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The Texas Blue
Advancing Progressive Ideas

The Road to 2010: A Blue Texas or the Texas Blues?

“The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy's not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.” – Sun Tzu, "The Art of War" 6th century B.C.

Candidate filing for 2008 won’t start for another week, but optimism about winning a Democratic majority of legislative and statewide offices by 2010 has been mounting for over a year, fueled by the progress Texas Democrats made in 2006. Even more cynical observers sense that a majority of Texans may be ready to change directions and reverse the dead-end policies and corrupt cronyism that have marked Republican rule and failed to adequately address our state’s most basic needs.

Assuming Texas voters are ready for change, the question that’s still unanswered is whether or not a majority will be convinced that Democrats are offering — and can deliver — the kind of change voters want. Given the kind of effort needed to motivate and turn out a diverse Democratic base, the presence of a substantial moderate-to-conservative electorate, and the tremendous expense of statewide campaigns in a state the size of Texas, we have a lot of work to do in order to win a majority by Election Day, 2010.

In 2011, redistricting will shape a decade of public policy in Texas and the nation. The battle we fought in 2003 should have taught us that Republicans will fight to maintain control of that process as if it were war. To paraphrase Sun Tzu’s words, winning will require readiness to face the enemy and an unassailable position.

For Texas Democrats, that means we must stay focused on the fundamentals of organizing and consistent message delivery for almost three years, while avoiding the quicksand of “what if” scenarios played by pundits and armchair organizers. This war can’t be won by a modern day white hat hero riding into town for one glorious gunfight — it must be won by working day in and day out to set the stage for our candidates to win by running good campaigns.

First Things First: 2008

The 2010 elections are critical because the winners will serve in statewide executive offices and the redistricting legislature, but first and foremost, Democrats have to continue making progress in 2008. It’s easy to get caught up in presidential primary politics this year, and working for a favorite candidate is proper, but Texas Democrats can’t let presidential scenarios dictate activity for twelve months, because we have a lot of “home work” to do before a Democrat is inaugurated on January 20, 2009.

One sure thing about a presidential election is that new voters, and more voters, will go to the polls compared to “off year” elections. In 2008, it’s almost certain there won’t be a Texan on either ticket, and we probably won’t be a presidential battleground state. With that aside, we must focus on getting presidential voters to vote Democratic up and down the ticket this year and getting them back to vote in 2010, because their votes could make the difference for statewide candidates and the legislative candidates who must win to regain a state House majority and pick up a seat or two in the Texas Senate.

Every method available, from door to door canvassing to polling, can be used to identify likely progressive and Democratic voters and match that information to our voter file to help candidates and organizers communicate more effectively with voters. Not only do we need to continue making electoral progress in 2008, we need to use 2008 to identify voters and build coalitions that will make the winning difference in 2010.

Organizing and Message Delivery for the Long Run

Who will make up a new Texas majority? Democrats look to Texans who believe our state should invest enough in our children’s schools to stop the exodus of good teachers, who believe it’s unacceptable to have a million young Texans without health care coverage, who have had enough of high utility bills, polluted air and water, and global warming, who can’t afford unchecked college tuition and tax “relief” that favors contributors and cronies over homeowners and small businesses.

Texans who share these sentiments will join our effort to elect a new Democratic majority, provided we communicate clearly that these problems are the result of Republican neglect and corruption that dictated their failed agenda. When that failure is contrasted with Democratic alternatives offered by our legislators, Members of Congress and surrogates, we can set the message table for 2010 long before our nominees are known. We may not have the media access provided statewide officeholders, but by working together, we can get our message in print, on the air, and on line.

Although campaigns and political parties typically have separate field and communications operations, they are linked at the heart of any successful political operation. Texas Democrats have made great strides in both organizing and message delivery because we have people working at those tasks every day.

We must continue training organizers and bringing more Democrats into party and campaign efforts. We may find like minded Texans in non-partisan organizations, on line, or in line at the polls, and wherever we find them, we must keep them involved for the long run. As we move toward 2010, it’s important to sustain that focus and not become distracted by the inevitable crisis of the moment.

Avoiding the “What if” Quicksand

Whether it’s TV talking heads, print media or the blog world, our celebrity culture has bred a form of communication that substitutes opinion for substance and allows self serving scenarios to displace the kind of constructive dialogue needed to solve real problems. Voters who are looking for solutions have grown skeptical of all politicians, and if we want to win the voters’ trust, we have to earn it by getting real.

It’s easy to talk and write about “what if it’s Hillary or Edwards or Barack,” “what if Kay runs or Bill White runs,” or “what if Perry kisses Rudy when he’s wearing a dress.” You name it and someone will comment on it, and there’s nothing wrong with a little speculation as long as that’s not all we do.

Absent the real work of organizing and message delivery needed to “make our position unassailable,” paying too much attention to “what if” scenarios becomes a lazy bed of quicksand that swallows our time, our focus and our ability to win. Instead of personal potshots and “what if’s” about candidates and would-be nominees, we’ll be better served by talking about how electing Democrats will improve our schools, provide access to health care, and enact environmental policy that just may save the planet. After all, we should expect no less from a government of the people.

