Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Jones edges Moore in Alabama

It was a cliffhanger.  What allowed the Democrats to hold onto some hope was the New York Times' predictive speedometer, or needle, which consistently showed Jones prevailing even as Roy Moore held a lead of 30,000+ votes and more than 5% with two-thirds of the returns in.  Usually a race is long-called by then.  But the urban areas -- or what passes for them in the Cotton State; Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery, Selma, Tuscaloosa -- were counting more slowly, and Jones was overperforming in Trump country.

Voters in Alabama’s cities and most affluent suburbs overwhelmingly rejected Moore’s candidacy, an ominous sign for Republicans on the ballot next year in upscale districts. In Jefferson County, which includes Birmingham and some of the state’s wealthiest enclaves, Jones [...] captured more than 68 percent of the vote. And in Madison County, home to Huntsville and a large NASA facility, Mr. Jones won 57 percent of the vote.

While these Alabamians, many of them women, may have been appalled by the claims of sexual misconduct against Moore, results like these were not isolated to this race. They mirrored returns in last month’s statewide and legislative races in Virginia, a state filled with well-heeled suburbanites.

These highly educated and high-income voters, while often open to supporting Republicans, are uneasy with the hard-edged politics of President Trump and part of the reason his approval ratings are so dismal. If Republican candidates facing well-off voters next year do not find a way to separate themselves from the president, they will face a punishing midterm election next year.

I reject the premise that suburban (aka white) women rescued the Democrat.

Democrats struggled for years under President Barack Obama to turn out African-American voters in off-year elections. For Jones, robust black turnout was essential to victory. He poured resources into African-American outreach and even summoned political leaders from out of state, including Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and Deval Patrick, the former Massachusetts governor, to help in the race’s final days.

Black voters turned out in force, handing Jones a decisive lead in Alabama’s cities and predominantly black rural counties. (Again in) Jefferson County, home to Birmingham and its whiter suburbs, turnout exceeded the 2014 governor’s race by about 30 percent, and Jones nearly matched Hillary Clinton’s vote total there. Other populous, heavily African-American counties, including Montgomery and Dallas County, where Selma is, also exceeded their 2014 turnout.

Following last month’s elections in Virginia and New Jersey, when African-Americans helped vault Democrats to victories, the Alabama race is another sign that the party’s most loyal voters are fired up.

Same numbers, different view.

So are there any lessons to be learned for Texas Democrats?  Oh, perhaps 'motivate the minority vote' (in our case, both blacks and Latin@s).  I would add 'stop reflexively blaming people who won't vote for Coke or Pepsi', like this moron:

Most of those write-ins helped Jones, because they were Republicans who couldn't vote for Moore, but couldn't vote for a Democrat either.  Most importantly, Democrats might heed the words of Charles Barkley from last night.

"They've taken the black vote and the poor vote for granted for a long time. It's time for Democrats to get off their asses... This is a wake up call for Democrats to do better for black people and poor white people."

Here's something Jones, and every other Democrat I can think of, can start reforming immediately. For his part, Jones is pretty good but not great on the issues (he supports fewer regulations and a tax cut for businesses, and is mostly using the non-specific verbiage I find increasingly annoying: 'living wage' and 'healthcare a human right' without further detail.  He'll also have plenty of opportunities to demonstrate the degree to which he is "willing to reach across the aisle" *retch* over the course of the next two years.

A key part of Jones’ strategy in the past few weeks is to make clear to Alabama voters that he is willing to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans, said Jones campaign chairman Giles Perkins.

"I think a lot of the voters ... are interested in a guy like Doug that's willing to reach across the aisle and work with anybody that's got good ideas, and some of these ads communicate that," Perkins said.

That Politico link reveals that in addition to his other troubles, Moore was buried under an avalanche of teevee ads by Jones; something all the establishment politicos, consultants, and their sycophants will point to as a 'key to victory', reinforcing the current corrupt model.  As for his evaluation period, Jones is serving out the remainder of AG Jeff Sessions' term, and will have to defend the seat in 2020 (scroll to the bottom of this link, while noting the peculiar law in Alabama about how write-in votes are counted a week after election day).

