Monday, November 02, 2015

Last thoughts before Election Day (maybe)

-- Kuff's Sunday morning post about voter turnout for Houston's elections is definitive, the best last word before Tuesday night.  He blew up the newspaper guy's numbers, paid homage to the paid politicos for their turnout prediction, and gave us HEROes a little glimmer of hope.  Surely not all Republican voters are hateful bigots, after all.

My takeaway?  Thirty-five thousand people voted last Friday, or about 18% of the 194K total.  That's kind of ridiculous.  That may be as many people as vote on Election Day proper.  I'm conflicted about hoping it's greater or smaller turnout tomorrow, because the conventional wisdom -- that high turnout aids the liberal side --  is flipped on its head this cycle.  The evidence suggests that the cons may have more to celebrate tomorrow night.  Old and white and Democratic has been the typical muni voter; how much will that meme change after we see what happens Tuesday night?

If that Republican vote already in the can is not monolithically anti-; that they, possibly more than some Democrats, see the threat to the city's business interests beyond lost major sporting events and conventions with a defeat of HERO, then we don't have to feel gloomy about the outcome.  Even kingmaker douchebags like Gary Polland and Terry Lowry seem to get that.

The most interesting thing to me is that while Big Jolly has harped on bathroom fears -- he knows better; he's just a cheerleader for the team -- he and others have attacked their own party chair, Paul Simpson, for saying Ben Hall was for HERO before he was against it.  The current chairman of the Harris County Republican Party is being shat upon for a sidebar argument, while the guy he defeated, Jared Woodfill, is out in front of the Hate Parade.  (Rumor has it he wants to be state party chair, and a win on Tuesday greases those skids.)

If there is some significant percentage of the swollen turnout in the conservative boondocks voting for Steve Costello and 'yes' on HERO, and some similar minority vote (no pun) among the high black turnout casting ballots for Ben Hall and 'no', maybe the poli-sci professors have oversold Bill King's prospects.  (Remember that the last poll conducted two weeks ago essentially found a four-way tie for second place.)  But if Sylvester Turner's voters are voting no on HERO, then we can surmise the ordinance has already lost.

The historical election data that supports the premise that Democrats are also homophobes comes from 2005, when just under 18% of the state's voters approved the Texas equivalent of DOMA with 76.25% of the vote.  In Harris County it was 72.5%.  That was more than just a solid Republican bloc codifying marriage discrimination into the state's constitution.  Tolerance has come a long way in the decade since -- mostly thanks to the SCOTUS ruling last summer -- but still has a long way to go here in Deep-In-The-Hearta.  We're about to find out exactly how far.

So in the post-election analysis I will be looking for evidence that a high percentage of Houston black Democrats voted 'no' on Prop 1.  (I would define 'high percentage' as a number at or above 33% of the total.)  You may recall that HBAD made no endorsement of either of the city's ballot propositions but did endorse the anti-HERO Republican incumbent in At Large 3 over three progressive candidates.  IMHO, and certainly absent a big turnout on Election Day in District C and Meyerland and other inside-the-loop, Caucasian-heavy Democratic precincts, that -- how the African American votes went for and against -- is where the ordinance's fate will turn.  Turner came in second to Chris Bell on my ballot for a very small number of reasons, the main one being the state representative's relatively late conversion to marriage equality.  If Turner's electorate puts him in the runoff but also helps knock down the ordinance... is he accountable for that?  What will the HGLBT Caucus say publicly if that should happen?  That the mayoral candidate they endorsed brought voters to the polls that killed HERO?

Update: At this blog's Facebook page, Noah Horwitz has called my attention to this FB post by Kris Banks w/r/t the Turner campaign's talking points on HERO.  So good on them for that.

One more thing, from the Chron link in the first graf:

Former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia also spent $20,000 to advertise in the Texas Conservative Review and City Councilman Steve Costello paid $30,000.

Still think Adrian Garcia is a good Democrat?

-- Worth relinking: these two posts on tomorrow's Texas scorecard, from this morning's Weekly Wrangle... "If Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick, and Joe Straus are for it, the rest of us should vote against it".   And why is one HISD trustee candidate attacking another in a way-down-the-ballot race for a job which pays nothing?

And yet another newspaper's opinion on turning down all state props except for 2.

-- There are, of course, other elections going on around the country, and the governorships in Kentucky and Louisiana are the most interesting.  If you haven't been following the Amazing Bayou Tale of Diaper David Vitter's Collapse, it's a novella all its own.  And holding the Bluegrass State's governor's seat is also in the Democrats' reach.  The Daily Kos Elections Digest is a great place to get primed and then to watch the returns come in without turning on your teevee.

1 comment:

Gadfly said...

I'll be up late Tuesday, both personally and professionally. Good luck down there. That newspaper column sounds interesting.