No one suggested that 2014 would be the year that the party roared back to life. No one argued that the Democrats would put the Republicans in a tough spot come Election Day. But did anyone think that Davis, after all the national exposure and all the money that flowed into her coffers, would be throttled so badly by Republican Greg Abbott in her race to become governor? In the end, she lost by more percentage points than Tony Sanchez did in 2002.
I’ll admit that I didn’t pay much (i.e., any) attention to David Alameel’s campaign for the United States Senate this year.
Wendy Davis. Battleground Texas. “The emerging Hispanic majority.” Texas Democrats had a lot of reasons to think this might be the election cycle when their fortunes turned. But barring some sort of November miracle (or, depending on your point of view, calamity), Texas will remain in Republican hands come 2015.
Reporters and Republicans made much of Wendy Davis’s relatively poor showing on election night. Overall turnout in the Democratic primary was lower than in 2010, the last time there was a gubernatorial election in Texas. And roughly 20% of Texans who did vote in the Democratic gubernatorial primary voted for the little-known candidate Ray Madrigal.
Texas Democrats have, as we all know, been flailing over the past few decades. They are the minority party in both houses of the Lege and haven’t won a statewide race since 1994. Underdogs, we might call them. And even if they’ve been showing signs of life over the past few months, many observers remain unimpressed: if Democrats don’t start announcing campaigns for the 2014 elections, they won’t even win the Participation Award.
The fact that Hillary Clinton isn’t officially running for president in 2016 has done little to curb speculation about what will happen if she does. Democrats are excited about the prospect in part because some very early polling suggests that she would do pretty well—that she might, in fact, have a chance at winning the big red state of Texas.
Elections committee chair Todd Smith has researched the history of Voter I.D. legislation in Texas. He shared his findings with me. In 1997, Elections chair Debra Danburg, a Democrat, brought HB 330 to the floor. The bill amended the Election Code to require an election judge to ask for a photo I.D. in the event that a voter did not have a voter registration card and his name did not appear on the voter rolls.
POLITICS ISN’T ABOUT LEFT VERSUS RIGHT. It’s about top versus bottom.”
“Sure, Wall Street’s whizzing. It’s whizzing on you and me.”
“NAFTA, do we hafta?”
“Saddam Hussein: Is he insane or just jerking our chain?”
AT LEAST DAN MORALES knew that the mere proclamation he was going to have a press conference was not likely to stop the world in its tracks. The night before and all that morning, some supporters, as well as the attorney general himself, were busy calling around to say that at the press conference Morales would announce the startling news that he would not run for reelection. The calls worked well enough.
SPRING IS LITMUS-TEST time in Texas politics. Many voters in the March 12 primaries will be activists whose chief loyalty is to a faction rather than to a party, so the winners of those races will likely be candidates who can pass ideological muster. Here are some of the crucial contests that will decide who has clout in ’96—and who doesn’t.