Saturday, October 31, 2020

Why Is The Texas Democratic Party So Much More Effective Than The Florida Democratic Party?



West Texas' 11th and 13th congressional districts are the reddest in the state and 2 of the reddest districts in America, respectively R+32 and R+33. Although Obama inched over 20% in each in 2008, he sunk down below 20% in 2012 and in 2016 TX-11 voters gave Hillary 19.1% and TX-13 voters gave her 16.9%, the lowest and second lowest in the state. In Florida, the worst Hillary did anywhere was in Matt Gaetz's panhandle district (basically Alabama) where FL-01 (R+22) voters gave Hillary 28.2%.

The Democratic Party in Texas has a plan and so does the Democratic Party of Florida. Florida's plan is to ignore even relatively easy Republican districts-- like FL-25, where Trump only won by less than 2 points: 49.7% to 47.9% (with a PVI of R+4). They-- and their brilliant compatriots at the DCCC-- didn't bother to recruit a candidate to run for Congress and the Florida party has gone on the biggest attack campaign against anyone in the state in a legislative district within FL-25-- but against a Democrat, Bob Lynch, who they are claiming is a racist-- he isn't but the Florida Democratic Party is so aggressively stupid that they can't figure out the difference between racist and anti-racist. They were angry because Lynch was calling them out for their systemic racism and because he was calling them out for financial fraud as well.

In contrast, the plan in Texas includes working for every vote in every district and trying to win the state for Biden. Statewide, Texas' PVI is R+8. Florida's is R+2. If the whole Florida Democratic Party went for a picnic in the Everglades and they were all devoured by alligators, the PVI would probably instantly turn into D+2.

Writing for Politico yesterday, Will Ford reported that "For years, Democratic orthodoxy has maintained that flipping Texas Democratic in statewide races... means increasing turnout in urban areas and swing suburbs. But that strategy alone hasn’t worked yet-- even as favorable demographic changes, especially in urban areas, suburbs, and now even exurbs, have put the state in play. Now [there is] an effort by Democrats to broaden their strategy by targeting the most Republican areas of the state as well. If they can boost Democratic support in places like Odessa just slightly, then, together with the unprecedented early vote surge in cities, Democrats think they might finally get enough votes to flip the state. It’s not about winning in these deep-red counties and districts-- it’s about cutting into Republican margins, no matter how large."

It isn't that tough of a concept to understand and this cycle, when they realized the Florida Democratic Party doesn't have the collective brain power to figure it out, Janelle Christensen from the state Environmental Caucus and Fergie Reid from 90For90, took it upon themselves to recruit candidates in every open legislative seat in the state. The state party was so grateful that they gave them medals. Just kidding. The state party was furious and hampered their efforts every step of the way, even threatening and intimidating Democratic candidates, insisting they drop out of the race.
“To win statewide in Texas, we believe Democrats must continue to win the large urban counties, run close or win the exurban counties and reduce the big Republican advantages in rural areas and in small towns, at least marginally,” said Matt Angle, a founder of The Lone Star Project, a PAC that consults on Democratic political work statewide. “In 2018 Beto O’Rourke met and slightly exceeded the votes we thought he needed in urban and suburban counties. However, Cruz was able to run up the score to such an extent in the small towns and rural markets that he saved his seat in the Senate.”

Before November 3rd, it’s impossible to know whether Republican margins will remain high enough in areas like Odessa to save Texas for Republicans. Early turnout has surged across the state to such historic levels that the country’s best forecasters aren’t entirely sure how to model these new voters, especially without party registration data. Cook recently moved the race to a tossup, however, and Republicans seemed be to sensing this danger as well. In Odessa, gazing at the city map from his desk in September, Logan observed that Republicans seemed to be working harder than usual in the deep red district. “The Republicans have bought $405,000 of ads in the district. Normally they don’t buy media here. They never had to—they just relied on the county party. That tells me they’re worried.”

...For decades, motivated Democrats in West Texas have wished for more attention, resources and public engagement from Democratic Party higher ups, at both the state and national levels, but those party leaders have often balked at pumping more dollars and energy into the region, especially when many Democrats there feel so outnumbered they don’t even bother to vote or organize. Higher powers tend to ask for proof of progress first. It’s hard to make progress, though, without resources and attention in the first place-- a Catch-22 that has long plagued Democratic organizers in the region.

This pattern was finally interrupted by Beto O’Rourke’s 2018 Senate campaign. As a Democrat running a statewide, he did something revolutionary: He campaigned in every county in the state, including West Texas, where his performance helped convince party leaders and activists that caring about those counties could actually make a difference. In Lubbock, the largest city in West Texas outside of El Paso, which is often spoken of as a separate entity, O’Rourke received 35 percent of the vote, compared to Clinton’s 28 percent just two years earlier. He also shaved margins in Ector County, earning just over 30 percent, compared to Clinton’s 28—marginal increases that were seen elsewhere in small towns. These numbers were also far better than the 2014 senate race, in which Democratic candidate David Alameel received just 15 percent of the vote in Ector and 19 percent in Lubbock.

