Wednesday, December 06, 2017

The Texas progressives in the 2018 Democratic primary

And dishonorable mention for some that are not, and those that are in camoflage.  This is a first pass; I need to do more research for a fuller slate.  With so many Democrats to choose from in next year's primary elections -- and with the presumption that holding my vote back for a Green ballot petition drive that is unlikely to be successful -- my focus is turning to candidates I can cast a vote for (and not the many against, since we don't have a real NOTA option beyond an undervote).

Update: DBC Green provides an update on the status of a couple of Green Party candidates (one planning to run as an indie) and ballot access requirements.

Notice the heavy use of the first person pronouns in the above.  This is my list of progressive candidates and you're welcome to it.  YMMV, and if it does, let me hear how and why in the comments.

For US Senate: Sema Hernandez.

As regular readers know, Beto O'Rourke has consistently disappointed me (scroll to the end) with his mush-mouth on universal single payer.  Saying 'health care is a human right', but calling for everyone to pay in, and holding out on the Medicare for All bill because it does not give a role to for-profit hospitals is simply too duplicitous on my most important issue to earn my support.

Hernandez, by contrast, checks all the boxes.  If I had gotten on the ball I would have advanced her appearance with the Independent Outsider progressive radio folks Dave Denton, Holly Seeliger (blogging as Zoon Politikon) and Stevie "Redneckonomics" King this past Monday.  Thanks to the miracle of Net Neutrality, you can still view that interview below.  There is a noticeable lack of professional expertise in that broadcast that people like Kuffner -- who hadn't heard of Sema before he checked the Brazoria County Dems page last week, despite her long and very active Facebook and Twitter presence -- are just going to have to get over.

Catch Sema on Tim Black's show tomorrow night.

She's more Democratic Socialist than you usually find running for office in Texas, and thank Doorknob for that.  She is, in fact, the kind of Democrat that led the way in victories for the Democratic Party just a month ago.  Sema needs your help raising the $$$ for the filing fee to get on the ballot with less than a week remaining.  As with all citizen activist progressives, a few dollars goes a long way toward a much, much better government.

For Governor: Tom Wakely.

Back in July I suggested that Texas Democrats abandon this line in favor of a Joe Straus independent run for the Mansion.  Neither party to that suggestion took my (admittedly sarcastic) bait, but I knew I would be okay with "Bernie Sanders in a cowboy Panama hat".  Wakely is a reincarnation of my favorite Texas politico ever, David Van Os.

That ought to be enough to make plenty of centrist Donkeys curl their lip and vote for Andrew White, I suppose, especially if Lupe Valdez does not enter the race.  *Update: She is rumored, again, to do so this morning.

Contrary to some accounts, Jeffery Payne (aka Mister International Leather) was not the first candidate to file that was 'considered newsworthy'.  This is just another diss from a card-carrying establishment douchebag.  Here's Wakely's latest at Down With Tyranny.

For Lieutenant Governor: Michael Cooper.

Mike Collier, who ran for state comptroller and lost to Glenn Hegar in 2014, voted for Mitt Romney in the 2012 GOP primary, and is the kind of business-oriented former Republican some Democrats think they need to focus on to win elections, especially in Deep-In-The-Hearta.  I'm obviously not one of those people.

African American Texas Democrats will turn out for Cooper and the rest of the ticket, but will do what they did in 2016 with a Caucasian centrist at the top of the ballot: take a pass on voting.  Cooper is running in tandem with Wakely, has an active Twitter feed and Facebook page, but has let his website, linked above, lapse as of this posting.  He campaigned with Wakely in East Texas just this past weekend, so I'll take it that his webmaster simply dropped the ball.  I'm dubious it's a sign of wavering commitment to the race, after announcing his run back in May and having filed on November 11, the first day of the period.

For Agriculture Commissioner: Kim Olson.

She might not be as progressive as, say, Hank Gilbert, but nobody could be as terrible as the incumbent, Sid Miller, or his GOP challenger, Trey Blocker.  That may sound like a left-handed compliment, but it isn't.  Olson is well-qualified in a race Texas Democrats, at this early point in the cycle, stands the best chance of winning.  JMHO.

