Category Archives: Elections

Abbott’s Intentional Failures

Greg Abbott was not put on this earth to serve the vast majority of Texans and his State of the Failed State speech was just another example of his black heartedness and disdain for those most in need.

As the Texas Lege tries to get back to work amid COVID-19, missing from Abbott’s priorities are efforts to fight COVID-19. It’s not surprising, actually. Abbott has been missing in action in that regard, and President Biden is finding out that Trump and his ilk were MIA, too.

Abbott’s time-wasting moves have been to protect businesses who continually push to violate COVID-19 protocols. His only intention has been to flout CDC guidelines and suggestions by keeping Texas businesses, churches, and schools open in the midst of a pandemic that caused more and more death and illness. By adding that folks aren’t required to get vaccinated in all of his statements on vaccine rollout, he’s pretty much in line with all the yahoos whose behavior has put Texans in peril. Kuff has more on this particular issue.

Abbott completely ignores the need for reform of law enforcement, which would include prioritizing funding toward programs that take on the root causes of crime–homelessness, poverty, mental illness. Instead, he promotes his own version of Trumpism in a vow to overthrow local control of local law enforcement. He commits to ending the actual bail reform that is finally coming to light, while supporting punishment before trial for those who cannot afford to bond out. He is not interested in meeting the demands of the people who continually go abused by a bigoted law enforcement system.

At a time when people are most in need of preventive health care, Abbott cares not about the health of Texans by not supporting an expansion of Medicaid. 2 million Texans could benefit from this expansion at little cost to the state. Instead, Abbott simply does not care. He never has. And sick people be damned.

Finally, Abbott is content with restrictive voting laws that keep Black and Brown people home on election day. He keeps talking about “trust” in elections when his own Donald Trump, et. al. continues a crusade against a legitimate election. Abbott makes up accusations of voter fraud with no evidence, while supporting efforts to stop people from voting. It’s a great deception to rile up bigoted supporters. In fact, while people seem to want to save the republican party, they seem to forget that even “moderate” republicans have found the crazies in the party useful to win elections. They’re just finding out the hard way that these idiots also want to be their elected leaders (look up Greene and Boebert).

Why people have trusted Abbott and republicans to run this state is beyond me. Why people think he would do anything other than serve the masters that keep him and his buddies well-funded also keeps me dumbfounded. Bottom line: Abbott does all of this with a purpose in mind–Keep the rich happy and kick everyone else in the teeth, even the people he continues to fool. It has been the republican way for decades, but Trump allowed the already hateful behavior to show its teeth with amped up racism, lies and deception. And Abbott seems to be OK with that behavior in the role of a Trump lapdog, as long as he gets to lead them.

Democrats need to fight and with fighting words; and with none of the usual rhetorical crap that is never believable, like moving to the right on something, or attempting to fight like gentleman (and gentlewomen) with sugarcoated bullshit, when all republicans do is bludgeon those they hate–verbally and through racist policies.

Texas will not change until the people recognize who is actually on their side when it comes to economic opportunity, health care, education, and the issues that actually matter. But we’ve been saying this for…ever, and no one seems to get it. And the republicans gain ground because they are so good at finding those weaknesses in people that allow them to blame “the other” for every problem.

Anyway, just wanted to put something down on virtual paper which states the obvious: Greg Abbott is failing Texans quite intentionally and he’s been allowed to do it since his beginnings . If we’re going to fight him, well, fight him. But let’s not be squeamish.

And A NYC Latina Shall Piss Them Off…Again!

Well, you have to hand it to the Democratic Party. They’ll hand-pick their candidates, helicopter in operatives who have no understanding of the areas in which they campaign, spend millions of dollars on a mediocre message and advertising (and media consultants), lose, and then blame Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez for losing.

The insult-fest I’ve seen on social media from people who think of themselves as “progressive” toward AOC is no different than the original one from 2018 when she first won and gained more media attention because of her positions than the same old boring Dems to which we’ve grown accustomed to losing. It’s pretty annoying, actually.

If the Party’s fave hand-picked Democrats went down in flames, the Party needs to look inward to find blame and not toward representatives who have shot some energy into the Party nationally. Senator Bernie Sanders reminded us of some progressive efforts that were quite victorious across the country.

