Has the Beast Been Unleashed?

June 30, 2013

 

Steve by Luch 2 72HOUSTON – The British newspaper, The Guardian, captured my attention this morning with the headline, “Wendy Davis channels anger of millions as new Texas makes itself heard.”

Indeed.

I suspect a sleeping giant has awakened and this Pandora’s Box of trouble for the Texas GOP is going to be difficult to contain. In last Tuesday’s debacle over abortion, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst looked befuddled, to be kind. His male colleagues looked even worse as women in the state senate skillfully brought howls of derision down upon their male counterparts from the galleries. For a generation now we have seen white male dominance of politics in the Lone Star State as the former republic turned from a once solid blue to blazing crimson. But the numbers are against the “good ole’ boys” who have stomped on all in their path with the subtlety of Rush Limbaugh’s theme music.

I think it is all about to change, and Democrats have been energized.

It’s a matter of demographics. Whites comprise a little more than 11.3 million of us, while Hispanics make up 9.4 million. Blacks comprise 2.8 million while the rest of the hodpodge of races round out the population. Do the math.

·  The Texas White population is 11,397,345 persons or 45.3%.

·  The Texas Hispanic population is 9,460,921 persons or 37.6%.

·  The Texas Black population is 2,886,825 persons or 11.5%.

Democratic voting Blacks and Hispanic populations outnumber whites by more than three percentage points. Texas women of voting age in the 2000 election accounted for 55.1 percent, while males came in at 53.1 percent. Women have been leaning Democratic in recent years.

Potential Democratic voting strength in the recent past has been diminished, we suspect, by the undeniable fact that Hispanic turnout and registration has been a big disappointment to party leadership. Barak Obama at the top of the Democratic ticket has brought out black Democratic votes of nearly 100 percent in the last two presidential years. While we can expect substantial majorities of blacks to vote Democratic, such huge margins can’t be counted on forever. Still, the vote can be expected to be substantial in the foreseeable future.

The GOP has done everything in its power to anger minority voters by using Mickey Mouse voter suppression and outright cheating to keep folks from the polls. Now, with the Supreme’s move to strike down the part of the Voting Rights Act, and the certainty that the GOP will sabotage a fix in Congress, a backlash is possible if not likely.

Combine that with male fumbling and the emergence of savvy leaders like Fort Worth’s Sen. Wendy Davis, it doesn’t take a seer to surmise that Texas could turn blue as early as 2014, if Democrats use the voter registration and get out the vote techniques that brought Barack Obama to the White House.

Even more importantly, we see a Republican Party fumbling the ball at every hike. Instead of denouncing the bullies that purport to speak for the party on radio and television, they cower in fear of them and remain captured by an aging demographic that simply can’t win elections.

You see, it’s not that the Texas Republican Party has been so good with a clumsy Rick Perry at its head, it’s that the Texas Democratic Party has been so bad. Last Tuesday night in the Texas Senate, all that changed.

Texas is changing. Houston has an openly gay woman as its mayor – and she’s wildly popular. Democrats have been taking over courthouses again in most of the state’s large cities.

Wendy Davis has emerged as a potent national figure on the political stage literally overnight. On the right we see the potentially exciting triumvirate of Cruz, Paul, and Rubio continuing to embrace the tired old stereotype of political doom, despite two of them owning Latin names. Only Chris Christi seems hip enough to take on a new Democrat, and he is anathema to the right because he cooperated with the president.

So yes, The Guardian was right. A spark has ignited Texas Democrats and it could turn into a raging brushfire burning from Beaumont to El Paso, from Plainview to Brownsville, and from Texarkana to Galveston, amd finally burning itself out in rebirth at the northern end of Congress Ave. in Austin. The likes of this have not been seen since Ann Richards turned the state upside down..

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