elections, but all the way down to dog catcher.
Nuke it from orbit.
Unless the republican strategy of gerry mandering all the battleground states electoral votes is successful.
Sorry, don’t mean to suggest doing nothing is an option. This is the kind of aggressive strategy that Democrats have not been noted for. So, after Texas is Arizona and Georgia next on the list?
You’re not going to flip anything, now or for the foreseeable future, until you thwart the efforts of the wingnuts to change the system by which electoral votes are assigned. Take a look at Virginia. Other states will see this and jump on it like dog on a pork chop. Fifty-five percent or so of the Texas electorate will be jobbed, and this will be the reason why.
Forum Transmitted Disease
Texas is totally winnable. All that’s needed is resources and manpower. I think we have both.
@NorthLeft12: Arizona’s a lost cause. I think Georgia may not be.
The big GOP election-rigging effort now is to make California, Illinois and New York proportional electoral college states instead of winner take all.
They specifically don’t want it to be a nationwide thing, see, because that would mean some Dem electoral votes from Texas, Kentucky, Georgia, etc. They just want those big blue states to pay off in enough GOP electoral votes to try to win again.
I saw the ad campaigns and talking points showing up here in Illinois and I looked into it and found the same thing going on in Cali and NY.
Watch this one. It’s going to be next year’s version of voter ID laws. They’re calling it “Electoral College Reform” and ALEC and Co are going to push it state by state (except in strong Red states).
Democrats need to stop being outgunned at the state level to put an end to the gerry mandering electoral vote crap. It is my hope that California has a dramatic turnaround that can be, at least partially, pinned on the sane district mapping policy, and other states then following suit. Sane districts that are competitive is where the best (or at least not the worst) politicians will come from.
Well, Florida, Virginia and North Carolina are already competitive, so there’s that. Isn’t the nonwhite population growing in the other states too? Is Georgia the only one where it’s enough to matter?
Well, the latter usually takes more time, at least if the last realignment is to be believed. The South was leaning Republican as early as the sixties and pretty much in the bag for them by the eighties at the presidential level, but at the lower levels it didn’t flip until 1994.
Smart idea. Yes, it’ll take years, but unless the GOP turns back into the party of Lincoln, T. Roosevelt, and Ike — and does it PDQ — the demographics are clearly on the Dems’ side. It’s good to see the party take the long view (finally).
Nice “I Wanna Be a Cowboy” reference
I doubt that it would truly mean the end of the Republican party; it would instead trigger the next major realignment. My guess is that it would mean that the Evangelical/racist wing of the Republican party would lose power in favor of the business wing, and that will undermine the hold the Democrats have over culturally and economically conservative minorities who are siding with the Democrats primarily because the Republicans are hating on them so venomously. You’ll wind up with very different Democratic and Republican parties rather than an era of single party dominance.
GA is not winnable.
@Forum Transmitted Disease: Arizona is not a lost cause. We came pretty damn close to electing Carmona and that was with a Mormon not only running against him but also running for president. Do not underestimate the power of the Mormon vote, esp, in AZ being that it’s a red to purple state. BTW we have more Dem reps than Repub reps.
Anyway, I just know the reason they are going after Texas was because of my email to the Obama campaign post election when they asked what I thought they should do. My first priority was Texas and of course because I am so important they listened to me.
The National elections are important but they will always be held hostage by the state houses. Unless we can flip the state races in WI, OH, PA, VA there will always be the threat that they can fix the national outcome
@PopeRatzo: Absolutely. Thanks for bringing their tactics into a larger context. NOTHING, I repeat, NOTHING, is more important than making sure that this doesn’t happen. I live in California. Safely blue? Maybe not, if we don’t work our reps and senators, (such as they are.) There will be obscene amounts of money behind this. Complacency is the enemy.
A small FTFY. I have no doubt at all that the big business wing of the party has kept the power for all this time.
