Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Jones edges Moore in Alabama

It was a cliffhanger.  What allowed the Democrats to hold onto some hope was the New York Times' predictive speedometer, or needle, which consistently showed Jones prevailing even as Roy Moore held a lead of 30,000+ votes and more than 5% with two-thirds of the returns in.  Usually a race is long-called by then.  But the urban areas -- or what passes for them in the Cotton State; Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery, Selma, Tuscaloosa -- were counting more slowly, and Jones was overperforming in Trump country.

Voters in Alabama’s cities and most affluent suburbs overwhelmingly rejected Moore’s candidacy, an ominous sign for Republicans on the ballot next year in upscale districts. In Jefferson County, which includes Birmingham and some of the state’s wealthiest enclaves, Jones [...] captured more than 68 percent of the vote. And in Madison County, home to Huntsville and a large NASA facility, Mr. Jones won 57 percent of the vote.

While these Alabamians, many of them women, may have been appalled by the claims of sexual misconduct against Moore, results like these were not isolated to this race. They mirrored returns in last month’s statewide and legislative races in Virginia, a state filled with well-heeled suburbanites.

These highly educated and high-income voters, while often open to supporting Republicans, are uneasy with the hard-edged politics of President Trump and part of the reason his approval ratings are so dismal. If Republican candidates facing well-off voters next year do not find a way to separate themselves from the president, they will face a punishing midterm election next year.

I reject the premise that suburban (aka white) women rescued the Democrat.


Democrats struggled for years under President Barack Obama to turn out African-American voters in off-year elections. For Jones, robust black turnout was essential to victory. He poured resources into African-American outreach and even summoned political leaders from out of state, including Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and Deval Patrick, the former Massachusetts governor, to help in the race’s final days.

Black voters turned out in force, handing Jones a decisive lead in Alabama’s cities and predominantly black rural counties. (Again in) Jefferson County, home to Birmingham and its whiter suburbs, turnout exceeded the 2014 governor’s race by about 30 percent, and Jones nearly matched Hillary Clinton’s vote total there. Other populous, heavily African-American counties, including Montgomery and Dallas County, where Selma is, also exceeded their 2014 turnout.

Following last month’s elections in Virginia and New Jersey, when African-Americans helped vault Democrats to victories, the Alabama race is another sign that the party’s most loyal voters are fired up.

Same numbers, different view.


So are there any lessons to be learned for Texas Democrats?  Oh, perhaps 'motivate the minority vote' (in our case, both blacks and Latin@s).  I would add 'stop reflexively blaming people who won't vote for Coke or Pepsi', like this moron:


Most of those write-ins helped Jones, because they were Republicans who couldn't vote for Moore, but couldn't vote for a Democrat either.  Most importantly, Democrats might heed the words of Charles Barkley from last night.

"They've taken the black vote and the poor vote for granted for a long time. It's time for Democrats to get off their asses... This is a wake up call for Democrats to do better for black people and poor white people."

Here's something Jones, and every other Democrat I can think of, can start reforming immediately. For his part, Jones is pretty good but not great on the issues (he supports fewer regulations and a tax cut for businesses, and is mostly using the non-specific verbiage I find increasingly annoying: 'living wage' and 'healthcare a human right' without further detail.  He'll also have plenty of opportunities to demonstrate the degree to which he is "willing to reach across the aisle" *retch* over the course of the next two years.

A key part of Jones’ strategy in the past few weeks is to make clear to Alabama voters that he is willing to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans, said Jones campaign chairman Giles Perkins.

"I think a lot of the voters ... are interested in a guy like Doug that's willing to reach across the aisle and work with anybody that's got good ideas, and some of these ads communicate that," Perkins said.

That Politico link reveals that in addition to his other troubles, Moore was buried under an avalanche of teevee ads by Jones; something all the establishment politicos, consultants, and their sycophants will point to as a 'key to victory', reinforcing the current corrupt model.  As for his evaluation period, Jones is serving out the remainder of AG Jeff Sessions' term, and will have to defend the seat in 2020 (scroll to the bottom of this link, while noting the peculiar law in Alabama about how write-in votes are counted a week after election day).

What's going to be the most fun is watching the establishment Republicans and the Roypublicans tear each other to pieces.  This is the fight we have all been waiting for.

Immediately after Jones’s victory, establishment-aligned Republicans in Washington were assailing Moore and Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, as having handed a Senate seat in the reddest of red states to the Democrats.

“Not only did Steve Bannon cost us a critical Senate seat in one of the most Republican states in the country, but he also dragged the president of the United States into his fiasco,” said Steven Law, who runs a super PAC controlled by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader.

But Moore’s allies placed the blame for the loss on McConnell, who withdrew his support after the allegations first emerged that Moore had pursued teenage girls sexually or romantically.