What's going to be the most fun is watching the establishment Republicans and the Roypublicans tear each other to pieces.  This is the fight we have all been waiting for.

Immediately after Jones’s victory, establishment-aligned Republicans in Washington were assailing Moore and Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, as having handed a Senate seat in the reddest of red states to the Democrats.

“Not only did Steve Bannon cost us a critical Senate seat in one of the most Republican states in the country, but he also dragged the president of the United States into his fiasco,” said Steven Law, who runs a super PAC controlled by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader.

But Moore’s allies placed the blame for the loss on McConnell, who withdrew his support after the allegations first emerged that Moore had pursued teenage girls sexually or romantically.

“They colluded with the Democrats to undermine a pro-Trump candidate like Judge Moore just like they are going to try to do that in 2018 to myself and other pro-Trump candidates,” said Corey Stewart, who is challenging Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia and attended Moore’s election night party. “We’re going through a civil war in the Republican Party.”

Except there's no Abe Lincoln to save the Union this time.

Moore’s loss will only exacerbate tensions between Senate leaders and the party’s grass-roots and will probably play out in a series of House and Senate primaries in 2018. And if Republicans continue to nominate candidates who are too controversial to win general elections, the party’s internal divisions may cost them control of Congress.

From the New York Times' lips to the Flying Spaghetti Monster's ears.  Keep an eye out to see how many Lone Star GOPedophiles -- like Greg Abbott, to name one -- overplay their hand reaching out to the Jade Helm/Bathroom Bill/Trump Train Caucus in Texas.  Forcing the RPT statewides to pick a side in the Trump-or-sanity sweepstakes, as a campaign tactic, will go a long way toward helping a few Texas Democrats' chances in 2018.

Monday, December 11, 2017

More Texas Democratic progressives file for 2018

A continuation of the list begun last Wednesday.  Let's take them from 'best' to 'meh' (subject to further reveal on their part).

For Comptroller: Tim Mahoney.

From the bio on his website:

This is what the Austin Chronicle had to say about me on August 21, 2017: “He’s a Jim Hightower protégé who’s been a fixture for decades in Travis County Democratic politics and last year sued Austin Community College [ACC] (where he was once a trustee) after the administration barred Students 4 Bernie from running voter registration events and distributing political literature on campus.”

From my 6 years on the ACC Board, I can tell you that the negativity of the leading Republicans can be beaten. That power can be restored to people, but we need to focus on building local interactive relationships. Groups like Our Revolution, Left Up To Us, and the Democratic Socialists can provide the organizational mechanisms to lead the way. But building that interactive model requires all local groups to understand that building geographic relationships across the whole state is the only way that we can build the momentum to make the change that needs to be done.

[...] I was one of the chief notaries during the Texas Bernie Sanders presidential campaign petition drive, so I know something about a statewide race. We are running this campaign so we can win for Texas, and I would ask for your active support.

This is my kind of Democrat.

For Harris County Judge: Lina Hidalgo.

I'll be voting for the woman who goes to bat for immigrants and the incarcerated every single day over the corporate executive from out of state.  (I will say that her competitor is* was doing a great job cracking on Ed Emmett, though.)

*Update: Mike Nichols is out.

For TX-2: Silky Malik.

Jef Rouner of Free Press Houston (you might recall he was one of last year's Daily Jackasses) interviewed Malik recently, and honestly it reads as if he would really like to get a date with the candidate.  An apparently well-funded support base aside -- she had a campaign manager on board before Ted Poe resigned -- Malik is saying all the right (left) things.  I excerpted the following in this morning's Wrangle; it's worth repeating.

So how do you plan on turning this district blue?