@Forum Transmitted Disease: Arizona may not be that much of a lost cause. Remember, 2008 had a favorite son on the ballot. In 2012, Romney’s religion probably helped him there (big Mormon population in Arizona). That skews the numbers a bit, I think.
@PopeRatzo: there’s a decent argument to be made that states should have some form of proportional split of electoral votes based on the results. But it only makes sense if every state with more than 3 electors gets on board. I’m definitely not on board with tying electoral votes to national popular vote results though.
Sharing this with some texas Dems who have been hurting for something like this to happen.
If Texas continues to make getting contraception and abortions difficult for poor people to obtain, then in 18 years they will be able to vote.
I think a lot of these goopers should be riding the range.
The Amanna High output 6 burner commercial grade one. Preferably on an ungreased gridle
Maybe not generations, but at least a decade or two. Remember that FRD’s coalition fell apart for a time at the 14-year (Congressional election) and 20-year (presidential election) points. At the presidential level at least the coalition was pretty much gone after 36 years. (Carter won due to Watergate and Clinton never even got up to 50% of the popular vote.) Obama won with a different electoral coalition.
Still, given the fear, self-pity, obsessive self-delusion, intolerance, ideological rigidity, and mindless paranoia of so much of today’s Republican base, it’s pretty hard to imagine there not being a substantial fraction of bitter dead-enders on the right for a good long time. This will greatly complicate any effort to moderate the Republican message enough to recapture demographic groups they’ve alienated.
The electoral vote is outdated and it’s time to push for an amendment to rid us of it. Since the President has the so called bully pulpit, he should push for that now.
This is a great idea. However, I’m just a bit busy here in PA trying to keep our piece of shit governor and his corrupt cronies in the state legislature from disenfranchising anyone who doesn’t live in Blair or Carbon or Greene or Clearfield or Potter counties.
@Chris: Add Georgia, and North Carolina to Virginia along with this Texas idea and elections will be called before dinner is over every time.
@Schlemizel: Or maybe on one of the high-end Viking ranges. After all, the Vikings were undeniably white.
the golden ticket
2014 isn’t realistic but 2016 might be.
And it has approximately zero chance of passing in California. We have Democratic supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature and all Democrats in state office. The only hope would be to pass it as an initiative, and it’s hard to imagine it passing.
Yeah, but what happens when they become too marginalized a group to win elections – not only at the national but even at the state level?
I mean, after Reconstruction the Democrats were reduced to that kind of rump where they basically couldn’t win on the national level anymore (only one President between Johnson and Wilson). But at least they still had their little fiefdom in the South, and the rest of the country was willing to let them run it as they saw fit. This time, though, they might not even be able to do that, not with the way nonwhite populations are growing even in their formerly “safe” states. I mean, if liberals start winning Texas, where are they going to go?
Sargeant Pepper's Spray
Texas, Arizona and Georgia are the states most likely to be in play that are now reliably red. (North Carolina is already a near toss-up state. Indiana may have been a one-time 2008 exception and Missouri, I honestly have no idea about the demographic changes therein.) Flip Arizona over the next decade and the GOP is in real trouble. Flip Texas and the GOP needs a whole new strategy for survival.
I live in Texas, and I can tell you this will be a very long term project. Last fall’s election cycle was about how candidate A is even more conservative than batshit crazy conservative candidate B.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
Being a Texian, I will take anything anyone wants to throw at the state to end the Republican stranglehold on the state. Between now and November, 2014, the party could just spend time getting Democrats registered and telling them to vote, and that would do a lot toward fixing the problem.
@Roger Moore: You’re correct, of course. I just can’t help taking the long view. Edmund G. (Pat) Brown to Ronald Reagan. Yeah, there were a lot of people in between, but they were the players. They shaped the social and political direction of the state for decades. It’s happened more than once. It could happen again.