Does all of this progressivism count as a national wave? Of course not. But AOC or Bernie do not deserve the blame for those who lost if progressive change is coming to other parts of the country. These individual issues, though, had support–even bipartisan support. Ultimately, if candidates lost, it was probably their individual messaging and weak positions that didn’t catch on. Or, maybe it was that some of these districts liked a balance between sanity and insanity and they split their votes.

Kuff pointed out how Joe Biden carried districts in Harris County that Democratic candidates lost. No doubt, this will be something that will be studied–especially as redistricting happens during 2021 for the 2022 election. But seeking the easiest target for blame gets us nowhere as a Party.

For now, keep celebrating that a flailing coalition that was kept together with scotch tape still got a win. Commit to pushing for progressive change in the first 100 days of the Biden Administration. And stop trying to save the Republican Party by trying to become Republican Lite, again.

In other words, keep building and buy stickier tape for the coalition.

Dems and TX Latinos in 2020

Here are my thoughts, mostly based on general chisme gathered from actually speaking to South Texans the last few days. I say it this way because too many experts are either freaking out or pushing things aside. But it’s a conversation that must be had, and not 8 days before the next election.

I was hoping Kuff would have some numbers on what occurred in Latino counties in Texas and Harris County, and he came through. Much like many folks looking at numbers, Kuff doesn’t know what happened with this contraction of Latino Democratic support. Or, in other words, why so many South Texas Mexicans went for El Cheeto.

Like I said, I have no solutions to offer. Plenty of smart people have plenty of ideas, and quite a few of them were raising issues before the election. Might be a good idea to listen to them. All I’m saying is that whatever happened here, it wasn’t what we wanted. If we want to avoid a repeat, we better get to work.

Off The Kuff

Elsewhere, the Dem experts will now say that, given Miami-Dade County’s result, “Latinos are not a monolith.” Well, duh!

All one has to look at are socioeconomic numbers by individual groups, geography, among other demographics to know that there can’t be one message for Latinos, but it must be one that is as coherent as possible. Every Latino group has its own set of issues, no different than suburban and rural whites. The problem is that consultants will hone in on one particular group in their quest to win a state (Florida) with a message that isn’t believable for whatever reason, while ignoring the other groups in other parts of the country who then become an easy target for disinformation.

In my opinion, Democrats wasted a lot of resources on Florida’s non-Mexican Latinos, trying to convince them that Democrats are not socialist supporters of long-dead Latin American presidents. (The DNC ran radio ads saying as much in 2016, too, and I predicted this would occur again with a Biden candidacy supported by neoliberals and war-mongering republicans.) It wasn’t effective in 2016, either.

Meanwhile, other Latino areas of the country were simply taken for granted, particularly those voters who don’t often vote and may have formed opinions based on disinformation because they haven’t been engaged effectively by Democrats. Latino outreach by community groups may be the difference in Arizona and Georgia and could serve as an example of a possible solution. The work that JOLT and TOP did in Texas made a difference, but it is work that needs more investment to reach more people in Texas.

As JOLT’s Antonio Arellano mentions in the Tweets mentioned by Kuff, 500,000 more Latinos in Texas voted for the first time. Perhaps a good survey of these folks would give us some much needed information for the future.

Taking a look at South Texas Mexicans, we saw a move toward Trump and republicans that many did not expect. The Republican “fracking” attack against Biden (along with the usual republican culture war) worked and it cost Dems an opportunity to win back Congressional District 23 and almost lost State Senate District 19. Campos agrees. Another case of Trump disinformation finding an audience. The argument that Trump was a disaster on COVID-19 was not going to be enough.

Fracking companies (and the local businesses that benefit from fracking) are a big employer (and sponsor of cultural events) in South and West Texas. These workers didn’t care about the effects of fracking on the environment or any coming of green jobs in the future. They cared about their jobs now and were duped into believing that Biden would be the cause of their financial demise.

