It’s gonna take hard work

Posted in Around The Nation, Around The State, Commentary, Elections, Had Enough Yet?, Right Wing Lies, Take Action at 5:28 pm by wcnews

The only time in recent memory that a Democrat won a race for political office in Williamson County was 2008 - Diana Maldonado in HD-52 (see Winning is Fun). It didn’t come easy. For a couple of years at least, leading up to that election, Democrats in Williamson County worked hard to register new voters, and to make sure the new “likely” Democratic voters and the reliable Democrats got to the polls on election day.

What should be taken from that experience is that it takes planning (some times years), hard work, and vision to win in politics. One of the main reasons that Democrats have been unable to break out of the “funk” were in, in Texas in particular, is that Democrats have been far too slow in embrace minorities and women as the new base of the party. This from The Democratic Strategist really hit home, Dems Must Recruit More People of Color, Women Candidates.

Jamelle Bouie has an important article, “The Other Glass Ceiling” up at The American Prospect addressing the dearth of African American elected officials in the age of Obama.


Bouie stops short of exploring possible solutions, no doubt because there are not a lot of viable options available at the moment. Democrats, of course have done much better than Republicans in electing African Americans and other people of color, as well as women, to office. But there is no question that Dems have also failed to make much of an effort to achieve anything resembling proportional representation in terms of race and gender.

One thing that is needed is an active policy driven by a conscious commitment on the part of the national and state Democratic Parties to recruit, train and fund more African American, Latino and Women candidates. Some state Democratic parties do better than others, but there is enormous room for improvement everywhere.

Perhaps a special effort to recruit potential African American, Latino and women leaders from the ranks of organized labor and business would yield more viable state-wide candidates. But there has to be a real commitment to providing them with the needed financial and training resources.

One thing remains clear: The dearth of people of color and women candidates is an embarrassment to a party which bills itself as the hope of a more progressive society. All of the legitimate demographic and financial obstacles notwithstanding, Democrats must more forcefully address this issue at the national and state levels. In doing so, we just might find a pivotal asset in the struggle for a more permanent progressive majority.

Too many Democrats, (myself included), have been far too patient waiting for the demographic fairy to finally change Texas to a Democratic majority state. Well that ain’t gonna happen without hard work. From Rick Perlstein’s latest, Why Conservatives Are Still Crazy After All These Years. He writes about the fact that we’re constantly being told that conservatism collapse is coming and “the triumph of enlightenment liberalism” is just around the corner, but it never actually happens.

Here’s the problem: To this way of thinking, the triumph of enlightenment liberalism is always inevitable. Now it’s demographics that’s the inexorable force (I debunk that argument here); in the 1960s, it was the certainty that Americans would never consent to give up their big-government perks. And yet, somehow, alongside the ordinary tacking of American political preference between Democrats and Republicans, conservatism continues to thrive. That’s because power begets power: Democrats can be counted on to compromise with conservative nuttiness, and the media can be counted on to normalize it. And it’s because there will always be millions of Americans who are terrified of social progress and of dispossession from whatever slight purchase on psychological security they’ve been able to maintain in a frightening world. And because there will always be powerful economic actors for whom exploiting such fear, uncertainty and doubt pays (and pays, and pays).

Conservatism is not getting crazier, and it’s not going away, either. It’s just getting more powerful. That’s a fact that a reality-based liberal just has to accept – and, from it, draw strength for the fight.

We can no longer just sit back and wait for conservatism to collapse and the demographics to change. The only way to change our current state is by working harder then the opposition. Democrats must embrace the demographics, not be ambivalent of indifferent about it. We must start at the party and local level and have a party that reflects the new demographics in it’s leadership and candidates. And we’ve got to work much, much harder to register Democratic voters and get them to the polls on election day.

It’s no wonder that people who feel left out, and don’t see people like them running for office, don’t show up to vote on election day. Why should they show up and vote for more of the same? Whether it’s race, gender, or economic class. We must also elect representatives that believe in Democratic ideals like Social Security, Medicare, Civil Rights, a living wage, and health care for all, just to name a few. Because as Perlstein says, the alternative is not an option for progress.

Over fifteen years of studying the American right professionally — especially in their communications with each other, in their own memos and media since the 1950s — I have yet to find a truly novel development, a real innovation, in far-right “thought.” Right-wing radio hosts fingering liberal billionaires like George Soros, who use their gigantic fortunes – built by virtue of private enterprise under the Constitution – out to “socialize” the United States? 1954: Here’s a right-wing radio host fingering “gigantic fortunes, built by virtue of private enterprise under the Constitution … being used to ‘socialize’ the United States.” Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, “fed up with elitist judges” arrogantly imposing their “radically un-American views” — including judges on the Supreme Court, whose rulings he’s pledged to defy? 1958: Nine Men Against America: The Supreme Court and its Attack on American Liberties, still on sale at sovereignstates.org.

We’ve been in this situation before and gotten out of it. The only way out is for “We the people” to get involved, work hard and make it happen.

Further Reading:
Prof. Richard Wolff: We have a “failed economic system”—To fix it, we must tax the wealthy.
5 Words And Phrases Democrats Should Never Say Again.

1 Comment »

  1. Eye on Williamson » Changing tactics: NALEO enlisting Latinas to increase Latino turnout said,

    March 21, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    […] noted in a recent post one of the reasons that Democrats in Texas are struggling is because “.. Democrats have been […]

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