...Neither Money nor Victories Grow on Trees

Sustaining a party-building effort for three years can’t be done for free. Effective organizing and message delivery, and the progress we made in 2006, are earning the confidence of large and small donors. But fundraising also requires planning and constant attention, and every organizer, officeholder and messenger can help raise money.

Someday we may be able to pick money from a forest of Democratic donor trees, but only after working to plant the seeds of success and nourish a political and fundraising effort with determination, dedication, and imagination. There’s no shortcut to building a donor base, and delivering real change isn’t a brainstorm that ends with 15 minutes of fame. Our challenge is laying a foundation for winning a majority that can deliver the change voters are seeking.

For a lot of people, our winning in 2008 and 2010 is about their family’s ability to see a doctor, have good teachers, or pay the utility bill to cool their home in summer. In 2010, the outcome could shape such policy for a decade. For that reason alone, we all have work to do.

The road to VICTORY !

I couldn't be more different from Karl Rove in ideology, but IMHO if he was proven right in anything, it was in his belief that the way to beat an opponent was to attack that opponents strongest point. When I suggest that the way to beat the Republican Party is to attack its claim to moral and/or religious superiority, most people dismiss me as the most naive nutcase they have ever heard of.

But I have many supporters, as well, as you may see by checking out http://LiberalsLikeChrist.Org/testimonials.html . If people here want to look at the feasibility of knocking the G.O.P. off of its holy pedestal, then I'll be happy to spend some time here sharing my ideas.

Rev. Ray Dubuque, creator of
http://www.JesusNoRepublican.Org/ which shows why Jesus would abhor
today's Republican Party, &
http://www.LiberalsLikeChrist.Org/ which shows why Liberal Democrats are
more like Christ than are Conservative

Democrats should have a land slide victory !

Jorge Boosh has alienated so many of his base and countless independents, that he has "almost" single handedly giving his office and the control of Congress to the Democrats. Unfortunately, the Democratically controlled Congress has a lower approval rating then the President.

One issue is hurting Democrats. It's Comprehensive Immigration Reform. This issue will play an important role in the 2008 election.

Illegal immigration isn't hurting the Republicans but rather the Democrats.
According to The Politico, the special election won by the Republicans in Ohio despite all the heavy hitters brought in by the Democrats and the money spent to take what had been a safe Republican seat, turned on a strong message by Bob Latta against illegal immigration.

It’s hard to imagine a more miserable political climate for Republicans — hurting nationally because of the unpopularity of President Bush and the Iraq war, and even more in Ohio because of the economy and local factors that have knocked the GOP out of the Governor’s office and several other key state offices. The new Democratic Governor is enjoying favorable ratings.

But Latta, running in a special election for a suburban Toledo-based House district, crafted a message — echoed by party officials — that bashed illegal immigrants who live here, drive here or get government-funded health care. Ohio, isn't even a (southern) border state.

He won by 14 points. Democrats and Republicans alike credit the immigration message for the big margin.

It’s already clear this result is no anomaly. For all the commentary about immigration, the full depth of the issue has yet to sink in to most of this year’s election analysis. Simply put: No other issue has ricocheted with more unpredictable impact across more races at more levels.

Additionally, since the federal govt. has lacked the will to enforce immigration laws, various states have stepped up enforcement. It's yet to be determined if these state laws are over turned, but noting has stopped them yet.

In the state of OK a second rejection has been handed down by the Federal Court on the lawsuit against Oklahoma's immigration enforcement bill- HB 1804. The reasoning behind the decision could turn out the be HUGE:

This is an important decision! Judge Payne “recognizes a new, and narrow, prudential limitation on standing” as it applies to ILLEGAL aliens. (Read pages 14 through 16 of the decision: )

Judge Payne states: “This Court is convinced that the proper remedy for the injuries alleged by the remaining Plaintiffs—all of whom are in willing violation of federal immigration law—is not judicial intervention, rather, it is simple compliance with federal immigration law. Therefore, the Court must prudentially decline to recognize standing on the part of these plaintiffs.“

Judge Payne concludes with this important ruling on “standing”; “The Court, therefore, recognizes a new, and narrow, prudential limitation on standing. An illegal alien, in willful violation of federal immigration law, is without standing to challenge the constitutionality of a state law, when compliance with federal law would absolve the illegal alien’s constitutional dilemma—particularly when the challenged state law was enacted to discourage violation of the federal immigration law. In recognizing this narrow prudential limitation on standing, the Court does not shirk its responsibility to pass on the constitutionality of a law when properly called to do so, the Court just requires that the call come from a plaintiff not in unabashed violation of federal law."

IMO, it’s important to remember, the American people truly recognize immigrants as an asset. They obey our laws. They deserve our respect and support. However, it’s becoming more evident illegal immigrants or undocumented immigrants are not welcome. The American people are making this distinction, even though leaders of both parties are not.

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