“They colluded with the Democrats to undermine a pro-Trump candidate like Judge Moore just like they are going to try to do that in 2018 to myself and other pro-Trump candidates,” said Corey Stewart, who is challenging Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia and attended Moore’s election night party. “We’re going through a civil war in the Republican Party.”

Except there's no Abe Lincoln to save the Union this time.

Moore’s loss will only exacerbate tensions between Senate leaders and the party’s grass-roots and will probably play out in a series of House and Senate primaries in 2018. And if Republicans continue to nominate candidates who are too controversial to win general elections, the party’s internal divisions may cost them control of Congress.

From the New York Times' lips to the Flying Spaghetti Monster's ears.  Keep an eye out to see how many Lone Star GOPedophiles -- like Greg Abbott, to name one -- overplay their hand reaching out to the Jade Helm/Bathroom Bill/Trump Train Caucus in Texas.  Forcing the RPT statewides to pick a side in the Trump-or-sanity sweepstakes, as a campaign tactic, will go a long way toward helping a few Texas Democrats' chances in 2018.

Monday, December 11, 2017

More Texas Democratic progressives file for 2018

A continuation of the list begun last Wednesday.  Let's take them from 'best' to 'meh' (subject to further reveal on their part).

For Comptroller: Tim Mahoney.

From the bio on his website:

This is what the Austin Chronicle had to say about me on August 21, 2017: “He’s a Jim Hightower protégé who’s been a fixture for decades in Travis County Democratic politics and last year sued Austin Community College [ACC] (where he was once a trustee) after the administration barred Students 4 Bernie from running voter registration events and distributing political literature on campus.”

From my 6 years on the ACC Board, I can tell you that the negativity of the leading Republicans can be beaten. That power can be restored to people, but we need to focus on building local interactive relationships. Groups like Our Revolution, Left Up To Us, and the Democratic Socialists can provide the organizational mechanisms to lead the way. But building that interactive model requires all local groups to understand that building geographic relationships across the whole state is the only way that we can build the momentum to make the change that needs to be done.

[...] I was one of the chief notaries during the Texas Bernie Sanders presidential campaign petition drive, so I know something about a statewide race. We are running this campaign so we can win for Texas, and I would ask for your active support.

This is my kind of Democrat.

For Harris County Judge: Lina Hidalgo.

I'll be voting for the woman who goes to bat for immigrants and the incarcerated every single day over the corporate executive from out of state.  (I will say that her competitor is doing a great job cracking on Ed Emmett, though.)

Update: Mike Nichols is out.


For TX-2: Silky Malik.

Jef Rouner of Free Press Houston (you might recall he was one of last year's Daily Jackasses) interviewed Malik recently, and honestly it reads as if he would really like to get a date with the candidate.  An apparently well-funded support base aside -- she had a campaign manager on board before Ted Poe resigned -- Malik is saying all the right (left) things.  I excerpted the following in this morning's Wrangle; it's worth repeating.

So how do you plan on turning this district blue?

There are two ways a person running for this seat can play it. The first is running a Republican-like campaign, play it close to the center. Maybe you’ll pull 20 percent of the Republican vote. Then you’re at a 50-50 toss-up. I’m definitely not that sort of person or candidate.

What we want to do is look at the largest group of voters, non-voters, and activate them. If nothing else, even if I don’t win but I get more people to give a crap about what’s going on, that’s a huge victory. It’s idealistic, but it’s very important. I think people are tired of these milquetoast candidates and why Democrats can’t win these freakin’ seats. They play it too close to the center. We’re not close to the center. We have no interest in being close to the center.

If I heard every single Democrat say that (and live it), I could consider being a Democrat again.

These next two profiles are strongly conditional to a greater fleshing-out of their stands on the issues, which I find a little thin as of this posting.

-- For Land Commissioner: Miguel Suazo.

From the Chron:
Miguel Suazo, an Austin-based energy-sector attorney who worked as an aide to former U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-New Mexico, said he will announce Friday that he is challenging Republican incumbent George P. Bush. Bush.

Suazo, 36, is the managing partner of Suazo Legal Group, a practice with locations in Texas, New Mexico and Colorado.

"I am running for Land Commissioner because I am qualified for the office and eager to bring new leadership to Texas," Suazo in a statement declaring his candidacy. "I represent small and large companies and also regular folks who need a job done. I know business and I know people ... I'm self-made, nothing's been handed to me. I intend to bring that approach to the General Land Office."

Suazo, a proponent of blockchain technology, said he may be the first candidate in Texas to launch his campaign using proceeds from Bitcoin investments.

"I am prepared to contribute money that I have earned by saving and investing, not that I got from some trust fund, and earn the rest through the grassroots support of the people of Texas by addressing issues important to Texans," he said in he statement.

More on blockchain here if you need it (and you will, sooner than later).  Blockchain and Bitcoin are symbiotic, but blockchain has many commercial uses beyond its value to the crypto-currency from which it was birthed. There's been a lot of news lately about Bitcoin as it has gone to the moon and back to Earth again in speculative worth recently; here's two articles, one somewhat positive, the other negative, that will help you understand what's up with that.