There are two ways a person running for this seat can play it. The first is running a Republican-like campaign, play it close to the center. Maybe you’ll pull 20 percent of the Republican vote. Then you’re at a 50-50 toss-up. I’m definitely not that sort of person or candidate.

What we want to do is look at the largest group of voters, non-voters, and activate them. If nothing else, even if I don’t win but I get more people to give a crap about what’s going on, that’s a huge victory. It’s idealistic, but it’s very important. I think people are tired of these milquetoast candidates and why Democrats can’t win these freakin’ seats. They play it too close to the center. We’re not close to the center. We have no interest in being close to the center.

If I heard every single Democrat say that (and live it), I could consider being a Democrat again.

These next two profiles are strongly conditional to a greater fleshing-out of their stands on the issues, which I find a little thin as of this posting.

-- For Land Commissioner: Miguel Suazo.

From the Chron:
Miguel Suazo, an Austin-based energy-sector attorney who worked as an aide to former U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-New Mexico, said he will announce Friday that he is challenging Republican incumbent George P. Bush. Bush.

Suazo, 36, is the managing partner of Suazo Legal Group, a practice with locations in Texas, New Mexico and Colorado.

"I am running for Land Commissioner because I am qualified for the office and eager to bring new leadership to Texas," Suazo in a statement declaring his candidacy. "I represent small and large companies and also regular folks who need a job done. I know business and I know people ... I'm self-made, nothing's been handed to me. I intend to bring that approach to the General Land Office."

Suazo, a proponent of blockchain technology, said he may be the first candidate in Texas to launch his campaign using proceeds from Bitcoin investments.

"I am prepared to contribute money that I have earned by saving and investing, not that I got from some trust fund, and earn the rest through the grassroots support of the people of Texas by addressing issues important to Texans," he said in he statement.

More on blockchain here if you need it (and you will, sooner than later).  Blockchain and Bitcoin are symbiotic, but blockchain has many commercial uses beyond its value to the crypto-currency from which it was birthed. There's been a lot of news lately about Bitcoin as it has gone to the moon and back to Earth again in speculative worth recently; here's two articles, one somewhat positive, the other negative, that will help you understand what's up with that.

Suazo's website isn't live, he has Tweeted six times to 45 followers, his Facebook page has the Chron article and a little more, so that's what I linked to above.  This is a little weak for an endorsement.  Further, I'm not convinced that either blockchain or Bitcoin (or their disciples like Suazo) are all that progressive, but it's the future wave, and in order for the two technologies to serve the common people, they need advocates on the left.  Like Suazo.  Hopefully.

Anybody but Pee Bush (or Jerry Patterson) is the real objective here.  Those two goons will have a spirited primary refighting the Alamo siege or trying to get furthest right or whatever they do.

The same holds ...

For Harris County Commissioner: Sammy Casados.

Update: Casados also exited the race just before filing deadline, but there's a handful of others still in.  In a future post I'll screen them for progressive bonafides (or lack thereof).

They don't have to be very much left to be well to the left of former Harris sheriff Adrian Garcia.  There was never much on either Casados' website or Facebook page that told you where he stood on the issues, but he would have been hard-pressed to show up on the right of Garcia or the incumbent, Republican Jack Morman.

Garcia is not now, nor has ever been, anybody's definition of progressive.  As county sheriff he was an enthusiastic enforcer of 287(g), the directive that enabled state and local law enforcement agencies to act as front-line soldiers in the War on Immigrants.  When Garcia resigned to run for Houston mayor in 2015 and was eventually replaced by Ed Gonzalez in 2016, the new sheriff abandoned the practice, but without any noticeable change in how it was enforced.  Since Trump became president, 287(g) has been weaponized throughout the state of Texas.

Garcia also lost to Congressvarmint Gene Green last year in what turned out to be the portly neoliberal's last re-election campaign.  At publication time, Garcia's website does not load.

