The Democratic Presidential primary season that started so long ago may come to an end in three days. It is all up to Williamson county Democrats, the very same ones who for a generation have been discounted, rejected and shut out of government. Tuesday we have a chance to slam the door on the past and push Barack Obama one step closer to the Oval Office.
Over the past ten years, Williamson and other suburban counties have been climbing the rankings of Texas counties’ Democratic performance. Ten years ago, Williamson ranked 231st out of 254 counties in delivering votes for the Democrat at the top of the ticket. In 2000, we inched up to 215th. In 2002, we languished at 216th.
Our rise to prominence in the state really took off in 2004 when we climbed 180 places to 36th. Two years ago, we shot up to 18th. Based on the early voting patterns, there is a chance that Williamson will join Travis county as the best performing counties in Texas for Democrats.
The other suburban counties (Fort Bend, Collin and Hays) have had similar meteoric rises. Once the bedrock of Republican hegemony over the state politics, suburbia has broken heavily for Democrats. The reason is simple: middle class families have been harmed by the economic policies of the Republicans. Our children have been left behind under Republican control of our schools. Our jobs have been shipped overseas and those that haven’t have suffered stagnant wages.
Middle class Americans did well under the leadership of Bill Clinton in the 1990s; however, this campaign has shown us their divisiveness and old-style political strongarming.
Eye On Williamson strongly endorses Barack Obama for President because he has remained an inspiring and unifying presence on the campaign trail. His outspoken opposition to the Authorization to Use Military Force against Iraq in 2002 was the right call. His emphasis on government transparency and accountability has cast a spotlight on the influence of powerful lobbyists, and exposed earmarks and backroom deals with well-connected contractors.
Our Republican neighbors have been inspired by Barack Obama also. Nearly one-sixth of the Democratic early voters in Williamson county have some history of voting in the Republican primaries. Huge numbers of independents, those with no history of voting in the primaries, flocked to the Democratic party primary. Sampling has shown that a majority of these Republicans and Independents hold a favorable opinion of Barack Obama and feel he represents the best of America’s promise.
The size and potency of the Obama movement can be directly measured in the unprecedented numbers of first-time, small donors. As of this moment more than one million people have contributed to Obama’s campaign, an achievement that makes him the one candidate who really is beholden to the people, because no Washington lobbyists have bankrolled his campaign.
Under a President Obama, the United States will be able to reunify and heal the divisive wounds of the past. We can begin to address the daunting challenges of climate change, health care, Social Security solvency and a return to a place of leadership on the world’s diplomatic stage.
For the first time in many years, Americans can look to the future with optimism. It truly is change we can believe in. Join us in supporting, voting for and caucusing with Barack Obama.