Fracking and oil and gas drilling has been suffering for a while in South Texas, and local businesses have been hit already with the original contraction, and that had more to do with market conditions than anything else. But for money-grubbing drilling companies, it’s easier to blame the Dems than go into a discussion of their own bad business practices or of how the market works.

On top of this, Trump offered the bigots amongst us the freedom to blame and show their hate toward immigrants, Black Lives Matter, the poor, gays, women, etc. In other words, the freedom to use their screwed up versions of Christianity and their weird fantasy of rugged individualism as a weapon toward others. Trump is no different than the asshole bullies some of us had to deal with growing up. Perhaps this was the “sleeping giant:” Bullies who finally had their say in a world that was too kind to those they have bullied. Just a thought. The culture wars are alive and well in all demographics–just look at the 55% of white people who voted for Trump.

Something to point out is that these South Texas Mexican Trump supporters aren’t as wealthy or even as middle class as the middle to upper-class Latin Americans (Cuban, Venezuelan) in Miami-Dade who continually build wealth and political power and spread it among their own. I grew up with some of these South Texas types and their parents were migrant farm workers and worked at the local cannery, just like mine. Since it was seasonal work, their parents were at the food stamp and government cheese line, just like mine. Some just want to forget from where they came.

Many in this younger generation took jobs in the oil field and in all the businesses that benefit from it. With the oil business doing its own contraction even with Republicans in power, the benefits of NAFTA no longer helping businesses thrive, and even agri-jobs going by the wayside because of cheaper migrant labor, there is a big swath of people whose livelihoods are often threatened and always searching for someone to blame. COVID-19 didn’t help. But, no one is bothering to talk to them or promising something better. You get a loud-mouth playing the blame-game on TV, it’s obvious that people respond to it all over the country. “Divide and Conquer” is still an effective republican messaging tool.

Anecdotally, a South Texas friend mentioned that some of these drilling-related businesses were helping Trump along by threatening jobs if they didn’t show support for Trump. It wouldn’t surprise me, if true. Farmers and the businesses that benefited from them would force Mexican American employees to vote their way in the days before the Chicano civil rights movement. This crap still happens and it is a lot easier in South Texas.

Another anecdote: A friend sent me a pic of a family I know with a Trump flag waving from their trailer house porch (like the one in the meme) and I remember them being poorer than dirt, on the free lunch program at school when we were younger, but now, they’re republicans. And, then, I remember the days before, during, and after the civil rights movement also had their own rendition of sell-outs and wannabes who didn’t care for anyone but themselves. It happens in all demographics.

Still, Biden was winning many South Texas counties, as Kuff’s data shows, but not at the usually strong rate to which Dems are accustomed and rely on without much effort. In my own area of birth, Biden was averaging in the 60s. Down toward the Rio Grande Valley, it was in the 50s. Zapata County, on the border where some fight Trump’s border wall and the median income is $26K, went 53% for Trump. Some say it was a blip and it won’t happen again, but, I’m not so sure.

Kuff mentioned how base Democratic districts didn’t turnout as well as suburban districts in Harris County. No doubt, work and money has been poured into those formerly bright red districts that went ignored when I first arrived to Houston 20 years ago. Perhaps that’s a solution for the base Dem districts and South Texas?

Still, in places like Harris County, local election numbers guy Hector de Leon reminds us that 66% of Latino voters in Harris County do not reside in traditionally Latino areas. So, the work of effectively targeting Latinos needs to happen everywhere. But the messaging needs to match the needs of specific areas. Too much work? Too expensive? I’ll remember that next time Democrats fund ineffective non-Latino candidates in 60-40 GOP districts.

Anyway, we are still waiting for Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and North Carolina–states with their own Latino organizing efforts who are definitely a part of the final outcome.

Countywide Dems Sweep Harris County and Other Big Wins

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Obviously, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania early/mail votes still need to be counted in the Presidential race, so, we should get news about that soon enough. But Harris County Democrats had some big wins last night.

