Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A kinder, gentler bunch of TeaBaggers

And just in time for 2014 (and '16).

Houston’s preeminent tea party group, King Street Patriots, and its spinoff True The Vote, had big plans for last November’s election. After making a splash in the 2010 midterm elections by dispatching teams of suburban poll-watchers into inner-city Houston neighborhoods, they planned to significantly up the ante by organizing one million poll-watchers nationwide.

As former Observer-er Abby Rapoport reported for the American Prospect in October, True The Vote’s actual poll-watcher force would fall far short of that milestone.

They've lost nothing in terms of enthusiasm, however.  Just read this about Ted Cruz's victory lap at KSP HQ last night, and then go look at the pictures.  Make no mistake: Houston and Harris County are once again Ground Zero for the success or failure of their agenda.

“Make no mistake, there was fraud.” That’s how Catherine Engelbrecht, who heads both groups, helped explain what happened at King Street’s post-election recap (back in January).
Conservative groups across the country are soul-searching and charting new courses after this election, and King Street Patriots and True The Vote are no different. As Engelbrecht stressed from the stage (in January), that course runs back through Houston.

“People think, ‘Oh, Texas is a red state.’ Texas is not a red state, Texas is a purple state,” Engelbrecht said. “If you don’t think Harris County can, in the next election cycle, flop all of Texas—they can.”

Yes, across town the liberals were busy balancing things out last night with their own events: Wendy Davis' brain spoke in Meyerland to a hundred, and there was an even larger turnout at the early vote rally hosted by the International Caucus of Mayor Annise Parker's steering committee.  Slightly different demographics at each event, you will note.

Go read the rest of the article excerpted, and don't overlook that this meeting took place a few days after Obama was inaugurated for his second term.  The KSP has been making these plans since the first of the year.

Engelbrecht conceded the plan might sound a little out-there. “You sit back and think, ‘Holy moly, they have lost their minds, talking to prostitutes and drug [dealers],’” she said, but she asked her fellow Patriots to trust her. ”We’re just gonna start helping in the community and it will turn things around.”

To handle this new plan—itself a resuscitation of the group’s dormant “Citizen Patriot Response,” or CPR, program—King Street has tapped another friend of the program, anarchist-turned-tea-partier Brandon Darby. Darby explained his plans to “take a small area of Harris County, probably close by,” and “begin to work with them, and get our communities…involved in their communities.”

You better go read it (again, hopefully). And then read this, about how Texas is busily trying to disenfranchise the most crucial demographic Wendy Davis needs in order to be elected governor.

There are several ways for this voter ID law to royally complicate a woman's ability to cast her ballot. What if she celebrates her wedding in late October or even in the first few days of November? Yes, she could submit an absentee ballot, but who thinks of that in the days leading up to her wedding? And what about women who have a tough work and family schedule? Do those women really have the time to track down original documents? That's before we even talk about the $20 fee, which can feel like a lot of money to someone struggling to pay her bills, or a woman fresh out of school.

We're just going to say it: These additions to voter ID laws in Texas seem to specifically target women, especially young women, busy moms, and those living close to the poverty level. And these are precisely the women who may be voting for changes in Texas that likely run counter to what the men (and it was pretty much all men) who passed this voter ID law—such as supporting Wendy Davis' run for governor. So much for the idea that the support surrounding Davis' marathon filibuster might encourage the Texas legislature to do some soul searching about women's rights.

Ted Cruz, the King Street Patriots, all of the Republicans running for statewide office next year, and the rest of the worst conservatives in the USA are going to keep expanding their reality and vision of Texas... or the rest of us are going to replace it, and them.  The battle is being fought right now, house to house.  The winner is still to be determined.

But if you want an early clue as to how things might go, watch the results of the District A Houston city council race.  Helena Brown's bid for re-election could be a tea leaf with some tiny writing on it.

Update: Claude Bitner in the comment section doesn't think women with different names on their IDs should be a problem, but a Texas district judge found out otherwise today.


Claude Bitner said...

I believe that the woman getting married in late October or early November would possess a driver's license and voter registration card with matching names, probably maiden. Although I anticipate many complicated scenarios that could disenfranchise a woman, this doesn't seem to be one.

PDiddie, aka Perry Hussein Dorrell said...

Juanita Jean appears to agree with you.