All posts by L. Wayne Ashley

Thanks for visiting!! My name is Wayne, and I live in Houston, Texas. I wouldn't consider myself a "diehard" liberal activist, but I definitely have a Progressive view on most issues. I'm a proud Millennial, and I feel like the voice of my generation in Texas gets overshadowed by the older, more established groups. This is my effort to change that. Please come back and read when you can.

Texas-Sized Leap: Voter Registration Approaches Presidential Year Levels, BUT…

We’ve said it before on this blog, but Texas is *not* a ‘Red State’.

Its a Non-Voting State.

If even a simple majority percentage of eligible voters in the Lone Star State actually decided to show up and vote, the political structure of Texas would look very different than it does today.  At least, that’s the theory.

So for 2018, we must ask once again. Will November 6th finally reveal a new, BLUE Texas?

We’re still not sure.  But what we do know is that Texas Voters, so far, are already bucking the trends from previous elections.  Here’s more on that from Ryan Ordmandy of KLTV News East Texas

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) – Almost 16 million Texans are registered to vote in the upcoming midterm election. East Texas elections administrators say they’ve seen a sharp increase.

“There’s definitely a lot of excitement in the air and a lot of people have gotten registered to vote,” said Todd Stallings, the Nacogdoches County elections administrator.

That excitement is state-wide. This year, the Texas secretary of state reports that almost 16 million Texans are registered to vote this fall, 1.6 million more than the previous mid-term election in 2014.

“What we’re seeing this time is a lot more like a presidential election than a midterm election,” Stallings said. “It’s pretty phenomenal for a midterm year for the numbers to be going as high as they are. We broke the record here in Nacogdoches County for our voter registration. We’ve gone from about 35,000 in 2016 to 37,000 now.”

 

It’s a significant leap for Nacogdoches County, as well as across the entire state. Per Texas Tribune reporter AlexaUra, last count saw the state’s voter registration soaring to historic heights for a Mid-Term Election. The difference in registrants actually on par with Presidential election years, like 2012.  From the Texas Secretary Of State’s Office, here’s the data…

Texas Registered Voters For Primary Season, the General Election, and the difference between them from 2000 to 2018 (the final official number for 2018 is still pending.

Like the data above, this shows the difference between voters registered during Primary season to the General Election. 2018 is clearly historic for a Mid-Term in this measure… just shy of the gains made during the 2012 Presidential Election.

In previous years, Texas has even seen the number of registered voters drop off significantly from the Presidential voting year to Mid-Terms. But 2018 looks to show an impressive gain from the 2016 count… nearly double that of the difference between 2012 and 2014.

But we’ve seen something similar before…

In 2014, Texas voter registration also surged to historic levels for a mid-term election, but then also ended with shockingly low turnout at the polls.  For leaders in the Democratic campaigns and in Battleground Texas, it was a tough lesson to learn.

So is an even more impressive number of registrants another sign of true change across the state?  Was the last minute surge due to the Kavanaugh hearings, the “Taylor Swift effect”, or some strange combination of both?

Regardless of the particular question, the answer is still the same.  Don’t wonder about itWORK FOR IT.  The time is NOW to Block Walk, phone bank, talk to your friends and family, and even people you don’t know and share with them how critically important this election will be. Let’s get these voters turned out, and bring the new Texas to bear!!

 

Wrapping Up Texas Leftist… and Something New!!

Howdy Peeps!

As you may have been able to tell, Texas Leftist has been sitting out on much of the daily developments during this campaign season. That is not for lack of interest on my part, but truly because the time has come for me to move on from the blogging format.  I’ll be posting a few more things between now and the November 6th Election, but    later this year, it will officially be time to say good bye to Texas Leftist.

BUT…

I hope that you’ll consider joining me in my next project!!  I am starting a podcast called Ingressive Voices. The podcast should be starting soon.

Thanks so much for all of the support, encouragement and many wonderful comments over the years.

— Wayne

Will ‘Respect’ Ever Matter Again?

Though the song was originally written and first performed by Otis Redding in 1965, the mega-hit Respect did not reach the top of the charts, and did not become one of the world’s greatest known anthems from his work.  It was only when the song was given a new perspective and performed by the one and only Aretha Franklin that it spoke to the hearts and minds of people across the globe.