  • Ann Johnson defeated incumbent Sarah Davis to become the next State Representative, District 134. I took issue with Planned Parenthood’s support of Davis, who supported Republican anti-immigrant policies. I’m pretty sure Ann Johnson will represent on all issues. Hopefully, so will Planned Parenthood in the future.
  • Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher is re-elected! I’m glad my sis in Cypress has good and responsive representation for another couple of years. No doubt, Fletcher needed to overcome a lot of attacks from a mediocre, yet well-funded, candidate.
  • Israel Garcia declared victory over the incumbent Justice of the Peace, Pct 5-1 and the numbers show he was headed toward victory. Congrats to Israel. He ran an impressive primary campaign and worked to win this race. He will serve us well.
  • A Democratic Court. Democrats swept all countywide judicial seats with anywhere from 52 to 55% of the vote. Among my fave winners were Judges Julia Maldonado and Michael Gomez, along with new Judge-elect Natalia Cornelio who posted among the stronger numbers.
  • Sheriff Ed Gonzalez will return for another term after earning around 57% of the vote. In other words, Harris County really likes him as he was the top vote-getter at last look.
  • Ann Harris Bennett returns for another term as Tax Assessor-Collector. She’s done a great job in the post and customer service at TA-C locations has greatly improved. I wasn’t happy about voter registration duties being taken away from her office as her commitment was quite obvious, but I know she’ll still serve Harris County well.

There were other victories among the Dems. including Teneshia Hudspeth for County Clerk and Christian Menefee for County Attorney. They will serve us well. Check out the scores.

There were also some heartbreaking losses, including incumbent State Rep. Gina Callani in HD132, as well as Akilah Bacy in HD138 and Natali Hurtado in HD126. All ran great campaigns with great ads, but Republicans were able to use scare tactics and bigoted ads to keep those seats red.

That’s all I have for now. There is much to talk about regarding Texas, especially the ground that Dems lost in South Texas. As I posted on FB last night, if one wants to run statewide, they better start helping rebuild the Dem base in South Texas starting today. But that’s for the next blog post.

Today is Election Day – Nov 3, 2020

  • IN HARRIS COUNTY, TX
  • Get your sample ballot. (click link)
  • Find your polling location. (click link)
    • County Clerk Chris Hollins announced late last night that only one drive-thru location would be open. Even so, I’d suggest walking in to one of the other 800+ locations unless you have a disability or illness. In case of illness/disability, you can request curbside voting.
    • Anywhere else in America, find it here: https://www.vote.org/polling-place-locator/
  • Take your mask and your photo ID.
  • VOTE FOR EVERY DEMOCRAT FROM TOP to BOTTOM OF THE BALLOT!
  • If you feel your vote needs protection from suppression or other suppressive Republican or polling location behavior, get in contact with the Texas Voter Protection hotline here.
  • Watch the results from the comfort of your own home. Have a few drinks, make some queso, get some chips, and relax. Results will be coming slow, for sure, but that just means more chips and queso.
  • Keep an eye out for election night speeches at the Dem Party Facebook HQ and all throughout social media.

It will be a busy day and evening; however, you can vote at any of the polling locations, and the map on the link will advise you which locations are busy and which are not.

Stay connected and stay vigilant for any crazy Republican happenings out there.

Early Vote Day 1 Was Great!

Over 128,000 Harris Countians showed up and voted on the first day of Early Voting. Add the mail-in ballots and that number is 169,000+. Overall, it was a good voting day.

I showed up at the HCC-Alief campus on Westheimer yesterday morning and spent less than an hour in line with my neighbors. Visual estimates probably had 50 head of me with more folks showing up behind me. By the time I left, the line had gotten longer. Unlike my COVID Primary voting experience, the ID scanner actually worked on my ID and I didn’t have to spend a few minutes being questioned. The folks working the polls were friendly and efficient. Perhaps they needed more machines, but with 122 locations countywide, one could find faster locations checking wait times on the Harris County clerk’s website.

Obviously, it’s not over as Early Voting ends on October 30. And the Republicans are still trying to stop you from voting by filing a frivolous lawsuit to end the convenient drive-thru locations that are being offered by Harris County. All I heard were good things about this innovative way of voting, yet, Republicans want to make voting harder.

During these pandemic days, convenience is preferable to all–no matter theit political affiliation. Republicans, though, cannot stop their love of voter suppression. Whether it is Greg Abbott stopping multiple drop-off locations for mail ballots, or whiny lawsuits to annoy voters, the Republicans do not want you to vote.