Suazo's website isn't live, he has Tweeted six times to 45 followers, his Facebook page has the Chron article and a little more, so that's what I linked to above.  This is a little weak for an endorsement.  Further, I'm not convinced that either blockchain or Bitcoin (or their disciples like Suazo) are all that progressive, but it's the future wave, and in order for the two technologies to serve the common people, they need advocates on the left.  Like Suazo.  Hopefully.

Anybody but Pee Bush (or Jerry Patterson) is the real objective here.  Those two goons will have a spirited primary refighting the Alamo siege or trying to get furthest right or whatever they do.

The same holds ...

For Harris County Commissioner: Sammy Casados.

Update: Casados has also exited this race, but there's a handful of others still in.  In a future post I'll screen them for progressive bonafides (or lack thereof).

The Pasadena city councilman doesn't have to be very much left to be well to the left of his primary challenger, former Harris sheriff Adrian Garcia.  There's not much on either Casados' website or Facebook page that tells you where he stands on the issues, but he would be hard-pressed to show up on the right of Garcia or the incumbent, Republican Jack Morman.

Garcia is not now, nor has ever been, anybody's definition of progressive.  As county sheriff he was an enthusiastic enforcer of 287(g), the directive that enabled state and local law enforcement agencies to act as front-line soldiers in the War on Immigrants.  When Garcia resigned to run for Houston mayor in 2015 and was eventually replaced by Ed Gonzalez in 2016, the new sheriff abandoned the practice, but without any noticeable change in how it was enforced.  Since Trump became president, 287(g) has been weaponized throughout the state of Texas.

Garcia also lost to Congressvarmint Gene Green last year in what turned out to be the portly neoliberal's last re-election campaign.  At publication time, Garcia's website does not load.

I'll watch Suazo and Casados pretty closely to see if they demonstrate themselves to be the kind of Democrat I can or cannot ultimately vote for in March.  Today, as a block to their conservaDem and Roypublican opponents, they fit the bill, and like Hidalgo should motivate Latin@ turnout throughout the nation's fourth-largest county.  That is critical to statewide Blue prospects next year.  I'm going to say it louder for those in the back: 2018 is a no-excuses year for Latino voter turnout.

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance wonders if Donald Trump has ever heard of Krampus as it brings you this week's roundup.


Off the Kuff gave multiple candidate filing updates, and DBC Green Blog covered the 'looms' of the filing deadline today.

Socratic Gadfly offered his take on Trump, with egging on from top Democrats, naming Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

The actual progressive Texas Democratic candidates -- as well as the ones pretending to be -- are in PDiddie at Brains and Eggs' latest post.

Egberto Willies covered Indivisible Houston's tax protests and net neutrality protests.

Neil at All People Have Value said even if the external world is in disorder, we can still move up and up and up. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

As Texas Leftist slowly makes an effort to get back in the saddle for 2018, he's thankful for the incredible work of all of his blogging colleagues. Before we leap into next year's political hopefuls, it's worth noting that a former Texas elected official made a big move this week. Get ready to see and hear more from Former Houston Mayor Annise Parker in 2018.

Dos Centavos is looking forward to the 2018 Democratic primary, and jobsanger has a bar graph that shows a record number of women are running for Congress in 2018.

Texas Vox suggests to Greg Abbott that Texas' part of  the Volkswagen lawsuit settlement funds -- $289 million -- be dedicated to purchasing electric vehicles for the state fleet and creating green jobs.

And the Lewisville Texan Journal passes along the details of the Texas Smooth Groove Holiday Concert, to be held there on December 22.

================== 

Amid calls for resignations, Texas Standard reports that the Texas Legislature approaches its day of reckoning over the alarming and widespread allegations of rampant sexual misconduct by lawmakers.


A raft of TPPP-bred anti-environmentalists are seizing power in the Trump administration, writes Naveena Sadasivam at the Texas Observer.

The Rivard Report has the story of Mona Patel, who sought San Antonio community services as an amputee and, finding none, built a support network for all of the Alamo City's physically-disabled.

Houston Public Media reports that John Cornyn's bipartisan-supported gun safety bill (which strengthens federal background checks) has become endangered by getting linked to the NRA-favored concealed-carry reciprocity bill.


Chuck Smith at Equality Texas breaks down the Colorado bake shop/same sex marriage case that was argued at SCOTUS.

Free Press Houston's Jef Rouner has an interview with Silky Malik, one of the Democrats running in TX-2 (to replace Ted Poe).  Excerpt:

There are two ways a person running for this seat can play it. The first is running a Republican-like campaign, play it close to the center. Maybe you’ll pull 20 percent of the Republican vote. Then you’re at a 50-50 toss-up. I’m definitely not that sort of person or candidate. 
 