For Texas Railroad Commission: Roman McAllen.

Even if Lupe Valdez decides not to run for governor, Texas Latin@s have a load of good candidates running for office, and McAllen is one.  I'm on my soapbox to say that they should be doing the heavy lifting NOW to show their support.  With the repeal of ACA and DACA, "build the wall" and other hot-button issues waiting for them to weigh in on, 2018 is a no-excuses year for Latino turnout.

For CD-7: Laura Moser or Jason Westin.

Alex T isn't on board with single payer and neither is Lizzie Fletcher (weakest website ever for a candidate of her stature), so they're both non-starters for me before you even get to their establishment cred -- the mega-money raised, the well-connected endorsements.  Westin is apparently losing the charisma contest to everybody but Cargas and Josh Butler.  Westin is much stronger on single-payer than Moser, who uses the non-specific phrase "access to health care" on her website a little too much for my taste.  This is Beto O'Rourke's path, right down to the "healthcare is a human right" pablum.

Down With Tyranny likes Westin.  But the doctor loses me when he says things like 'a race to the left is one nobody can win', as he reportedly did in a recent candidate forum.  He describes himself as a moderate (see the WaPo link at the end of this graf) on most issues except healthcare.  That's two dogwhistles to centrist Democrats -- not to mention Sarah Davis/Joe Straus Republicans -- who wouldn't be likely to support a general election progressive, a premise which has been verifiably field-tested since 2008.  As a reminder ...

Based on data from the 2008 Cooperative Campaign Analysis Project, a YouGov survey that also interviewed respondents multiple times during the campaign, 24 percent of people who supported Clinton in the primary as of March 2008 then reported voting for McCain in the general election.

An analysis of a different 2008 survey by the political scientists Michael Henderson, Sunshine Hillygus and Trevor Thompson produced a similar estimate: 25 percent. (Unsurprisingly, Clinton voters who supported McCain were more likely to have negative views of African Americans, relative to those who supported Obama.)

For those who can't be bothered to click over, the nut graf is: two to three times as many PUMAs bagged on Obama in '08 than Sandernistas did Hillary in 2016.  I would expect nothing less in 2020 if Bernie Sanders becomes the nominee.

But that's a digression.  It's either Moser or Westin, and it may come down to a coin flip.

Update: Ivan Sanchez, formerly president of Houston Millennials, was the last to file for this race on the deadline.  Nothing on issues on his Facebook page, nor his Twitter and Instagram activity.  Should be interesting to see if he can get any traction over the next three months in such a crowded, high-profile field.

For CD-29: Hector Morales.

I've already posted about him, so I'm not "basically everyone".  This Tweet from the young schoolteacher says it all.

More to come on Lina Hidalgo, Adrian Garcia, and others.


Gadfly said...

As of a couple of days ago, I don't even have a Congresscritter filed on the Dem side in my CD. Do have a state senate candidate. No state house candidate as of yet on the D side.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the citation, PD. In light of what I posted last night, I'd like to put in a word for not voting in the primary. Abstaining would leave room for putting a valid signature on ballot-access petitions for the Green Party & independent candidates.

Although Texas is considered an open primary state, party primary elections are really for those who consider themselves members of those parties. In fact, in Texas, it constitutes party affiliation.

If you identify as a Democrat, and if you believe voting for these relatively progressive candidates will help pull the party to the left, by all means do it. While I'm not opposed to #DemEnter tactics, I won't be joining in them in '18.

PDiddie said...


I need to see some firm commitment to 2018 viability from the GPTX before I can hold my vote out of the D primary. It needs to be solid and prominent. It's true that revolutions never take place inside the castle walls, but the revolutionaries need to get their shit together before I can raise my sword with theirs.

There needs to be some housecleaning feats of strength performed this Festivus season, not just an airing of grievances. Look at what the DSA is doing, especially with millennials, and consider forming a coalition if possible. Otherwise the Green Party's relevance in Texas has, IMO, come and gone.