But over 50 years later, R-E-S-P-E-C-T is in short supply these days, especially from the most senior leadership in the United States.  Whether one supports or opposes President Donald Trump, few would hold him up as a role model for how their children should behave.  No matter one’s personal opinions of Trump’s latest victim of attack, the controversial Omarosa Manigault Newman, comments like this about the former White House senior staffer should give each of us pause…

 

There used to be a line. A line we as people had to draw for ourselves, and say “This is not me. This is not acceptable. This is not the example I want to set for my kids, or for the next generation.

As the Trump era continues to erode our common values, one is left to wonder… once they’re gone, can we ever get them back?  Will Respect Ever Matter Again??

Right now in 2018, it remains an open question.

 

Sending love, prayers and respect to the one and only Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.  

 

“We all require and want respect, man or woman, black or white. It’s our basic human right.”  

– Aretha Franklin

 

 

Missing Out: Texas High Schools Way Behind On Voter Registration Mandate

Ask any teacher or principal at a Texas High School, and they can immediately tell you that in their job, they have a lot to do.  Teaching course curriculum, supervising their classrooms, meeting benchmarks, planning for the safety of their schools.  It’s a lot to contend with in most any machination.

Given that this is the case, it’s probably not a surprise that most Texas High School Administrators are paying less attention to the state laws around voting than they are the state graduation requirements.  As Ashley Lopez of KUT Austin reports, this seems to be the case for an overwhelming majority of our state’s high schools.

Roughly a third of Texas high schools have requested voter registration forms from the Texas Secretary of State’s office, a new report from the Texas Civil Rights Project finds.

Requesting forms from the state agency is the first step schools must take so they can register students to vote. Texas law requires schools to give eligible students these forms at least twice each school year.

While the percentage of schools following the law is low at 34 percent, it’s higher than what it was in 2016 – a mere 14 percent.

Researchers looked at requests for voter registration forms by high schools “from the close of voter registration for the last presidential election (October 2016) to the close of voter registration for this year’s first round primaries (February 2018).”

With 66 percent of Texas High Schools not requesting a single Voter Registration form for eligible students, the news can seem pretty bleak.  But a couple of factors can affect this particular law.  For one thing, the Texas Civil Rights Project report strongly suspects that most high schools don’t even know this law exists, as it has not been enforced in recent memory.  Because the state never talks about this law, there’s a good chance many principals do not know about it.  So putting the knowledge out there will help to recruit some school administrators that may not have previously known to comply.

But as disheartening as the news maybe, it also presents a rare opportunity.  With more than sixty days to go before the 2018 General Election Voter Registration Deadline (October 9th), parents, students, and concerned community members have the ability to inquire about these practices at their local schools.  With some careful planning and hard work, there is still time to get many more interested students access to Voter Registration Forms.

If you’re an administrator reading this post, here is the direct link to the form needed to request official Voter Registration Forms be sent to your High School.  Though we all hope the day when the Texas Secretary of State will simply send the forms to our schools and HELP our students to exercise their rights as citizens, we can still make an impact right now.

Most voting age citizens of Texas also have the ability to become Volunteer Deputy Voter Registrars, which is a great way to encourage voter registration in your community.  Many groups even organize workshops to help citizens through the process, but here are the steps to become a VDVR directly from the Texas Secretary of State website.

Texoblogosphere: Week of June 18th

The Texas Progressive Alliance strongly condemns the inhumane practice of separating families from their children as it brings you its weekly roundup.

Off the Kuff looked back at the polls from 2010 and 2014 to get a sense of where we are today.

SocraticGadfly talks about the need for third parties of the left, in the plural as necessary.

Neil at All People Have Value posted a picture of people protesting at the proposed Houston location of the baby jail for kids taken from families at the border.

After being targeted by hackers last week, Texas Leftist is dusting off, and standing by our values.  This blog is a site which will always promote diversity, inclusion and understanding.  As such, TL was happy to observe and celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid Al Fitr with our fellow Texans.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Texas Vox examines the issues of storing renewable energy in Texas.

The TSTA Blog would like to know who is going to pay for more school counselors.

Gaby Diaz wants real action on school shootings.

