Saturday, March 11, 2017

Scattershooting the state and local Dems again

Some developments in the wake of Lillie Schechter's election as HCDP chair last Sunday afternoon:

--Schechter won handily, as everyone who cares already knows, but not without some drama from the African American HERO-hating caucus, when both Chris Spellmon and Keryl Douglas accepted their nominations and then promptly resigned them in their acceptance speeches, throwing their support to fellow traveler Eartha Jean Johnson in a too-obvious conspiracy to take over party management.  Schechter tried to mend fences immediately by asking all candidates to join her on the dais following her swearing-in by TDP chair Gil Hinojosa, but that effort may not be working.  Yesterday Schechter sent out an email to party faithful containing this bullet point ...

  • began the process of creating a Millennial Committee with the help of Johnathon Miller and Dominique Davis (two of her vanquished foes)

... the day after Sen. Borris Miles sent out this email, under the header "Just My Thoughts":

From Sunday’s vote emerged 2 front runners, our newly elected Chair Lillie Schechter and Candidate Eartha Jean Johnson; both candidates are intelligent, determined and armed with very progressive and strategic plans on turning Texas Blue; now imagine what HCDP could accomplish with them working together, side by side. The DNC runs with a Chair and a Vice Chair, I believe HCDP should follow that example and structure itself in the same manner. Lillie Schechter and Eartha Jean Johnson both have the ability to bring our precinct chairs and party together. I believe structuring HCDP with a Chair and Vice Chair would heal the party and also let our precinct chairs and constituents know that we hear them.

There's more unityblahblahfearthepartywillbefracturedblahloseanychanceofturningTexasBlueblah.
If you want more, just ask for it in the comments.

Miles misuses the word "progressive" and "narrow-minded thinking" as antonyms to their actual meaning, but I can still catch his drift.  He's sending the message that the HCDP is going to have to be a lot more in the future than white people reaching out to brown people.  I think it's a real concern that black Democrats may find themselves not voting again in 2020 -- as in 2016 -- if their concerns continue to go unaddressed.  The quandary here is finding room for Christian fundamentalists under the big blue tent who are unwavering in their belief that homos are sinners.  Of any creed, for what it's worth.  One party of hate is one too many.  Don't need two.

I can't see how this gets resolved without somebody forfeiting a core belief.  How often does that happen in politics?

As an aside to Team Donkey, you may take some small solace in the fact that the Harris County Green Party's recent local election shows even more racial dysfunction than this, if you can believe it.  The old white guard just voted out their black co-chair, a woman, replacing her with a white woman who could not muster so much as a nominating acceptance speech with a plan for action.  Yet she upset the incumbent by a single vote, after the meeting location was switched with an hour to go before it was to begin.  Somebody forgot to reserve space, you see.

I suppose to their credit, and before someone accuses me of sour grapes, I should mention that the county steering committee has a new man of color who should do a fine job, along with two other members bringing fresh blood.  I ran and came in fourth to these three (and don't feel bad at all about the outcome.  My improving health gives me more time and energy that needs to be devoted to resurrecting my business practice anyway.)

-- Kuff didn't like the Andrew Cockburn/Harper's piece that praised Harris Democrats for their 2016 victories that I linked to over two weeks ago; apparently it didn't have enough math for him.  He made a point of praising TOP four times in his post but thought Cockburn should have talked to someone local.  Check his own tag for TOP, though, and you won't find any interviews with local TOP organizers over the past year.  Not sure why the guy in town should be knocking the national writer for something he hasn't done himself.

Now to cut him some slack, Kuff hosts a blogger's luncheon once a month that I no longer attend, so maybe there's TOP folks at that who talk to him that he doesn't blog about ("what happens at bloglunch stays at bloglunch", you see).  There could be stuff he knows that he can't really blog about, just like me and others.  Or he could not really know too much about TOP, like me.  By all indications, TOP is getting the job done that BGTX has long talked about but didn't.  I volunteered in that latter organization, and I can tell you straight from the inside that they couldn't organize their way out of a paper bag in 2014.  But they seem to be a haven for budding consultant wannabees, so there's that.  Whoever's giving money to BGTX should shift it over to TOP (JMHO, Democrats).

