Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Reporters seem to keep discovering that Texans really aren't that into Democrats

"When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice;
But when a wicked man rules, the people groan."
Proverbs 29:2

The Atlantic sent a reporter to cover the CD-7 race (Culberson seat) in Houston.  It's an interesting read.  The best part was what she discovered talking to actual voters:
With just more than 60 days until the midterms, she still has an uphill battle. That much was made clear on Tuesday afternoon, when I spoke to [CD-7] residents in Gulfton. Of the half-dozen folks I met who said they planned to vote in November, all Democrats, not one of them had heard of [John Culberson's opponent].

Leoneo Torres is 20 years old, Hispanic, and a registered Democrat. Born and raised in Gulfton, he now works at Galaxy Auto Insurance. The stores lining the Orchard Green strip mall are advertised almost entirely in Spanish, save for an African deli. Torres told me he’s one of the few fluent English speakers in the area.

He voted for the first time in 2016, casting his ballot at the community center nearby for Hillary Clinton and every other Democrat down the ticket. He’s active on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and said he and his friends talk often about the Cruz challenger Beto O’Rourke. Most recently, they shared with one another a video of O’Rourke skateboarding in a Whataburger parking lot. He’s excited to vote in November, he said: “This is about the next six years for our state, you know? It’s a big deal.”

So he was surprised when I mentioned [Culberson's opponent's] name. “Who did you say? Elizabeth?” he asked. He turned to his computer and began Googling. He clicked on her campaign page. “Oh, cool,” he said. “She’s a Democrat.”

“I mean, yeah, I’ll look into her, but this is the first I’ve heard of her. Kind of weird, right? I wonder if she’s planning on coming around here,” he said, and shrugged. “I guess we’ll see.”
So...none of the voters knew the name of the local Democrat congressional candidate?!? Real competent campaign she got going there!  But at least the reporter was able to find a guy who was super into Bobby Francis.

Speaking of Bobby Francis, this Texas Observer article from a week and a half ago details one of his blockwalks in Laredo:
Using Polis, the campaign’s voter database app, which provides a real-time map of low-frequency Democratic voters, Escobar goes from house to house in Laredo’s middle-class Hillside neighborhood. It takes a minute to get her bearings, briefly walking the wrong way as she tried to find a street. “This is the problem with door-knocking in a city you don’t know,” she says. Another problem: It’s hard to convince unlikely voters to vote when they don’t answer the door. For the 45 minutes I tagged along, she knocked on about a dozen doors and got answers at only one or two. She’d leave a handwritten note, hoping that might help.

Tagging along with Escobar is Sergio Mora, a former Webb County Democratic Party chair. The enthusiastic crowd at last night’s event makes him think change just might be afoot in Laredo. But is there any other evidence that voters are unusually fired up. He shrugs. “That’s the big experiment this cycle.”

One El Paso volunteer tells me that most people who answered their doors in Laredo had never heard of O’Rourke and many had no intention of voting.
Last week, we mentioned that reporters should get out into Plano, Denton and Katy before presuming to know too much about how elections in Texas work.  But, it turns out you don't even need to go that far!  It turns out you only need to go to Houston and Laredo.

Bottom Line: This shouldn't surprise anyone.

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