Well, as the GOP spins their wins stating that all of this was a vote against Obama and Democratic policies, I’m not willing to go that far; in fact, I’m not even that willing to “blame it on the wave.” A look at initial turnout numbers will show you where the votes were.
Suburban– HD-126: 44.5%, HD-127: 48%, HD-129: 48%, HD-130: 49%
Inner-Belt– HD-137: 31%, HD-139: 34%, HD-140: 25%, HD-143: 26%, HD-145: 29%
Democratic voters did not come out. Why? And has anyone bothered to ask them? Is it the economy? Is it Obama? Is it just plain indifference? Is it a lack of defense from Republican attacks toward Latinos?
Here are some of my reactions to different aspects of last night.
HISD-8: Congrats to my friend Juliet Kathy Stipeche on making the run-off. The most alarming result of this race was the 39% undervote. Even more alarming is the fact that, although 37% of voters in District 8 turned out yesterday, the percentages are likely to drop big time for the run-off. At least now the choice becomes simpler: A leader who will work with all stakeholders to achieve results, or someone who will only answer to those who want to corporatize our public school system.
The Texas House: Some good Democratic leaders got the boot last night, especially in South Texas. And with a huge majority, a vastly Republican Texas House is now responsible for figuring out the $20 Billion shortfall, for figuring out public education funding, and all the other challenges that they have driven us into. Instead, though, I am sure they will waste no time in filing racist legislation, such as Voter ID, getting rid of the Texas DREAM Act, and let’s not forget Debbie Riddle’s racist Arizona-type law. The only thing that may be able to stop them are 12 Democratic votes in the Texas Senate. We’ve got some defense work ahead, folks.
Latinos Are Wild About Harry: Perhaps Harry Reid should change his name to Harry Ruiz, since Latinos in Nevada are a big reason he will continue as the Senate’s leader. Of course, Crazy Sharron did her part by hating on Latinos as much as she did and Latinos responded. As I keep mentioning, when attacked, one defends. And it really helps when a candidate defends, too, instead of taking the “conservative” line and losing (cough! Chet! cough!). Democrats can learn something from the Harry Ruiz Formula.
Texas Statewides: I don’t think I’ve seen such an impressive Democratic statewide slate as the one we offered. Obviously, Democratic energy was just not happening, and while Bill White was traversing quite white East and West Texas small towns for a few votes, counties in South Texas were not given that same amount of energy. Obviously, Texas is a lot of ground to cover, but we had numbers to make up on the Democratic side. When I see counties like Zavala, Dimmit, and Maverick hover between 25 and 30 percent turnout, it’s easy to tell. Then you see other counties like Zapata, Starr, Frio, and La Salle going at between 16 to 21%, then you just get mad.
Word of advice for anyone thinking about doing a 2012 run: Start traveling some of these counties in 2011–they’ve got some great festivals at which to shake babies and kiss hands. But before you do…get a message that resonates. Something tells me the 2011 Legislative Session will provide plenty of opportunities to form that message.
Countywides – Yes, I’m heartbroken, and yes, I’m not a happy camper that Democrats lost every single race. I’m particularly heartbroken that good Democrats with incumbent records lost–my good friend Loren Jackson being one of them, another good friend, Judge Dion Ramos, being another. The good thing is that they remain a part of our talent base. As I told someone last night, this is but a sink-hole from which we must climb out, and we will.
A Summing Up – Last night within the numerous e-mail conversations I was having with Dem operatives, one said that “we must re-build the party.” I didn’t respond there, choosing to respond here. Before you rebuild, you must find the flaws (the bad ideas, the bad messaging, and the bad consultants) and the purge them.
That’s about all I have for now. As I look into the impact Latinos made in other states, we can find more food for thought, perhaps even tools and spare parts for the “re-building.”
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