-- Let me make sure Kuff doesn't grind his teeth too much reading this, because he has properly noted that Eddie Lucio needs to be run out of the Democratic Party tarred, feathered, and on a rail, and that Mike Collier is indeed the next Best Hope for the TDP in 2018... if you're not looking forward to a US Senate race that features Beto O'Rourke, that is.  In the comments here I mentioned that with Matthew Dowd acting serious about an independent bid, it's at least possible that he siphons enough R votes away from Ted Cruz to open a general election door to victory for Beto.  That goes out the window if Michael McCaul challenges Poop Cruz in the GOP primary, spends a wad, and beats him.  And I'm hoping whichever Castro it is that's dithering about this race will exercise the family's customary reticence and sit it out.  Just no fan of Blue Dogs.

-- Finally and with regard to the real, actual key to getting more Democrats in Congress -- fixing these awful gerrymanders -- a quick click over this morning reveals that Charles didn't have time to get to this breaking news from late yesterday.  I'm sure it's in his draft queue.

Some of Texas’ 36 congressional districts violate either the U.S. Constitution or the federal Voting Rights Act, a panel of federal judges ruled Friday.

In a long-delayed ruling, the judges ruled 2-1 that the Texas Legislature must redraw the political maps it most recently used for the 2016 elections.

Specifically, they pointed to Congressional District 23, which stretches from San Antonio to El Paso, takes in most of the Texas-Mexico border and is represented by Republican Will Hurd of Helotes; Congressional District 27, represented by Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi; and Congressional District 35, a Central Texas district represented by Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin.

No remedies have been suggested by the court, and one observer alleges that the reason this decision came down at last night's late hour is so that no bill in the current, regular Texas Legislative session would be possible.  Clever AF, don't you think?

Much more excellent reporting from that link by Ross Ramsey at the TexTrib, and I stole their graphic above, produced by Anneke Paterson and Todd Wiseman.  Chuck Lindell at the Statesman and Michael Li (Tweet feed), the former Texan now at the Brennan Center, and Rick Hasen at Election Law Blog all with more, including the unhinged dissent from Judge Jerry Smith.  You really should go read it.

Smith is obviously trying to draw attention to himself as a potential Supreme Court nominee with these frothing-mad attacks on the Obama DOJ, a common thread for Smith w/r/t the voter ID lawsuit.  (BTW, Kuff did get to news I didn't with the story about Jeff Sessions having his voter ID crew switch tables.)  As for Justice Smith: get you a snappy Twitter account; you got a long way to go to catch Don Willett.


Gadfly said...

The "calendar" issue was one I noticed with the ruling, too. Are the judges, after all this time, unaware of the Lege's bills calendar? Do they not check? Do they not care? Do they not speculate as to the possibility of Paxton's minions trying to run out the clock on them?


I of course liked Cockburn's piece, wether it had enough math or not.

Unknown said...

While I would prefer not to delve into dirty Green laundry, I must assure you and your readers that Bernadine Williams's narrow loss in the election for HCGP co-chair had far less to do with ethnicity than her management style. Without going into detail, it's worth noting that she has alienated several long-standing Party members, including me.

In her speech last month, Bernadine correctly noted that she has been effective on multiple fronts. I am one of several members who are grateful to her for bringing some long-absent members back into "active duty." However, while I have always liked Bernadine personally, it says a lot that Valerie Alessi received more votes despite her desultory attempt at a speech.

This state of affairs puts some pressure on Val to be every bit as effective as Bernadine, if not more. I hope that she will accept the challenge, and that co-chair George Reiter will mentor and push her in that direction. With our new focus on attaining ballot access for 2018, having two strong co-chairs will be fundamental to the Party's success in Harris County and statewide.

PDiddie said...

I am also familiar with Bernadine's management style, David, and if it made the old guard uncomfortable enough to replace her under alarmingly shady circumstances, then the Harris Greens have bigger problems than I thought.

No, the core issues are an inflexible group of people -- old, white people -- who can't perceive how deep into the ditch they have driven the party, and won't let go of the wheel as others try to pull it out. But the fish stinks from the head down, and the sooner you folks get rid of George Reiter, the better off you'll be.

I can't tell you how many dozens of people have left the HCGP because of Reiter's inept management. Surely this isn't news to you.

In any event I can't be supportive of the party's efforts as long as you fail to address the core issue(s). Besides, had I not been tarred with the same brush with which you smeared Bernadine, I would have been just another old white guy trying to pull your sled out of the mud, and I've got better things to do with my time.

Good luck to you and your fellow travelers in your efforts.