Thursday, February 27, 2020

The state of the #TXSen Democratic Primary

It's a crine-ass shame that our corporate media not only picks their favorite candidates, to the exclusion (read: blackout) of all others, but then refuses to perform the due diligence to learn, and disclose, that one of their favorites is laden with heavy, reeking baggage.

I'll get to that in just a moment.  Let me open with the premise (you're welcome to disagree) that Bernie Sanders is going to be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.  There is, unsurprisingly, major fuckery afoot to stop that from happening.  Again, whether efforts to subvert democracy by the Democratic Party establishment succeed or fail is -- or for now, will be -- a conversation for another day.

Today we'll start with the postulate above.  And if you buy that, then ...

Despite my longtime denigration of polls and polling, I tend to place more faith in the pseudo-science as Election Day draws closer ... despite the outcome of the presidential election in 2016 defying even the prognostications of the once-mighty Nate Silver.  (Hey, I believed him and them too.)

So Bernie's on a roll; he'll emerge next Wednesday morning with a bushel full of delegates; his various challengers are in assorted stages of disarray, and only some treachery is going to stop his nomination.  And with those circumstances, and with the Senate in desperate need of flipping blue so as to enact his sweeping reforms ... why is a Libertarian who voted in the GOP primary in 2016 and a self-confessed gun nut -- she stands for everything Beto O'Rourke fought against ...

... leading a dozen candidates by a mile in the race to replace John Cornyn?  The strength of her campaign seems to be, as it was in 2018 when she ran for Congress against John Carter, based on her military service.  Oh, and she also rides a motorcycle.

If you believe what the so-called smart people in Texas politics say, MJ Hegar will be followed into the runoff by a man or a person of color, and that sounds a lot like Royce West, the Dallas state senator with a long service history, many endorsements from his peers in the Lege, and a proud record of Democratic conservatism that Texas Donks are renowned for.  (Once upon a time, before they were called Blue Dogs, they were Boll Weevils, Reagan Democrats, Goldwater Democrats, Shivercrats, and other less-flattering monikers, but back then they were also all Kluckers.  Far be it from me to suggest that an African American conservaDem be classified with white racists.)

Hegar and West don't support Medicare for All, don't support the Green New Deal, but do support a host of middling half-measures and corporate centrist views that have been demonstrable failures in the Senate by Democrats of their stripe for many, many years.  A new generation of Texans needs new blood and fresh thinking.  These two ain't it.

Chris Bell, as I have blogged and Tweeted a thousand times, is a horse's ass of a different color.  He boasts of being progressive, but endorsed Bill King over Sylvester Turner in the 2015 mayor's race in which he failed to make the runoff.  That's not progressive (though to be fair, he might have told the truth if he'd simply amended his declaration of being "the most progressive in the race" to "the most progressive between King and Turner", although that's not much better).

And we know that Bell couldn't beat Rick Perry in 2006 in a four-person race for governor, losing votes to Kinky Friedman (not progressive) and Carole "Grandma" Keeton Rylander Strayhorn (also not progressive).  This is supposed to tell us, inexorably, that progressives can't win in Texas.  So sayeth the paid political class, pundits, and what have you.  We also know ad nauseum that Lone Star Dems have run nearly no one but conservaDems -- there have been a couple of exceptions -- and lost every statewide race since the mid-90's.

And then along came Beto O'Rourke in 2018.  Without digressing too much, Beto's shooting star has turned into a small meteor falling in the barren West Texas desert.  His close loss to Ted Cruz 1.5 years ago, his flameout in the White House sweepstakes last November, and his heavy bet on a longshot bid to flip a statehouse seat in Fort Bend County last month give him the look of a flash in the pan, in fact.  He's avoided making an endorsement here, though one candidate has staffed her campaign full of Beto alumni.

Amanda Edwards, the former at-large Houston city council member who is the fourth "favorite" in the race, has the solid pedigree and the consultant-speak down pat.  She's gotten some late media assistance, probably too late, but maybe the Black woman vote is undersampled in the polls and she sneaks into the runoff.  Does "Moderate Millennial" bang anybody's shutters?

That brings us to Cubic Zirconia "More Mexican/Good Stock", aka Christine Costello, aka Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez.  As the nickname I've given her implies, she has considerably less worth than what you might see at first glance.  Not for lack of promotion by the Texas Tribune and their CEO and co-founder Evan A. Smith, that's for sure.

So in the absence of any good journalism, you should read all the way through John's thread.

It's ten Tweets, with a few links and some video and audio.   CTzR has not responded, as best as I can determine, to any of the allegations above.  She and Hegar have recently squabbled over a few things, so it's not like Ms. Tzintzún Ramirez plays the "lalala I can't hear you" game.

John G and me are biased, of course.  He works on Sema Hernandez's campaign and I've been a supporter, financial and social media and otherwise, since her run against Beto in 2018, where she got a fourth of the primary vote, winning several counties.

Despite that, she was dismissed by Smith at the TexTrib (according to Hernandez.  Smith has not responded to the allegation below).

The voters in the Texas Democratic primary are currently in the process of rendering a verdict on the viability of Hernandez's candidacy, but I do not think the seriousness of it has ever been -- or should have been -- in question.  And in any case, Evan Smith would not be the judge of who is or isn't a serious candidate, no matter how deep our democracy has sunk into oligarchy.

So if any of this is something you'd like to have a say in, at the ballot box, between now and next Tuesday evening, please go to it.  As a reminder:

See you at the polling place.

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