New information on Battleground Texas from the American Prospect
- Why Democrats should be extremely cautious:
Republicans have continued to gain congressional and legislative seats over the past decade, even as Texas’s Latino population has swelled....Bird and Brown cite Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada as models for turning out Latinos. But none of those states has more than 516,000 Latino citizens total—which is fewer than the number of Latino citizens in Houston’s Harris County alone.
- Then, we get into nuts and bolts:
The initial focus will be to create a massive network of Democratic organizers and volunteers across the state....A full-scale plan for “getting that started” won’t be rolled out until this summer. But Jeremy Bird offers a few more details. In the next couple of election cycles, Battleground Texas will target “battleground zones”—races that organizers believe could either be winnable or could help Democrats build infrastructure by training new candidates and registering voters. A battleground zone could be a city council race with a promising young Latino candidate in Waco or a state House race in a heavily minority district in Houston. The idea is to seize every viable opportunity to build new Democratic networks around the state, creating new voters along the way.
- Recent examples of when this sort of thing has worked(*):
(Author's Note: We were lived in Travis County during the 2010 election and it was not clean.)The leaders of Battleground Texas say there’s reason for optimism—partly because there is some recent history of grassroots politics working in Texas. During the 2010 midterm elections, Austin Democratic Party Chair Andy Brown selected 21 largely black and Latino precincts where turnout had traditionally been low and pledged to run the type of hardcore turnout campaigns usually reserved for the wealthier, whiter parts of town. With a paid field staff organizing volunteers, the Travis County Democrats knocked on every registered voter’s door in those precincts two or three times and called each one at least twice. The effort paid off: Although 2010 was the worst year in history for Texas Democrats, 18 percent more ballots were cast in Travis County and the number of straight-ticket Democratic voters went up 54 percent. “There was nothing fancy about it,” Brown says. “It was a really well-run field program.”
A similar strategy has also worked wonders in Dallas. In 2006, Democrats in Texas’s oldest Republican stronghold bucked convention by spending as much on phone-banking and door-to-door campaigning as on media ads and mailers. The results were stunning: Democrats swept all 47 local offices, including 40 judgeships that had previously belonged to Republicans.
- The Bottom Line for both parties:
The whole article is worth a read, but it doesn't change anything. Conservatives across the state of Texas need to build up from the local level. And we've already had some successes.If Democrats can galvanize Houston’s nonvoters, they
will[Author's Note: could] be well on their way to turning Texas blue. But all those years of ignoring minorities will make it a formidable task.
Update (6/11/2013): Agendawise calls this a bluff.