Friday, July 04, 2014

Happy Fourth, Houston Democrats

Jared Woodfill, Dr. Steve Hotze, Dave Wilson, just gave you a gift.

Opponents of Houston's new non-discrimination ordinance Thursday turned in well more than the minimum number of signatures needed to trigger a November vote on whether to repeal the measure.

Staff in the City Secretary's office will have 30 days to verify that the names - 50,000 of them, opponents said - cross the minimum threshold of 17,269 signatures from registered Houston voters that foes needed to gather in the month following the measure's passage in an 11-6 vote of the City Council.

Texas Leftist leads the local response, with Kuff and Lone Star Q close behind.

The referendum is going to be hard work, but it could actually end up being very good, not only for Houston Progressives, but for Progressive causes across Texas. Here are the reasons why...

Go read them.  Wayne joins me and Charles in that assessment.  They both seem a little more cautious about engaging the enemy than me, but that's okay.  Soon enough everybody within the city limits of the nation's fourth largest city -- the only one without a non-discrimination ordinance prior to Council's action in May -- will understand the electoral ramifications of what this development represents.

Make no mistake: this is a golden opportunity to pummel the very worst of the conservative opposition a second time, and lift the fortunes of every Democrat on the ballot simultaneously.  To fully capitalize requires an extensive GOTV effort... which BGTX and the HGLBT Caucus should be primed and ready to make.  It feels to me as if it's another favorable break in a gathering confluence of serendipitous events over the past few weeks -- Greg Abbott's ongoing series of mistakes, an accumulating pile of serious problems for he and others among the GOP here and elsewhere, the positive momentum generated by the filibuster anniversary and the party's state convention last weekend, the reactions to SCROTUS and Hobby Lobby, and now this -- that make me feel suddenly optimistic about the blue team's chances in 120 days.

Oh, and then there's that humanitarian crisis happening now at the southern border, which Republicans are responding to with their usual dignity and compassion.  I always appreciate their reminding us precisely what fine Christians they are come election time.

Nobody who cares about any one of these things should be sitting on the sidelines, like they did in the primary and runoff, like they usually do in off-term election years.

What Woodfill and Hotze are banking on is the tried-and-true loser's coalition of African American social conservatives joining them in their lily-white Pride of Hate Parade.  We've seen it lose with Gene Locke in 2011 and we've seen it lose worse with Ben Hall in 2013.  The one thing that causes me the most cognitive dissonance is the image of a black pastor raging against civil rights for a discriminated minority group on the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.  But I have greater faith that the majority of their congregations will be able to see through that hypocrisy.

The corporate media will parrot the truthiness that 'nobody pays attention to elections until after Labor Day', but you can dispense with that.  One of the tasks before the leaders in turning back the Hate Parade is holding the local press accountable for their failure in exposing the lies of the right adequately covering the topic when it came before Council two months ago.

Ground zero for both Republicans and Democrats in statewide elections remains Harris County, somewhere between a fifth and a fourth of their respective statewide vote totals.  The HERO ordinance referendum will only be on the ballot for Houston residents, however; excluding the red-ass suburban voters in Kingwood, Sugar Land, the Woodlands, Clear Lake, Katy, etc.  That's why you can safely predict that it is doomed to lose.

Still, even prohibitive favorites can fail to execute; just ask Eric Cantor.  Which is why -- with three and one-half months to the start of early voting, and around 90 days before voter registration concludes (make sure your ID is proper) -- this should be a very fun political season.  Hard work, yes, but with plenty of extra motivation to close the deal.

It is ON.

Update: A little more snark from Susan Du at the Houston Press.

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