Well, yesterday showed that people will show up in spite of Republican voter suppression tactics. And this must continue. In Harris County find your early voting location here, print out a sample ballot here, and spread the word to your friends and family! And don’t forget to thank the hard-working folks at your voting location.

And, vote for the Democrats!

2020 Early Voting Is Oct 13 thru Oct 30!

Hey, y’all! Miss me? It’s been a while.

Early voting begins today, October 13, 2020! Here in Harris County, you can print a sample ballot for the races on your ballot here, and you can find an early voting location here. Harris County is offering more locations, as well as convenient drive-thru-voting locations around the county. Along with ballot by mail and the ballot by mail drop-off at NRG Stadium, as well as a 24-hour locations which will open on October 29, this is the most convenient voting has ever been, thanks to the Democrats who are in office. THERE IS NO EXCUSE! VOTE!

As far as whom I suggest you vote for, I say vote for every single Democrat on the ballot. Go through every single race on the ballot and click on the person with a (D) by their name. We need change and we need better representation, and we need fair and just judges that only the Democrats will provide. Start with Biden Harris and vote all the way down to your JP or other local candidate.

Since Greg Abbott and the Texas Legislature got rid of “straight ticket” voting as a means of making voting harder, we’ll need to spend a few more minutes on our ballots, so, vote in every single race.

Early Voting continues through October 30. Again, click here for the early voting locations to find out where there are drive-thru locations, 24-hour locations, or the location closest to you. There are also many more NEW locations for your convenience. If you’re wondering about how long you need to wait in line, click here for wait times! I’ll keep you updated, too!

And, remember: TAKE YOUR PHOTO ID, PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING and WEAR YOUR MASK! And follow the directions of the good people working the polls.

Video of HPD Killing Nicolas Chavez Released

Four Houston PD cops were fired for the killing of Nicolas Chavez.

A well-prepared, yet, sickening video showing the various police bodycam vantage points of the Nicolas Chavez killing was released to the public  Thursday afternoon, with a play-by-play of the killing by the HPD Chief. The Chief and the cops union seem to have provided some points of defense for the fired cops, from a criminal case point of view.

It was not lost on me that the Chief (and therefore the City of Houston) took somewhat of a middle road in stating that at least two of the bullets shot into Chavez were “justified,” but that the final multi-cop volley of 21 shots were bothersome enough to fire the cops.

Of course, the cops union felt that all of the bullets were justified–even the last 21 shots. The Chief disagreed as the cops have been trained to use time as a means of deescalating a situation. I would think that allowing for more time in this situation would have effected a better outcome. The cops had already taken the time and used their training in attempting to do so.

I could go into what I think after watching the video, but I’ll leave that to the experts that I hope are utilized in explaining it to a grand jury. I just think that an already spent taser (left on the ground by one of the cops) that Chavez pulled toward himself using the wires that had already been shot into him would have done more damage to Chavez than to the cops based on what I’ve read about those contraptions. Therefore, 21 shots fired at will by four cops were not justified and such a violent reaction by the cops was not necessary.

The DA Kim Ogg has stated that the case will be presented to the grand jury once her people have reviewed the evidence. I hope it is presented well.

It is disappointing that it has taken over four months to get to this point. It would seem to me that the elaborate video presentation was more about defending the firing of the cops than about prosecuting a crime. The Chief has a knack for putting on a show when calling out crime and criminals to the cameras, but not in this case.

To watch the Chief’s presentation, click here.

 

 

Planned Parenthood Picks Anti-Immigrant Republican over Democrat

During these days of Trumpism (racism, hate, etc.), we need all the allies we can get. And other “progressive” groups have needed Latinos to be on their side, but apparently, they have their limits as to how much support they return.

Planned Parenthood (or their Texas PAC) has decided to endorse HD134 right-winger Sarah Davis, who was a vocal supporter of Senate Bill 4, a law which allows for racial profiling in the republican hunt for immigrants, over Democrat Ann Johnson. So, it’s obvious that PP wants a certain kind of republican ally when they say they want more republican allies.

