Wednesday, December 11, 2019

To 2020 and beyond (and back again)

The March 2020 primary ballots are set, barring a couple of past-the-post changes.  There will be a Green slate of statewides and more, eventually.  Kuffy's handling the deep Donkey dive and Stacey's endorsing his friends as usual, so I'll focus on the fun.  We have one more election here in H-Town to conclude this year, and here's the relevant data point on early turnout.

Early voting in Houston’s runoff elections ended Tuesday with 115,204 ballots cast in Harris County, producing a higher turnout than the first round despite two fewer days to visit the polls.

Keir Murray points out that the H- Town electorate is, demographically if not almost precisely, the same good citizens who voted last month (visit the Tweet thread for the comparison).

It's remarkable how closely this matches this morning's fresh poll.  And as we know, these/those folks nearly put Mayor Sly back in without this pesky runoff, gave the purplish District C two Democrats to choose from (see below), and will -- hopefully -- sweep out the Kubosh/Dolcefino/Dick conservo-trash from Council's At Large seats.

I'm not going to spend my holiday Saturday evening refreshing for late-arriving election returns, and I may not even Tweet much about them depending on the quantity of alcohol imbibed.  Likewise I encourage you to go forth and make merry this weekend, and check your favorite source for the final results on Sunday morning.

Onward to the new decade.

There will be amusing developments on the right, and far right, and extremely far right (and fascist right and OMG GOP WTF right) in this snapshot, as I bounce around from city council to the statehouse, Congressional, county commissioner, and time-travel to the past and then back to the present day.  So if this post reads disjointedly ... well, strap in and enjoy the ride.

Update: For the record, I posted here in advance of Hooks, so if anybody took inspiration from somewhere, it was him from me.

It is my belief that the further starboard the conservatives move, so go the Donks in trying to appeal to the so-called centrists, which at this point are essentially Republicans who tolerate gays and abortion.  I'm so old I can remember the phrase "I'm a social liberal and a fiscal conservative".  The GOP-ers who allegedly gave a large, steaming shit about federal government deficit spending, i.e. the Tea Party, seem to have gone extinct.

Now you might prefer to call these folks 'ticket-splitters', because what they believe and who they vote for may not be in perfect alignment.  Here's some evidence.

Hillary Republicans in west Houston just couldn't stretch to Jenifer Rene Pool four years ago.  Likewise in 2018 for Beto/Dan Crenshaw voters.  (Crenshaw has drawn a better D challenger than 2018's inept Todd Litton, but EyePatch's heavy national following thanks to his SNL appearance makes him a more formidable obstacle.)  With respect to Harris County Precinct 3, and evolving electorate aside, it may be an easier flip if next spring's primaries give us a fall match between, say, Brenda Stardig and Kristi Thibault or Morris Overstreet.  We'll wait and see.

The African American dynamic in the Democratic primary should prove captivating.

-- Jerry Davis v. Harold Dutton (HD-142)
-- Jolanda Jones v. Ann Bennett (Harris County Tax Assessor/Collector)
-- Ashton Woods v. Shawn Thierry (HD-146)

It isn't quite accurate to describe these races as 'progressive challengers to (slightly more) conservative incumbents'.  Of the three, Dutton is the most endangered.

Manny Fernandez for the New York Times profiled Dutton and his quandary.  <<-- This is the best read in this post, particularly for those who have missed the controversy.

I made no recommendations on whom to vote for in HISD races in 2019 because of the state's imminent takeover.  I don't have children or grandchildren in the school system; my expectation for these representatives of the public trust is that their decision-making, such as spending taxpayer money, won't be crooked or stupid.  That very low bar has rarely been cleared.  So I really have no idea as to whether Greg Abbott's appointees will do any better, but despite our governor's own long-standing reputation for rock-bottom ethical conduct, it seems difficult to project that he/they might do worse.  Some of us understand that Abbott is dippin' in the koolaid that he doesn't know the flavor, and it's a crine-ass shame that he gets the chance to do so.  HISD is an uber-clusterf, and Dutton is likely to be the fall guy for it.  And probably not the last one.

I got a lot more but let me stop with two HTX city council runoff races that get decided this Saturday.  First, from nonsequiteuse.  She mad again, y'all.

I get it, Andrea, but I just see it more as a distinction without much of a difference than you.  And I actually prefer Abbie Kamin's position on guns more than I do Shelley Kennedy's.  It's not cool that Kennedy called Kamin's stance "leftist" and "wants to take away" guns, for sure.  And donating to Bill King smells bad too, although there are a lot of voters who think Sylvester Turner is nothing but the lesser of two evils *raises hand*.

This contest has the Democratic establishment and progressive organizations split all over, with Kennedy claiming, as nonseq has noted, a good bit of conservative support.  Kennedy got my recommendation to District C's voters due to her closer-to-the-people grassroots effort, including some activist Democrats I respect.  That's compared with Kamin's large fundraising apparatus and establishment backing, something I find myself increasingly leery of.  I don't see any losers here; Kamin will make a fine CM if she prevails.

And if hindsight from four years in the future reveals I made the wrong call here, then I probably made a bigger mistake endorsing Edward Pollard over Sandra Rodriguez, based on his bragging about being a conservative Democrat.  I hate that shit.

Pollard pushes a centrist message -- “That pothole could care less whether you’re a Democrat or Republican” -- and touts endorsements from the Houston Police Officers Union, business groups like the Houston Realty Breakfast Coalition and industry groups representing city contractors, engineers and Realtors.


Rodriguez stresses the need to engage new immigrants and improve the district’s poor civic engagement, and is backed by SEIU Texas and other labor groups, the Texas Organizing Project, the Houston GLBT Political Caucus, and a host of Democratic politicians at the federal, state and local level.

“I just want to do the work. I’ve been doing the work for 20 years, I enjoy what I do, and if this will help me push policies and move our district forward in Southwest Houston, to change the image -- because you hear Sharpstown, Gulfton, Westwood, you think crime, you think prostitution, all the negativity -- if this will help me serve the district, then I’ll run. That was the ultimate decision-maker.”
She's exactly the kind of candidate I like, and Pollard, as it turns out, is not.  Let this be a lesson to me that more due diligence is necessary over the course of the next 90 or so days.  If you still can in District J, vote for Ms. Rodriguez.  Mea maxima culpa.

And do vote, please.  There is evidence it does your body good.

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