What we want to do is look at the largest group of voters, non-voters, and activate them. If nothing else, even if I don’t win but I get more people to give a crap about what’s going on, that’s a huge victory. It’s idealistic, but it’s very important. I think people are tired of these milquetoast candidates and why Democrats can’t win these freakin’ seats. They play it too close to the center. We’re not close to the center. We have no interest in being close to the center.

Better Texas Blog explains how the Republican tax cut bill threatens local and state public services.

The Bloggess is once again spearheading a grassroots effort to help people in need for the holidays.

Zachery Taylor sees the corporate media assisting (and profiting) from the fraud of televangelism.

Pages of Victory links to Dissident Voice regarding the shake-up and shake-down of China, Saudi Arabia, and the US to explain why he cannot support our country's ensconced-politician class.

Mean Green Cougar Red tries to wrap his mind around flat earthers.

The Houston Communist Party links to the joint statement from the Communist Party of Israel and Hadash (the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality), which strongly condemns Trump's decision on Jerusalem.

And Harry Hamid thanks one of her blogging muses as a requiem, and acknowledges some of her favorite blogs.

Friday, December 08, 2017

The latest existential moment for the Democratic Party

Al Franken's resignation "in the coming weeks" created it.  A measure of folks whom I still read for some temperature-taking of Team Donkey seem awfully distressed, irritated, and depressed as the 'et tu, Brute' scene unfolded over the past 48 hours.


The immediate aftermath, with some catchup linkage, was summarized at Brad's yesterday.

The stunning announcement by the popular and dogged comedian-turned-Senator comes after fellow Democrats this week called for him to step down in the wake of several allegations of sexual misconduct said to have occurred before he became a U.S. Senator. Franken, who has been a champion for women's rights during his time in the Senate, maintains he either doesn't recall the incidents at all or remembers them quite differently than reported. He has described the most recent charge leveled against him this week by an unnamed victim, said to have been a Congressional staffer in 2006, as "preposterous". Nonetheless, while expressing confidence he would have been cleared by the Senate Ethics Committee of any wrongdoing, he says he will now step aside before that probe was even able to begin in earnest.

We share excerpts of Franken's remarks on the floor today, which include, as he notes, "some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate [in Alabama] with the full support of his [Republican] party."

You might remember the post I wrote a few weeks ago where I stated that Franken should not step down, but that was blogged before incidents with other women beyond Leeann Tweeden came to light, and also before Tweeden's apparent collusion with conservative raconteur Roger Stone.  There seems to be some consensus that Franken was railroaded, and it's hard not to agree with aspects of that.  But that still doesn't condone his behavior in this new age we're living in, recognized by TIME magazine as the "fastest-moving social change (they've) seen in decades".

And everything's bigger in Texas, you know.  Separate post later on that.

Democrats being unwilling or unable to fight back is a conclusion I reached sometime in 2006.  The sad part -- and I've written this sentence here previously -- is that even the least-informed voter can sense when a politician isn't standing up for themselves against a Republican bully.  And once they understand that a politician who won't fight back for him/herself is a politician who won't be fighting for them ... it's over.  The terrorists, aka the GOP, have already won.

To the moment:

So did Democrats fall for another right-wing trap in pushing Franken out? It wouldn't be the first time. We discuss several such traps -- including one that MSNBC seems to have fallen for this week regarding progressive radio host Sam Seder, before wisely changing course two days later -- with longtime progressive writer and blogger Gaius Publius, who wrote earlier this week about Democrats falling, yet again, into the Republicans' "deficit trap" regarding federal spending on military and social programs. We debate why and whether Democrats fall into these right-wing traps or if they willingly choose to walk into them for some reason.

"Why is it that Democrats seem to be one foot in the Republican camp and afraid to be too much in opposition, and one foot in the Democratic camp and not so fully pro-democratic values as we'd like them to be?", Publius observes as we discuss Franken, the 'deficit trap' and more. "I would argue that it's not fear. We're not dealing with cowards here. We're dealing with people who are, in some sense, compromised by their own values. Their own values are putting them in this position where they can't please anybody."

You might want to dive deeper into that, so listen to the podcast.  The general consensus -- that I could ascertain from the many things I read and watched yesterday -- was that elected Democrats, particularly those calculating they might benefit from ousting Franken, simply aren't fighting the right battle.  At least not the one that diehard Democratic voters believe represents their values.

If ditching Franken to appeal to the female vote -- that should be read as 'the white suburban women vote' -- then that is probably a losing battle.

The Russians hacking the election (sic), aka 21st century McCarthyism, is firing up again like a Los Angeles brushfire.  And there's more blaming of the media for Clinton's loss a year ago.  Digby goes there, citing the Columbia Journalism Review's research.  If you like, I'll save you some time: Yes, her emails.  Reinforcing a narrative Clinton failed to adequately address and was unable to overcome.  Digby's fail is an inability to acknowledge that is not the media's job to lift one candidate over the other (or tear one down more than another).  They may very well do this, but that's in the eye of the beholder; more inference than implication.  The media reported plenty on Trump's pussy-grabbing but it did not sway his voters, not even the Christians.  To suggest heavier reporting of the Access Hollywood tape would have changed enough votes for Clinton to have carried the three Midwestern states she lost is ludicrous.  To assert that some inequality of reporting influenced the outcome of the 2016 election -- similar to blaming Russian bots on Facebook, for example -- is something I find not just false but irresponsible.