...When asked about his decision to embrace the state’s reddest areas, O’Rourke frequently credits Stuart Williams, the state party’s lone field organizer in West Texas, based out of Lubbock. Williams, who has worked in Democratic politics in the area since he was a teenager, starting as a precinct chair, is revered by West Texas Democratic organizers... O’Rourke first met Williams in Lubbock in January 2017, on a tour through the state months before he declared his candidacy. When the congressman asked Williams what the campaign needed to do in West Texas, Williams had a simple reply: “Y’all got to show up!”

...But when I asked whether he received pushback against this strategy in Democratic circles, he almost laughed. “Tons. They all said ‘your vote’s in Houston and the cities.’” West Texan voters were equally surprised: O’Rourke said some voters in West Texas told him they hadn’t seen a statewide Democratic candidate visit since LBJ.

...In Lubbock, Williams saw that O’Rourke was able to capitalize on an increase in Democratic organizing energy following Trump’s election. Activists had started reaching out to him locally, to see how they could help, and Williams ran successfully for county chair. “I can tell you without equivocation, that when I saw people move toward getting more involved … who changed the game in rural areas was Donald Trump,” said Williams. “Rural people aren’t stupid. The president becomes more of a liability every day.”

...With O’Rourke’s performance in West Texas as proof of concept, higher powers in the Democratic Party have began to at least turn their heads towards the deepest red areas of Texas. “We have thousands of precinct captains in rural areas across the state, more state county chairs than ever before,” Abhi Rahman, the state party’s communications director, told me. “We’re putting a thousand field organizers and canvassers across the state, including in many rural areas, and we’ve invested significantly in our rural programs, where we aim to keep the margin down in rural areas so we can flip the state in November. We also set a goal of engaging 100,000 more rural voters, which would be a 5 percent rural turnout increase in 2020.” ... The TDP is doing tons more work in rural areas than it did in 2016. There really is no baseline to compare this effort to.
They could compare it to the FDP. If nothing else, it will make them feel great. Bob Lynch is running for the state House in a Miami-Dade swing district held by one of the GOP's most powerful members, Dan Perez. The Florida state party has not only done nothing to help Lynch, they have attacked him viciously and done everything they could to make sure their pal Perez keeps the seat. This morning, Lynch told me that "If there was ever a time to go on a full all out offensive, this was the year. We are the Covid Capital of the US, we have a historically unpopular Governor who has hitched his wagon to a historically unpopular president and we are going into redistricting as a result of the census."

Lynch further noted that "Democrats in Texas and Georgia have figured this out; why haven’t we in Florida? The answer is simple. The people in power, like Gary Farmer and Joe Geller, have cushy gigs in the minority and don’t want to upset their Republican bosses. It is despicable and people are dying as a result. The state of Florida is a business and everything is for sale. Politicians, the media, you name it. Florida and Miami-Dade Dems are more interested in making sure their consultants get paid than getting candidates elected. There needs to be a full audit of the Florida Dems once this election is over. Where did all of this money go?"

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At 9:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

more effective? debatable.

but TX used to have a democratic background until voting and civil rights. even then, they elected an entertaining democratic governor, Ann Richards.
They also have a persistent left that, while in the majority, refused to go away quietly. I'm thinking of the likes of Ivins and Hightower, et al.
And they have Austin and, to a bit of a lesser extent, San Antonio, where leftys can thrive.

But they also have oil, the horrid DFW megalopolis, Houston and many other libertarian to nazi hellholes. And the thing is those hellholes all vote.

retarded, even for flora, like louis gomert and fascists/nazis like cornyn and cruz are NOT aberrations in TX.

If anything, a neoliberal fascist masquerading as a democrap, beto, is the aberration these days.

If I had to guess why the 'party' is better in TX, I'd guess it's because that persistent left minority there has some green to lay on it. I don't know about FL.

At 9:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

persistent left, while in the MINORITY. correction.

At 12:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Texas blue wave = Bernie's 2016 campaign organizers + Beto's 18 month tour of the state beginning in 2017 + suburban disgust with Trump and changing demographics + $80 million in fundraising thanks in part to to Cruz's utterly repellant personality + Texans themselves doing the work. If Beto had to run again, he would probably be the next Texas Senator. Originally, I was kind of enthusiastic about the Beto run in 2018, not just because of how he was campaigning -- effectively helping to build community and connect people across the state -- but because he was also running on single payer. Unfortunately, he abandoned the commitment once he got the party nomination. This for me is a big litmus test. His presidential run was an embarassment and a farce. It's good, however, that some positive legacy is likely to persist beyond the 2018 campaign. A lot of political campaigns dump money into paid media -- Beto's campaign actually built something and gave structure and positive direction to the energy that came out of Trump's election in 2016. Hopefully this year is finally a breakthrough.

At 6:05 AM, Blogger Ronnie Goodson said...

Florida has a long history of corruption both in the business sphere and the political sphere. It is hardly surprising that the state Democratic Party is also corrupt and entrenched Wealth plays the biggest role in this corruption.

At 7:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When it comes to corruption, no state can touch TX. The US congress learned how to do corruption from all the texans that got sent there. names like delay, stockman, McCaul, gramm... so many others.


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