OT, but apropos of the recent freakout over the recent Frontline show, Mary Jo White is an unbelievably great choice to head the SEC. Well done, Kenyan Mooslim Usurper!
@Roger Moore: CA and IL are already in the interstate compact. We’ve put our weight behind the popular vote, not gerrymandering. NY could jump on, which would take the committed EV count up from 132 to 161. Still leaves 109 EVs to pick up for it to be activated, with most of the solidly blue states already in the compact.
How they’re going to get that through the California Legislature, which has two-thirds Democratic majorities in both houses, is an interesting question.
I moved to Texas 5 years ago for a job and cheap living. So did many others. While the growing latino population is a part of it’s shift to blue, it’s a lot more than that. The cities are becoming more liberal. Dallas has one of the largest gay communities in the country and it’s an integral part of the city that everyone (gay or straight) participates in. The reason Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, etc. all went Obama this year is more than just minority votes. It’s a changing place. Democrats are smart to target it.
And PS. all those “save Austin and nuke the rest” comments I hear so often are really annoying. Some of us are here trying to do good. Support is preferable to insults.
@geg6: How do we get that statehouse to flip? When are y’all scheduled to do that election?
I’ve been in Texas (San Antonio) since 2006. There hasn’t been one even marginally interesting Democratic candidate for any state-level office since I’ve been here. Surely there must be better candidates out there that aren’t running because they know it’s currently a lost cause to run as D.
Herbal Infusion Bagger
Could still take it to a referendum, but likely they’d be throwing their money away.
@Forum Transmitted Disease:
Arizona is not a lost cause. 5 of 9 Congressmen are Dems, including an open atheist lesbian.
Inkblot strategy. Spread out from Austin and turn the rest of the state liberal.
@japa21: Then you know very little about the south.
North Carolina is already a battleground state. The state level dems lost in 2010 and that set up the clusterf** we’ve got now. But there is a viable group of white Dems, blacks, and the Latino population is large and growing.
@Herbal Infusion Bagger: It’ll never pass referendum. We vote more strongly for Dems nationally than locally.
Sure, but I was thinking more about the Republicans’ attempt at getting short-term electoral gains. The thing that’s moving the proportional electoral vote business right now is that there’s an anomalous situation of states that are reliably Democratic in presidential elections but that nonetheless have Republican run state governments and, in many cases, severely gerrymandered congressional districts. It make sense for them to try to lock in what national advantage they can while they have the upper hand locally. In contrast, the Republicans aren’t in charge in California and aren’t likely to get in charge any time soon. It’s hard to imagine the Republicans getting in position to win back the state government without also being in position to win the state outright in a presidential election, in which case dividing the electoral votes would be to their disadvantage.
This. See NC 2010.
Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner.
I’ve lived in Sugar Land (outside of Houston) for the 40 years I’ve been alive. I remember when Ann Richards led the joint. If we’d had anyone remotely like her, I think we could have given Governor Goodhair a run for his money this last election. Mayor White is a good man, but he’s as exciting as corn flakes.
They gerrymandering is still killing us.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@mclaren: Dallas County went for Obama. Considering it’s the anchor for the Metroplex (sorry Ft. Worth), it’ll have to spread out from there as well.
@Ash Can: The “long view” is that by then most of us will be under thirty feet of seawater.
I’ve read about her. Great choice.
@curiousleo: Which is why I didn’t include it or Virgnia or Florida since none of those can be called reliably red states any more and have definitely gone purple. I was referring to states that are red that could be flipped to either purple or blue.
I gotta say – if you want to freak out the right-wing nutjobs in the US who are afraid of a great brown “Reconquista” surging up from Mexico, you almost couldn’t pick a better name for it. (Perhaps if it were in Spanish, but that’s about it.)
And I don’t say that as a complaint or a suggestion that it’s a bad name. Getting right-wing nutjobs to freak out and convince the moderates around them that they’re freaks is a winning strategy. I’m just surprised that it would come from the national party.