Reasonable, rational people -- I realize it's a stretch to call GOP voters that -- are simply not going to conclude what she has.  They don't use the same reasons or rationales.  That's not how it works in this brave new world any more, and Steve M. at NMMNB clarifies.

There isn't a "commonly accepted" moral high ground, because "commonly accepted" would have to include Republicans, whose only morality is "Just win, baby." I'll grant that. But if we look at the results of the 2016 presidential election and conclude that morality doesn't matter anymore because a con man and confessed sexual predator won the presidency, remember that voters did make a moral judgment in that election -- it's just that many of them concluded that Hillary Clinton was the less moral candidate.

[...]

Democrats have to do the right thing -- and they have to fight like hell to demand fair treatment in the press, as well as adequate treatment of Republican misdeeds. You want to imitate Republican tactics? Then work the refs the way Republicans do. Don't abandon common decency the way they do.

You really should click over and read everything I didn't excerpt.

Society is broken when you have one political party who would rather elect a pedophile to the US Senate than a Democrat.  "Moral values" don't exist when voters think the media is lying about the abuse of power and privilege that translates to dozens of instances of sexual misconduct of the kind that surround the president of the United States.  And if you believe in an old man who lives in the clouds will redeem you of whatever sins you are guilty of by simply asking him to do so ... then you are part of our society's criminal dysfunction, and will never be part of the solution until you can disavow yourself of that quaint, ignorant notion.  If you're too afraid to understand this truth, then you really should get out of politics.  It's going to be necessary in one of the first skirmishes of this fight to leave the grandest illusion to the most massive hypocrites (again, the Republicans, for those having trouble keeping up).  Rationales like 'My God is better than yours', as with the political calculus behind Trump's Jerusalem move in the face of global condemnation, or accepting a percentage of North Korean deaths as collateral damage in a nuclear war that results in a democracy for that country simply isn't cutting it.


None of that is what an actual Jesus -- and not a pretend son of God -- would do, and that really shouldn't have to be said or pointed out to anyone with a functioning brain stem.

Sorry if it offends your sensibilities.  If you can't buy it -- and if you still want a Democratic party (I'm ambivalent; I want a better tool to fight back but it's the only one in the box at the moment) -- then you'd better buy this.

... (Democrats) have to focus on the pattern Lithwick describes and communicate the clear message that the Republican Party is the problem. The GOP's legislation is extreme, its contempt for democratic norms is dangerous, and it lacks all morals. (Democrats) need to make that point, persistently. There is a high ground -- but voters need to be reminded again and again that Republicans individually and collectively occupy the lowest possible ground.

If you still want your metaphors religious, then it's time to acknowledge that Democrats have been successfully demonized by actual demons.  Satan has been assisting the GOP whip their asses in Texas for a generation.  God isn't helping rescue the Democrats because apparently they're not helping themselves.

In short, the Donks have an enormous amount of fighting back to do.  Now -- and anywhere -- would be as good a time and place as any to start.  Despite all those wins across the country just a month ago, I still have doubts as to whether they have it in them, but I'm willing to be wrong about that.

Update: "Sacrificing Al Franken in order to capture the moral high ground is not a strategy":

Happy now? With an alleged serial sexual abuser in the White House, and an alleged serial pedophile about to take a seat in the Senate from Alabama, the Democratic Party has driven from office a man whose big offense appears to be occasional groping. But worry not, we’re told, by the scolds. Now that the Democrats have the High Ground, they won’t have to worry about “what-aboutism” going into the 2018 elections. Democrats can use the issue of sexual harassment to bludgeon their Republican opponents. The only problem being, as long as I’ve been covering the Democrats — going on 50 years now — they never had a clue what to do with the high ground once they gained it. Not even once. And being able to shame Republicans assumes Republicans are capable of shame, and there is scant evidence of that. Nor is there even a scintilla of evidence that voters would respond to Democratic bleating from the alleged “high ground.” Any doubts? Check the polls in Alabama.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

The Texas progressives in the 2018 Democratic primary

And dishonorable mention for some that are not, and those that are in camoflage.  This is a first pass; I need to do more research for a fuller slate.  With so many Democrats to choose from in next year's primary elections -- and with the presumption that holding my vote back for a Green ballot petition drive that is unlikely to be successful -- my focus is turning to candidates I can cast a vote for (and not the many against, since we don't have a real NOTA option beyond an undervote).

Update: DBC Green provides an update on the status of a couple of Green Party candidates (one planning to run as an indie) and ballot access requirements.