Either that, or they’re hoping for a baby cagin’ contract from the state or feds, since it’s getting harder for them to run on their current business model because of republicans.

I was reminded of Margaret Sanger and her love of all things eugenics when she founded the organization. PP at the national level had disavowed Sanger and removed her name from the national HQ this summer because of her quest to “improve” humanity through selective breeding, as well as sterilization of groups of people to arrive at that goal.

What do you call racial profiling for the purpose of ridding undesirables from the US ? I’m pretty sure it’s the hate and racism we are all currently fighting against.

Some will argue about Planned Parenthood’s bigger purpose today:  Providing health care to those who need it, whether it be prenatal care, well-woman services, sex education, and yes, abortion. You know, the kind of stuff that we’re supposed to support. And that’s fine. But I draw the line at supporting bigots. I just thought that would be a general rule amongst progressives:  Don’t support bigots!

One would think such a group with an ugly history  they are still trying to overcome (Sanger and eugenics, in case you forgot) wouldn’t sell out entire groups of people to support their purpose, but they don’t seem to mind when it comes to Latin@s. And I’m pretty much tired of getting sold out by “progressive” groups, but told to shut up by these same people when we say “Abolish ICE” or “Defund the Police.” In other words, Planned Parenthood’s endorsement of an anti-immigrant republican is insulting to those of us who support progressive causes as part of some coalition-building effort.

Talk about selective progressivism on the part of Planned Parenthood.

Reviewing the DNCC – Day 2

Well, Day 2 was a lot more palatable.

It was good seeing Texas folks in some of the coverage, including Congresswoman Veronica Escobar of El Paso and State Rep. Victoria Neave of the Dallas area–both early Biden endorsers.

Although I wish Stacey Abrams had spoken longer, I liked Senator Chuck Schumer’s speech as it highlighted what Joe Biden is offering the people, which I think needs to be pounded into the brain of voters. Bill Clinton delivered some good lines that stabbed at the failure that is Trump. The heartstrings were pulled with Jimmy and Roselynn Carter’s speech, perhaps because of my own family memories of watching the DNCC, or the fact that they are up in years, now.

I was not too thrilled with the “empire” portion of the show. Bringing out military and intelligence folks to buttress the US’s drive for world domination, but in a kinder, gentler way, is not my thing.

Much like Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez stated in her nominating speech of Bernie Sanders, I, too, was hoping for a different kind of foreign policy in 2020 that only Senator Bernie Sanders offered. Unfortunately, Democrats have this need to prove toughness during convention time, rather than promote peace between nations that should be our allies, if the poor and indigenous were not looked down upon by US interests backed up by the US military. These policies pushed by both parties, which are anti-democratic and labor-exploitive must end, or else, the challenges of violence-based, climate-based and economic-based migration will continue.

Joe Biden will keep the US war machine well-oiled and funded when our priorities should be elsewhere during this pandemic, or else the Lincoln Project wouldn’t be so supportive. And he will likely continue US-Latin America policy that has been detrimental to the poor and indigenous of those nations, while supporting right-wing regimes who allow foreign corporations to exploit their natural resources and workers. I mean, ask anyone which Latin American countries have the most mass graves, missing and dead climate and political activists and it will be nations led by right-wing monsters supported by the US.

Thankfully, Dr. Jill Biden saved the day with her presentation. It’s obvious that she would be a first lady who would be proactive and kind, rather than dead inside. No doubt the story of Joe and Jill Biden offers some humanity, rather than the current “blooper reel.”

I think the favorite part was the roll call of states who announced their delegate totals. My favorites were North Dakota and New Mexico, which featured Natives and Chicanos. Somos Indios, cabrones!

And for those that freaked out over Sanders being nominated, that’s all part of the rules and convention process. Those of us who voted for Sanders gave him enough delegates to qualify for nomination, thus, AOC and the UAW guy were asked to give the nominating speeches. Don’t worry, I blame those at the DNC who fail to explain the process for those watching because they think you’re ordinary voters who won’t bother to watch democracy in action.

By the way, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the nominees, officially.

Anyway, let’s see what Day 3 offers.