I think 2020 is the big-time target year. The only reason the GOP has the house right now is because the 2010 census came out and 2010 was a midterm year that had lower democrat turnout. In 2020, we will have a presidential election and this has seemingly boded well in recent times for stronger dem turnout, even when the enthusiasm gap generally was lower. The real goal should be trying to find a way to take the Texas statehouse in 2020 in order to impose a less gerrymandered set of districts in which we can best maximize our growing bases in the Latino, African American, and youth voting blocs.
Who’s your cowgirl, John?
Tone in DC
I hear you.
Thing is, the president just appearing on TV freaks them out. They are perpetually outraged, apoplectic and extremely butthurt. Not to mention apeshit, batshit and full of shit.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@jgaugust: We’ll have to build up to that, though. We’re not going to convert Texas in one election. We need to do a little bit in 2014, then more in 2016, 2018, and hopefully gain control in 2020.
OT. Blog needs moar thread on Reid filibuster “cave.” Yer slackin, Cole — this is primo trollbait.
@NonyNony: Maybe the project should be “Campo de Batalla de Texas” just for extra giggles.
Nah, if you really want to drive them up the wall you need to include something about retaking the Alamo.
the golden ticket
Hey Cole, your buddy Fat Bastard Christie is back to bashing Obama today. What say you Nostradamus?
You are judged by the company you keep.
@Belafon (formerly anonevent): next you’ll be telling me that Rome was not built in a day.
@Roger Moore: Seems to me that ‘Alamo’ is a Spanish word. Means car rental, right?
Must admit I don’t grok how the interstate compact is not unconstitutional until the Congress approves of the agreement. Article I, section 10 (emphasis added)
Has McCain weighed in on how she’s not tough enough on Iran yet? Or how she hasn’t answered his questions about Benghazi?
Obviously these pressing matters need to be addressed before her nomination can go forward.
I would like them to hold off on the money for the Texas operation until they have a plan for fighting and winning the changes in the electoral college allotment. That is a near term fight whose payoff might be felt in 2016.
It’s not really a “compact” that enforceable in court. Each state could later decide to “withdraw” by changing how they allocate their electoral votes.
@NotMax: I don’t know, but there are a ton of interstate compacts that never got ratified by Congress.
@Baud: True, but the compact only ‘activates’ when there are enough EVs to guarantee the outcome. If a state withdrew and pulled the total below 270, the whole thing turns off until it goes back over 270.
It is still an agreement. And an agreement pertaining specifically to (no pun intended) execution of federal elections.
Also too. supposing the courts won’t be dragged into the miasma is not tenable.
Right. I’m just saying it’s not the type of agreement that requires congressional approval to be valid under the Constitution because no state is bound in any way.
Sure. Nothing is certain in law when you have 5 conservative Justices on the bench.
I’m from Texas originally and I still visit there frequently – the media there is utterly hopeless, it’s like Fox News times infinity all the time on every TV channel and on every radio station. There are still a LOT of Dems there, but they are overwhelmed all the time, have no organization to speak of (outside some major cities) and the bias is towards the most conservative position on every single conceivable issue. The effort is laudable, but it is unlikely to bear fruit for a long time.
Oh, and to quote the stripper song from the Full Monty, you can leave your hat on.
True enough, but I’d suspect that in the vast majority of cases they involve projects or outlays that include federal funds, so there is an implicit approval.
@Matt: To be totally fair, she’s bisexual. Trust me, she’s suzanne’s rep. She’s got all the goods on her.
Nope. At least not to my knowledge. But I’m sure we’re going to hear from the usual quarters about the inherent evil of the revolving door, and howls of outrage over who Debevoise represented during Ms. White’s tenure there.
And the pushback from Fortune is really interesting: there take is that it’s too late to put a prosecutor at the SEC, and what’ really needed is a regulator.
