Saturday, November 15, 2008

Playing ketchup

I passed attending today's SDEC post-election confab in Austin today. With a sick spouse (recuperating), and after two consecutive 9-hour days in a hotel conference room with a sixty-minute commute at rush hour on either end, the last thing I wanted to do today was drive 2 1/2 hours to sit in a hotel conference room for four to six hours. And then drive back tonight. But I'll get some reports that I will likely blog about.

Meanwhile at last night's Chris Bell organizing event for SD-17, I had a couple of interesting conversations about the election last week.

After sleeping on it, I'm convinced the evidence in Harris County -- the granular precinct and statehouse district analysis -- will reveal a few discomfiting things about how we voted last week.

In fact I would submit (and for the record, I have not seen the data; I'm positing the following based on what little I do know) that African-American Democrats voted for Hispanics on the ballot, but Hispanic Democrats may not have returned the favor to black Dems. More telling, "what's in a name" had as much to do with who won and lost as party label, the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on teevee advertising, or anything else. And that naturally would not be due strictly to just Democrats and their biases.

We already know that Hispanic neighborhoods in the county voted at a 40-45% clip, and African-American ones were 60-65% and higher. And we also know that a cursory glance past the presidential results reveals that Adrian Garcia tallied the most Democratic votes in Harris County, and that Rick Noriega and Linda Yanez also ran ahead of John Cornyn and Phil Johnson here. Further down the ballot, Democratic judicials won most of the contests, but a look at those races that Democrats lost is where the brutal truth may lie.

The defeated Democratic courthouse hopefuls were named Goodwille Pierre, Mekisha Murray (she's Caucasian, FWIW), Andres Pereira, and Ashish Mahendru. And Alexandra Smoots-Hogan (an African-American married to a Caucasian) and Josefina Rendon (Latina, obviously) had very narrow victories.

The evidence accumulates that Latinos delivered the White House to Obama by virtue of their turnout and votes in states like Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and Florida -- where the Cubans' changing of the of the generational guard is lumped in with the "Latino rise", much to Cuban chagrin. And the perhaps-contradictory evidence that Harris County defies the national trend placing Texas slightly outside the mainstream of the political currents is still to be determined by the precinct analysis left to others better than me, like Kuffner.

So maybe we Democrats were a little bigoted about our votes last week, and maybe not so much. Maybe it was a little tilted in one direction than another, maybe it wasn't.

And maybe it's just me stirring the pot a little. Especially if you overlook all the Democrats in California and other states that denied gays the right to marry last week. That wasn't racial either.

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