Notice the heavy use of the first person pronouns in the above.  This is my list of progressive candidates and you're welcome to it.  YMMV, and if it does, let me hear how and why in the comments.

For US Senate: Sema Hernandez.

As regular readers know, Beto O'Rourke has consistently disappointed me (scroll to the end) with his mush-mouth on universal single payer.  Saying 'health care is a human right', but calling for everyone to pay in, and holding out on the Medicare for All bill because it does not give a role to for-profit hospitals is simply too duplicitous on my most important issue to earn my support.

Hernandez, by contrast, checks all the boxes.  If I had gotten on the ball I would have advanced her appearance with the Independent Outsider progressive radio folks Dave Denton, Holly Seeliger (blogging as Zoon Politikon) and Stevie "Redneckonomics" King this past Monday.  Thanks to the miracle of Net Neutrality, you can still view that interview below.  There is a noticeable lack of professional expertise in that broadcast that people like Kuffner -- who hadn't heard of Sema before he checked the Brazoria County Dems page last week, despite her long and very active Facebook and Twitter presence -- are just going to have to get over.



Catch Sema on Tim Black's show tomorrow night.


She's more Democratic Socialist than you usually find running for office in Texas, and thank Doorknob for that.  She is, in fact, the kind of Democrat that led the way in victories for the Democratic Party just a month ago.  Sema needs your help raising the $$$ for the filing fee to get on the ballot with less than a week remaining.  As with all citizen activist progressives, a few dollars goes a long way toward a much, much better government.

For Governor: Tom Wakely.

Back in July I suggested that Texas Democrats abandon this line in favor of a Joe Straus independent run for the Mansion.  Neither party to that suggestion took my (admittedly sarcastic) bait, but I knew I would be okay with "Bernie Sanders in a cowboy Panama hat".  Wakely is a reincarnation of my favorite Texas politico ever, David Van Os.

That ought to be enough to make plenty of centrist Donkeys curl their lip and vote for Andrew White, I suppose, especially if Lupe Valdez does not enter the race.  *Update: She is rumored, again, to do so this morning.

Contrary to some accounts, Jeffery Payne (aka Mister International Leather) was not the first candidate to file that was 'considered newsworthy'.  This is just another diss from a card-carrying establishment douchebag.  Here's Wakely's latest at Down With Tyranny.


For Lieutenant Governor: Michael Cooper.

Mike Collier, who ran for state comptroller and lost to Glenn Hegar in 2014, voted for Mitt Romney in the 2012 GOP primary, and is the kind of business-oriented former Republican some Democrats think they need to focus on to win elections, especially in Deep-In-The-Hearta.  I'm obviously not one of those people.

African American Texas Democrats will turn out for Cooper and the rest of the ticket, but will do what they did in 2016 with a Caucasian centrist at the top of the ballot: take a pass on voting.  Cooper is running in tandem with Wakely, has an active Twitter feed and Facebook page, but has let his website, linked above, lapse as of this posting.  He campaigned with Wakely in East Texas just this past weekend, so I'll take it that his webmaster simply dropped the ball.  I'm dubious it's a sign of wavering commitment to the race, after announcing his run back in May and having filed on November 11, the first day of the period.

For Agriculture Commissioner: Kim Olson.

She might not be as progressive as, say, Hank Gilbert, but nobody could be as terrible as the incumbent, Sid Miller, or his GOP challenger, Trey Blocker.  That may sound like a left-handed compliment, but it isn't.  Olson is well-qualified in a race Texas Democrats, at this early point in the cycle, stands the best chance of winning.  JMHO.

For Texas Railroad Commission: Roman McAllen.

Even if Lupe Valdez decides not to run for governor, Texas Latin@s have a load of good candidates running for office, and McAllen is one.  I'm on my soapbox to say that they should be doing the heavy lifting NOW to show their support.  With the repeal of ACA and DACA, "build the wall" and other hot-button issues waiting for them to weigh in on, 2018 is a no-excuses year for Latino turnout.

For CD-7: Laura Moser or Jason Westin.

Alex T isn't on board with single payer and neither is Lizzie Fletcher (weakest website ever for a candidate of her stature), so they're both non-starters for me before you even get to their establishment cred -- the mega-money raised, the well-connected endorsements.  Westin is apparently losing the charisma contest to everybody but Cargas and Josh Butler.  Westin is much stronger on single-payer than Moser, who uses the non-specific phrase "access to health care" on her website a little too much for my taste.  This is Beto O'Rourke's path, right down to the "healthcare is a human right" pablum.

Down With Tyranny likes Westin.  But the doctor loses me when he says things like 'a race to the left is one nobody can win', as he reportedly did in a recent candidate forum.  He describes himself as a moderate (see the WaPo link at the end of this graf) on most issues except healthcare.  That's two dogwhistles to centrist Democrats -- not to mention Sarah Davis/Joe Straus Republicans -- who wouldn't be likely to support a general election progressive, a premise which has been verifiably field-tested since 2008.  As a reminder ...