I see no qualifiers or exceptions in the text from the section of powers specifically forbidden the states. “enter into any agreement or compact” would not seem to preclude agreements or compacts which are optional or from which a signatory state can voluntarily withdraw – those are conditions of the compact, not the institution of an compact.
@Felinious Wench: Hi neighbor! North side here…
The law is apparently a mess, which means it’s ripe for conservative misfeasance:
Indiana’s Latino population is growing steadily, and the rural areas are aging. It will never be a blue state, but it could be purple if a few things change: 1) lengthen the voting hours, and 2) make it easier to vote absentee. Indiana’s polls are open from 6 am to 6 pm, closing earlier than most other states. The requirements for absentee ballots are pretty stringent.
Great plan in Texas unless the Republicans pull a Virginia and change the way the electoral college is tabulated so that Repubs get the majority of votes.
@Origuy: So that ain’t changing any time soon with their new fundie gov taking over.
Yeah, from the GOP perspective it is just too good to be true. Who cares if you permanently PO a portion of the electorate, if you can have a short-term gain? I was thinking about that last evening and remembered that had once been done. Anyone ever heard of the “County Unit System”? Gray v. Sanders was the basis of “one man, one vote”. Another president, no matter the party, will have a hard time doing anything without a popular majority. It would probably force a revisiting of the Electoral College, or a standard apportioning of delegates. If the GOP think they can fight demographic trends with deceit and fraud, they will be out of office.
@Forum Transmitted Disease: You think Georgia can become blue? Really?
@patroclus: if you haven’t seen the use of that same song in 9 1/2 Weeks, and you’re a straight man, you have not lived a full life.
@FlipYrWhig: I see Kim’s mom in Wallgreens now and then. Does that count?
@Raven: I can think of many other words I’d sooner see completing a statement beginning “I see Kim Basinger’s …” But it ain’t bad.
Flip Texas and have the state AG serve GWB with war crimes warrants.
Hey, a guy can dream…
That’s assuming that other big states don’t flip red, which could happen by the time Texas turned blue. Still, a very worthwhile effort.
[In Indiana] “The requirements for absentee ballots are pretty stringent. ”
Um, you say you’ll be out of town is stringent?
Early voting is also a big option.
Daniels and the republican state senate & house haven’t ruined everything … yet.
We can hope. This is basically how bad people stayed in power from the nineteenth century until well into the twentieth, in the glory days of the machine – electoral fraud and vote suppression.
(Actually, I think many of the problems we have to this day stem from the fact that our electoral system was shaped by that era, in which these crimes were features, not bugs, for those in power).
Texas is the kill shot. Take it, and you end the Republican Party. As such, it makes all the sense in the world to build every Democratic infrastructure there you can. Because it’s doable.
We should start a “Liberals move to Texas” movement to try and claim the state, and freak out the wingers.
pseudonymous in nc
nthing “give a shit about state legislative elections.” The people in the state house may be numpties, but they’re numpties with power. ALEC worked this out a long time ago.
It’s more than that. They won’t remain low-level organizers in Texas. The people who take that job will be young and willing to do grunt work for shit money. But they don’t stay in those positions. They move up and they fan out. The woman who ran Sherrod Brown’s campaign started in Iowa as a caucus organizer, then went to Kirsten Gillibrand’s campaign, then ran Sherrods. One of our OH OFA regional people started in Nevada, then went to Indiana, and ended up on a Presidential campaign.
It’ll be a great training ground, and if they have any success there, in Texas, they can probably do anything. This stuff ripples :)
Ballot initiative with 10s of millions in ads. Just like Prop 8.
But the exhaust port is only two meters wide!
Not gonna happen. Advertising can only buy you so much, as the Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina campaigns proved. The ads for Prop 8 were able to work because there wasn’t much pushback and because marriage equality never had really strong majority support to start with. An initiative to mess with our electoral votes would get strong advertising opposition, and that opposition would be effective because the Democratic voters would correctly see it as an attempt to water down their votes and they’re a big enough majority to kill the thing.
