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I have long been a skeptic about the prospects for revitalization of the state Democratic party, but recent developments call for re-evaluation. For one thing, the new finance chair of the Democratic National Committee is Henry Munoz III, of San Antonio. Some of his fundraising is likely to benefit the state party as well. For another, Politico is reporting that national Democratic groups have launched an initiative called “Battleground Texas” designed to re-invigorate the hapless state party. From POLITICO:
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.
“Tens of millions of dollars”? Well, I’ll believe it when I see it. That is serious money—enough to attract consultants, campaign operatives, and other talented folks who know the business of politics. Munoz’s presence should assure that the Castros and other Democratic candidates will be well funded when the time comes for them to run for high office.
I would offer the Democrats one piece of advice: the wisdom of Karl Rove. When the Republicans were trying to turn Texas red in the eighties, and they lost races here and there, Rove would say, “It’s not an event, it’s a process.” What today’s Democrats have that Republicans didn’t have in the eighties and nineties is the advantage of demographics. The stakes are high, because if “Battleground Texas” is successful, and Democrats can contest Texas, the Republican party could lose its biggest block of electoral votes.