Based on data from the 2008 Cooperative Campaign Analysis Project, a YouGov survey that also interviewed respondents multiple times during the campaign, 24 percent of people who supported Clinton in the primary as of March 2008 then reported voting for McCain in the general election.

An analysis of a different 2008 survey by the political scientists Michael Henderson, Sunshine Hillygus and Trevor Thompson produced a similar estimate: 25 percent. (Unsurprisingly, Clinton voters who supported McCain were more likely to have negative views of African Americans, relative to those who supported Obama.)

For those who can't be bothered to click over, the nut graf is: two to three times as many PUMAs bagged on Obama in '08 than Sandernistas did Hillary in 2016.  I would expect nothing less in 2020 if Bernie Sanders becomes the nominee.

But that's a digression.  It's either Moser or Westin, and it may come down to a coin flip.

Update: Ivan Sanchez, formerly president of Houston Millennials, was the last to file for this race on the deadline.  Nothing on issues on his Facebook page, nor his Twitter and Instagram activity.  Should be interesting to see if he can get any traction over the next three months in such a crowded, high-profile field.

For CD-29: Hector Morales.

I've already posted about him, so I'm not "basically everyone".  This Tweet from the young schoolteacher says it all.


More to come on Lina Hidalgo, Adrian Garcia, and others.

Monday, December 04, 2017

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes everyone Treason's Greetings with this week's roundup.


Off the Kuff is doing his best to keep up with filing news.

Socratic Gadfly discusses three big bits of political news from around the Metroplex area. First, he offers his initial take on Lupe Valdez's possible entry into the Democratic gubernatorial race. Second, he says good-bye and good riddance to Helen Giddings. Third, he offers a bigger good-bye and good riddance to Smokey Joe Barton.

Egberto Willies wants us all to be on the streets and more engaged in combating the Republican tax cut scam.

Texas Leftist also blogged about the #GOPTaxScam that was ultimately passed by the Senate in the wee hours last Saturday morning.

Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez had a false start to her gubernatorial campaign last week, and once her bid for the Governor's Mansion is official, it will help carry a lot of downballot Democrats to victory, writes PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

Harry Hamid attended the Harris County Green Party's recent monthly meeting but was forced to stage an unintended walkout, and David Collins went to a community gathering about a sports bar's traffic issues instead of attending the same GP assembly.  Both bloggers used the word 'toxic' in their posts to describe their attendance (or lack thereof).  Perhaps the party's leaders will catch a clue.

Neil at All People Have Value suggested that personhood be taken away from human beings and extended to guns and bullets instead. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

jobsanger has a bar graph that shows the minimum wage in every state, and uses it to illustrate how that is not a living wage.

And the Lewisville Texan Journal passes along the details of that city's annual holiday pet adoption event, Santa Paws Village, being held this coming Saturday.

=================

In more Lone Star lefty blogs and news posts ...

Houston Public Media links to ProPublica's investigation of current and former military installations across the United States (more than 60 in Texas) contaminated by hazardous waste.  One of the worst sits roughly 15 miles east of downtown Houston.

The San Jacinto Ordnance Depot bunker.

In an aggregate of 2018 filing developments, a former Monsanto lobbyist is challenging Ag Commish Sid "Sharia Law" Miller in the GOP primary, and Christopher Collins at the Texas Observer sees both men pandering as hard as they can to freak Republican base voters.  In the wake of Joe Barton's somewhat involuntary retirement, the FWST was on the scene as his former chief of staff filed to replace him in Congress.  (The several other Republicans and Democrats vying for TX-6 are also mentioned.)  And the TexTrib has news about former state Representative Trey Martinez Fischer, who wants his old seat in the Texas House back.  He's running against Rep. Diana Arévalo in the Democratic primary for HD-116 (San Antonio).

Grits for Breakfast wonders what happens next after the latest details of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department's sexual abuse of child prisoners at the Gainesville State School have been made public.

Therese Odell at Foolish Watcher reacts to the Matt Lauer news and the reaction to the Lauer news by Donald Trump.

The Lunch Tray asks you to comment on USDA school nutrition standards.

The TSTA Blog keeps pushing back against school privatization untruths.

Bill Barker at The Rivard Report urges haste in adopting a Climate Action Plan.

Keep Austin Wonky offers his proposal for a 2018 City of Austin infrastructure bond.

And Ty Clevenger at Lawflog reports on the federal death row inmate who is appealing his sentence, hopeful to receive a hearing from a judge who is not drunk.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Lupe Valdez false-starts gubernatorial campaign

Maybe it wasn't her but her county chair (see excerpt below).  Several Metroplex media reported late yesterday that the sheriff had resigned her post -- something she is not (see correction explanation in the comments) required to do, by the way --  in order to challenge Greg Abbott in November of 2018.  That hasn't happened yet.

Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, a Democrat who has been exploring a run for governor, doesn't appear ready to quit her day job for a campaign yet, despite reports she resigned ahead of a likely bid.

Multiple local news outlets in North Texas reported her resignation Wednesday evening. At least two cited Dallas County Democratic Party Chair Carol Donovan as the source of the news. But a few hours later, Valdez's spokeswoman denied the reports.

“As she has stated in the past, the Sheriff is considering the next stage in her career," said the spokeswoman Melinda Urbina. "A letter of resignation was not submitted today. The Sheriff will make a formal announcement when her final decision is made.”

When I wrote a little over three weeks ago that she held the fate of the free world, which still includes Texas, in her hands, that wasn't hyperbole.  She changes the game for everybody in Deep-In-The-Hearta, but only if she pulls the trigger.

(And for the record, let's note that Valdez is much more comfortable wielding a firearm than either Wendy Davis or Greg Abbott.)



Davis, you may recall, had to come clean on her appeal to the NRA Caucus.  Abbott couldn't fire a shotgun without going wheels up, even if his brake was locked and Luis Saenz stood behind him bracing his chair.  But the fetish of guns remains important in a state full of gun nuts.

Gadfly has a bit on her pluses and minuses.

Resignation or no, if/when Valdez commits to make the run as she remains promised to do, she mobilizes the Latin@ vote, the LGBT vote, the RGV vote, and the women of color vote, all of which must surge like Harvey in order to carry some Democrats into Austin (and Washington).  Maybe not herself, but certainly several others.

Like some of these these good people running for the statewide judicial bench.

From left: Franklin, Kirkland, Cheng, Jackson, Sandill.
The Texas Democratic Party is hoping their slate of Houston-area attorneys and judges running for seats on the state's highest courts will catch a "blue wave" of anti-Trump sentiment to carry them into office.

But the candidates said Tuesday they know they are facing a steep battle in 2018, given that Democrats haven't won a statewide race since 1994.

"We all know it's a stretch goal," said Judge Steve Kirkland who has served as a judge in municipal and district courts and is running for Place 2 on the Texas Supreme Court to replace Justice Don Willett who is expected to be confirmed to sit on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

[...]

"We've got a bully in the White House. We have a governor that's a bully," said Judge R. K. Sandill, who is running for Place 4 on the Supreme Court against Justice John Phillip Devine. "Texans stand up to bullies."

[...]

Six total statewide seats are up for election on the Texas' high courts: three on the Supreme Court and three on the Court of Criminal Appeals, the highest court for criminal matters. Each term lasts six years.

Democratic Party Deputy Executive Director Manny Garcia said the party currently has only five candidates and does not expect a sixth to come forward to run for the Criminal Court of Appeal's Place 8 at this time.

Texas Greens: ^^THAT^^ is your clue.  Get your shit together, your signatures collected and verified, and your asses on the ballot.

All five of the 2018 candidates are from Harris County. Of the four who are judges, none risk losing their current seat on the bench if they lose in the general election.

Judge Ramona Franklin is running for Place 7 on the Court of Criminal Appeals. She presides over the 338 Criminal District Court and would run against Justice Judge Barbara Hervey.

"So many people think the law depends on the amount of money they have," Franklin said. "The perception is wrong, but it is still perception... I think if we can debunk that, I've done my part."

Judge Maria Jackson, a presiding judge in the 229th State District Court in Houston since 2008, wants a seat on the Court of Criminal Appeals. She will run against Presiding Judge Sharon Keller for Place 1.

"I believe in being the judge for everyone," Jackson said. "I'm running because I can be a part of change in the law and making it more balanced."

Kathy Cheng, a Houston-area attorney and first generation Asian American born in Taiwan, largely handles civil litigation, asset protection, commercial and family law. She is the only Democratic candidate who is not a judge, and she's running for Supreme Court Place 6, a seat currently occupied by Justice Jeff Brown.


{...]

Kirkland is expected to face off against Jimmy Blacklock, Gov. Greg Abbott's trusted general counsel. The governor announced Monday he would appoint Blackock to the job if Justice Willett is confirmed to the federal circuit court.

All of these judicial candidates are known to me, some better than others.  Kirkland has been profiled and endorsed here in the past, as has have the others (Cheng came within a whisper of a Houston-area state appeals court seat in 2012).  If a blue wave in 2018 comes, they will be the most likely to benefit from it due to straight-ticket voting.  Historically, STV in Texas gives Democrats a slight edge, but that data was taken in presidential election years.  (The Lege abolished straight-ticket voting for 2020, but a lawsuit by Dems could overturn that.)

I'll have your early progressive Democratic slate of candidates forthcoming.  Your piss-off-the-centrist-Donkeys tip: It won't include Lupe Valdez or Andrew White, or Beto O'Rourke, or Sylvia Garcia, or either of the two top fundraisers in CD-7.