“That’s assuming that other big states don’t flip red, which could happen by the time Texas turned blue.”
Not really. Old, white folks are dying off.
@ericblair: Pshaw! I used to bulls eye womp rats from my T16 back home, they’re not much bigger than 2 meters.
I used to bullseye womp rats in my T-16 back home, they’re not much bigger than two meters.
@Roger Moore: That’s what I said! Also too: I was going to Toshi Station to pick up some power convertors!
You can waste time
on Balloon-Juicewith your friends when your chores are done.
@PeakVT: But you have to spell the state “Tejas.”
I don’t think the chance is anywhere near 50/50. But I could see it being close. I could see the Right appealing to people’s sense of fairness:
scott (the other one)
You’re right–but that sets up an easy (even for Dems) response every single time: “If the GOP really believed that, they’d be pushing for it in Texas and Georgia too. They’re not, because they know it’s not about fairness–it’s about gaming the system and throwing out hundreds of years of American tradition.” You could get that down to one pithy sentence and every Dem in the country could say it a dozen times a day and that’d do the trick.
@redshirt: .Yes and for certain , nothing will change as long as the dems continue to ignore organizing on the state level and do nothing to gain control of state governments.
Change is always possible if enough people get serious and work at it. It won’t happen overnight but it can happen.
I live in SC, growing up there in the 40’s and 50’s, the thought of anyone running for a state or local office as a republican was unheard of. The thought of SC going for a republican candidate for president was ridiculed. Well, look at us now, it is almost reversed. Why did it happen? Of course the civil rights movement had and the passage of civil rights laws, but if republicans had not started organizing and offering candidates for office they certainly would not have been elected until the gradually gained control of the state government. That is how it is done and if Dems had listened to Howard Dean and the 50 states plan, instead of sitting on their asses and complaining that it was too much to do and whine and bellyache about the upstart who expected them to do what the were selected to do, the Democrats wouldn’t find themselves in the fight they are now currently in.
@scott (the other one):
I hope so, but sometimes Dems can be so passive. And you can bet the Right won’t be.
Romney won 57/41 in Texas.
It won’t be competitive forever (politically speaking).
Obama barely won Harris county (49/49), lost Ft Worth, and barely won San Antonio (51-47).
Obama didn’t dominate the cities here, save Austin. As for the rural areas, forget about it.
Harris county (Houston) was a tossup, San Antonio was 53/47 Obama. He lost Ft. Worth.
Not even close to the numbers you need to compete.
Texas suburbs are also far more conservative than a place like Philly or Long Island. Rural areas are largely flat out scary.
And yes, I live here.
Well, I think they’d be crazy not to make that the first assault. If they’re serious about this, they’ll be at the gates then, pitchforks to the ready.
Grumpy Code Monkey
This is the problem. Part of it is because Democrats have been frozen out of statewide offices since W was Governor, so we don’t have any Democrats with statewide name recognition. John Sharp was the last one (Comptroller under Richards).
Part of it is that most Texans are deeply religious and socially conservative. I’m fourth-generation Texan, I’ve lived here all but two years of my life, so trust me on this. I’ve reconnected with most of my high school class on Facebook, and as an atheist Democrat I’m definitely an outlier. Every other post is a quote about God or Obama’s evil agenda to enslave us all in a Socialist hellhole. And these are all middle-class kids from the suburbs of Northeast San Antonio, not farm kids from the blackland prairie.
I’m glad the effort is being made, but it’s going to be a long, uphill slog with lots of setbacks. You’re not going to flip the Lege before 2020 (and the Lege is what matters, not the Governor’s Mansion), and not without a large contingent of Boll Weevils and Blue Dogs.
What kills me is that Rick Perry – Rick Fucking Perry – is going down in history as the longest-serving Texas governor. That’s just…sad.
@Cassidy: …it’s the only way to be sure.