G. Paris Johnson explores mental health issues in the African-American community.

Therese Odell reviews the Trump/Kim bro-fest so you don’t have to.

Jessica Elizarraras notes Whataburger’s reaction to the IHOP/IHOB name change.

Eid Mubarak! Texans Mark The Close of Ramadan

(Originally posted on June 15th, hackers apparently  deleted this post over the weekend. So it is being reposted, with a very slight title change)

The state of Texas is home to a sizeable Muslim population, last officially noted at 422,000 persons during the 2010 Census.  As we approach the next Census, all estimates indicate that the Texas population has grown in significant number, with the majority of Muslim Texans living in the Greater Houston area.

Like Christianity, Judaism or any other of the world’s major religions, Islam is composed of many diverse groups and variations within the religion.  But one major observation that is common for all is the holy month of Ramadan, a month of fasting, prayer and religious traditions.  At the conclusion of Ramadan comes one of Islam’s biggest holidays, Eid Al-Fitr.  It is a joyous time where the worldwide community celebrates with family, worship and fellowship.

For Muslim Texans up and down the Gulf Coast, this also marks the first observance of Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr since Hurricane Harvey.  Many communities were affected, and some even devastated by the storm.  But just as common was the response of Texans answering the call to help those in need.  As the President of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston and former Houston City Council Member M.J. Khan said at the time, helping Houstonians in the wake of Harvey was a “total no-brainer”.   So for a host of reasons, this year’s holiday is special indeed.

U. S. Senate Candidate Beto O’Rourke, still garnering press for the completion of his trip to all 254 of the state’s counties, was also in Houston to mark Eid Festivities  with his fellow Texans.   As expected, Beto and his team live streamed on their way to the event.

To all those who celebrate, Texas Leftist wishes you a most joyous, most blessed Eid Al-Fitr.

Eid Mubarak!

A prominent Mosque in Southwest Houston, one of few in the region flanked by the two small towers, or minarets.  

 

(if you like this Texas Leftist post, please consider a donation!  Help us encourage Progressive, common sense ideals in the Lone Star State!!)

 

GOALS: Beto O’Rourke Visits all 254 Texas Counties

Texans are known for having quite a bit of pride in their state.  Most are quick to site the myriad of ways in which Texas is bigger and/or better than other areas.

While most of us know that the Lone Star State is BIG, very few of us can say that we’ve experienced the true size of Texas

But as David Yaffe-Bellany of the Texas Tribune reports, one politician just made some impressive news, and fulfilled an impressive campaign promise at the same time…

After tens of thousands of miles on the road, hundreds of town hall meetings and innumerable cups of coffee, U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke made the final stop on his much-ballyhooed tour of all 254 Texas counties on Saturday, visiting Gainesville in his continuing bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz this fall.

Over the last 15 months, O’Rourke’s county-by-county driving tour has taken him all over the state, from his hometown of El Paso on the Mexican border to Cooke County in the north, where he held a town hall on Saturday afternoon.

“Here we are in Gainesville, which, as the crow flies, might be the farthest point you can get from El Paso,” he said to laughter from a packed house in the historic Santa Fe train depot.

The tour represents more than just an expansive retail campaign across the largest state in mainland America. It also marks a dramatic deviation from the political playbook employed by the majority of Texas Democrats over the last two decades.

Running a true statewide campaign is a promise Beto O’Rourke made early on during the campaign, and as of this weekend, it is a promise kept.  The trek also marks an historic accomplishment for a statewide candidate.  Though O’Rourke and his team are not the first to have visited every Texas county during a statewide campaign, it is still a rather rare feat.  So as the first known campaign to complete such a feat in the 21st century and with copious social media documentation.

As the Tribune says, Beto’s strategy is a far cry from previous Democratic (or Republican) candidates.  Most Democrats have run their statewide campaigns by sticking to the “urban triangle” of Dallas-Ft. Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Houston with rarely a stop elsewhere.  As a result, the Democratic party has basically retreated to only these areas of the state.

But whatever the result come November, Beto O’Rourke has laid a new course which all Democrats, centrists and Progressives should be watching.  The only way to turn Texas’ political tide is to be competitive in every single county, and you can’t be competitive if you don’t show up.

Let’s hope the originality continues.

Hey Beto!!  Thanks for showing up.