I'll watch Suazo and Casados pretty closely to see if he demonstrates himself to be the kind of Democrat I can or cannot ultimately vote for in March.  Today, as a block to whichever Roypublican emerges from the GOP primary, Suazo fits the bill, and like Hidalgo should motivate Latin@ turnout throughout Harris County and Texas.  That is critical to statewide Blue prospects next year.  I'm going to say it louder for those in the back: 2018 is a no-excuses year for Latino voter turnout.

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance wonders if Donald Trump has ever heard of Krampus as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff gave multiple candidate filing updates, and DBC Green Blog covered the 'looms' of the filing deadline today.

Socratic Gadfly offered his take on Trump, with egging on from top Democrats, naming Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

The actual progressive Texas Democratic candidates -- as well as the ones pretending to be -- are in PDiddie at Brains and Eggs' latest post.

Egberto Willies covered Indivisible Houston's tax protests and net neutrality protests.

Neil at All People Have Value said even if the external world is in disorder, we can still move up and up and up. APHV is part of

As Texas Leftist slowly makes an effort to get back in the saddle for 2018, he's thankful for the incredible work of all of his blogging colleagues. Before we leap into next year's political hopefuls, it's worth noting that a former Texas elected official made a big move this week. Get ready to see and hear more from Former Houston Mayor Annise Parker in 2018.

Dos Centavos is looking forward to the 2018 Democratic primary, and jobsanger has a bar graph that shows a record number of women are running for Congress in 2018.

Texas Vox suggests to Greg Abbott that Texas' part of  the Volkswagen lawsuit settlement funds -- $289 million -- be dedicated to purchasing electric vehicles for the state fleet and creating green jobs.

And the Lewisville Texan Journal passes along the details of the Texas Smooth Groove Holiday Concert, to be held there on December 22.


Amid calls for resignations, Texas Standard reports that the Texas Legislature approaches its day of reckoning over the alarming and widespread allegations of rampant sexual misconduct by lawmakers.

A raft of TPPP-bred anti-environmentalists are seizing power in the Trump administration, writes Naveena Sadasivam at the Texas Observer.

The Rivard Report has the story of Mona Patel, who sought San Antonio community services as an amputee and, finding none, built a support network for all of the Alamo City's physically-disabled.

Houston Public Media reports that John Cornyn's bipartisan-supported gun safety bill (which strengthens federal background checks) has become endangered by getting linked to the NRA-favored concealed-carry reciprocity bill.

Chuck Smith at Equality Texas breaks down the Colorado bake shop/same sex marriage case that was argued at SCOTUS.

Free Press Houston's Jef Rouner has an interview with Silky Malik, one of the Democrats running in TX-2 (to replace Ted Poe).  Excerpt:

There are two ways a person running for this seat can play it. The first is running a Republican-like campaign, play it close to the center. Maybe you’ll pull 20 percent of the Republican vote. Then you’re at a 50-50 toss-up. I’m definitely not that sort of person or candidate. 
What we want to do is look at the largest group of voters, non-voters, and activate them. If nothing else, even if I don’t win but I get more people to give a crap about what’s going on, that’s a huge victory. It’s idealistic, but it’s very important. I think people are tired of these milquetoast candidates and why Democrats can’t win these freakin’ seats. They play it too close to the center. We’re not close to the center. We have no interest in being close to the center.

Better Texas Blog explains how the Republican tax cut bill threatens local and state public services.

The Bloggess is once again spearheading a grassroots effort to help people in need for the holidays.

Zachery Taylor sees the corporate media assisting (and profiting) from the fraud of televangelism.

Pages of Victory links to Dissident Voice regarding the shake-up and shake-down of China, Saudi Arabia, and the US to explain why he cannot support our country's ensconced-politician class.

Mean Green Cougar Red tries to wrap his mind around flat earthers.

The Houston Communist Party links to the joint statement from the Communist Party of Israel and Hadash (the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality), which strongly condemns Trump's decision on Jerusalem.

And Harry Hamid thanks one of her blogging muses as a requiem, and acknowledges some of her favorite blogs.