There’s an idea floating around that I want to share with you. It may not be an electric light idea, but it’s an idea. This idea might help the Texas Democratic Party get some folks to the polls and charged up.
Now, this is long and only mildly interesting to Texas Democrats. But, if you folks from foreign states have anything to add to help us, jump right in.
In the last election, Texas Democrats did badly. Even for a party that holds no statewide offices, we embarrassed ourselves. We would not have done worse if our candidates had been caught red handed tweeting pictures of Debbie Riddle’s private parts.
The Texas Democratic Party hasn’t had any new ideas since before Elvis died. Basically, it’s hold your head down, don’t draw unnecessary attention to yourself, and hope voters think you’re a Republican. All we have stood for is election. There is no longer a core set of beliefs and a clear consistent message coming from the Texas Democratic Party.
Good Lord, take Bill White for example. He spent over ten million dollars and ended up flopping around like a catfish on a hot pier. Honey, for ten million bucks I could get elected Queen of Idaho. If I lived in Idaho. And, admittedly, was a nicer person.
The Texas Democratic Party added an old white guy on payroll to be in charge of messaging. He’s been a paid political adviser since 1969. He hasn’t had a winning message in a decade or two, so I seriously doubt that throwing more money at him is gonna help at all. And if more money does help, I’m hacked-off about the money we paid him to fail pathetically in the past.
So, there is some basic reassurance that no matter what we do, it couldn’t be worse. There is no down from where we are. We have to look up to see bottom. We keep doing the same damn thing over and over and over and we have a heaping pot of diddle squat to show for it.
So, here’s the idea: put referendums on the Democratic primary ballot.
Not world shaking, huh, but new and revolutionary for Texas Democrats.
Maybe putting referendums on the primary ballot would (1) get people interested in issues to the polls, and (2) help define what Democrats want for Texas.
For example, how about a referendum saying that we strongly reject the Ryan plan for Medicare vouchers? Or that privatizing social security is dog dump dumb?
How about a referendum to decriminalize marijuana? And we could throw in medical marijuana because it’s just the humane thing to do.
We have to let Texans know that the Dream Act is a core value of Texas Democrats. So, let’s let every Democrat who votes – the grassroots – send a message about it.
It would make me stand tall to vote for turning minimum wage into a living wage. I would feel like my voice is being heard.
Now some folks in the State Party are already loudly objecting to this. One old fella who has been around longer than Noah sarcastically tossed the idea aside by saying, “Oh great. Republicans will vote in our primary to vote on these referendums and then pick the weakest candidates.
Well, in short, no.
They have their own hotly contested primary next year. They won’t care about ours. Plus, what weak candidates are you talking about? Nick Lampson? Charlie Stenholm? Martin Frost? Aaron Pena? Chet Edwards? If we get weaker candidates than we are already getting, we might as well turn our party over to Ross Perot and Kinky Freidman because as least they’re entertaining. It seems to me that letting Ben Barnes pick our candidates by whether or not they support his corporate interests isn’t working all that dandy. Remember: this is Barnes’ take on an exciting candidate website.
Another old timer said that we don’t want to tie our candidates to radical ideas that come out of these referendums.
That hurts. No, seriously, that is painful.
Maybe, just maybe, our candidates lose because all they stand for is election. What’s wrong with standing for a woman’s right to chose? What’s wrong for standing for the middle class with fair wages for a fair day’s work? Should Democrats turn their back on a common sense drug policy or the Dream Act? Cripes, we’re not asking them to grant sainthood to Saul Alinsky. We’re asking them to be Democrats.
These referendums are designed to get young folks, older folks, labor, women, African Americans, and Hispanics to the polls. If that happens, we will get the best candidates. You can bet on it.
The people who are objecting are the same folks who said that a contested primary would tear our party apart. Bullcorn. Barack Obama would not the president today without the rigors of a contested primary. Our party’s finest hour in the past decade was the Clinton / Obama debate in Austin.
The Republicans actually spit at each other during their primaries and they win all over Texas in November.
The Democratic big tent is deflated. This is one, tiny, maybe even insignificant idea to kick start the air pump.
NOTE: If you think this is a good idea, call or email your State Democratic Executive Committee Member. The list is here.