Tag Archives: 2012 Election

Operation Think Swing Texas

As Emily Cadik noted in a recent Burnt Orange Report article, Texas doesn’t vote. For the 2010 mid-term elections, the state of Texas had voter turnout of 36.1 percent… dead last in the nation. 2008 was better at 56.1 percent (as is expected for a Presidential election), but that still only ranked at 45th out of 50 in the US.

This isn’t exclusively a “big state” problem. Voter turnout in California is soaring, while New York in 2010 was one of the states lower than Texas. All three states also had Gubernatorial elections at the same time.

This also isn’t exclusively a “red state” problem. Some reliably Conservative states like Mississippi have consistently higher turnout than Texas, though it’s still below the national average.

Voter turnout is a Texas problem. Our voters are disengaged, and misinformed. As long as state campaigns and interest groups practice “uncertainty politics” it will continue to be this way. Besides voter apathy, Texans are plagued by signs that misdirect people to false voting locations, and incorrect times and dates of where to vote. And yes the current legal brawl over voter suppression makes the confusion this year higher than ever.

But just imagine if those voters were more informed and more engaged? Texas would easily be a swing state the like of which the US hasn’t seen. As Nathan Pippenger states in his recent article from The New Republic, Texas isn’t on the radar as a swing state. But Democrats, with all of their challenges can make this happen in 2012. Here’s my plan of how to turn Texas into a swing state.

Go micro.

Texas is huge, but when it comes to elections, it’s not as big as you think. 8 million Texans voted in the 2008 election, representing all 254 of the state’s counties. But as of the 2010 census, over half of all Texans live in just 13 of these counties, concentrated around the major urban areas. 12 of the 13 were “in play” for Democrats in 2008.


2008 also saw a huge sea change in the state. Some counties went so heavily for Obama that they can now be considered “reliably Democrat-leaning”… El Paso, Travis (Austin), Dallas, Webb, Hidalgo and Cameron… along with other portions of the Rio Grande Valley. Let’s consider these counties as Tier 1 targets for Texas Democrats. Gains made in the 2008 election should be kept and defended. We should be making sure democratic candidates are well-represented in the local media markets, signs and volunteers. It’s critical that these counties remain in the blue category not only for 2012, but to strengthen current networking for future elections.

Tier 2 we’ll consider these “swing” counties. These flipped to vote for Obama by a smaller margin such as Harris (Houston), Jefferson (Beaumont) or Bexar (San Antonio). But you can also consider other counties that held for McCain, but by a rapidly decreasing margin… Hays, Fort Bend, Williamson and Nueces (Corpus Christi). Texas Democrats should work hard to keep Harris county in the blue and try to flip Hays, Williamson or Fort Bend. If one of those were to flip in 2012, it would mark the first time a substantial suburban county went blue. The impact of this could not be understated because it would show that Texas follows the same model as any other swing state… The cities become heavily Democratic, rural areas lean Republican, and the election battle is fought and won in the suburban counties.

So now we’ve taken the vast 254, and narrowed it down to just 12 counties. These also happen to be the state’s most populous areas. If Texas Democrats ever win all 12 of these counties, we are swing state, and possibly a BLUE state.

Turnout, turnout, turnout.

This is the really super hard part, but it can be done. The one thing we also know from 2008… Democrats like to vote early. If voters are well informed of the early and absentee voting practices of each county, they’ll be more likely to vote, and Democrats will have higher turnout. Here’s where the confusion and misinformation part becomes crucial. Certain political forces are hard at work in the state to make sure that lies persist about voting practices. Democrats should be waging all-scale war on these phonies, and getting into neighborhoods to correct and inform. If we push and publicize early voting, it gives people more options and better ability to get to the poles. Keep in mind that early voting is a relatively recent practice… elderly citizens may not understand what it is. They see the one election day, and think that’s the only time they can vote. We have to change this.

Rankings don’t lie. The non-voting population in Texas is staggering…

Fort Bend county… 300,403 registered; 205,931 voted; 94,472 didn’t vote

Travis county… 609,230 registered, 402,832 voted, 206,398 didn’t vote

Dallas county… 1,206,797 registered, 742,980 voted, 463,817 didn’t vote

Harris county… 1,892,656 registered; 1,188,731 voted; 703,925 didn’t vote

Seriously, the main game is moving to these 12 counties. In the 4 largest listed above, we know that 1.4 million people didn’t vote. Obama lost Texas by 940,000 votes. If Democrats focus on registration and information, this problem can be solved, and we can eradicate GOP majorities in these counties. As red as the state may look on paper, the real population and political power centers around the major urban areas. If we can maximize voter turnout in the 12 target counties, Democrats will win the state.

So fellow Leftists… who’s ready to Think SWING?

Pa’lante! Cristina Saralegui endorses Obama

It may not have rocked the Anglosphere, but on the heels of President Obama’s bold step forward for immigration reform, he also locked up a very substantial endorsement… perhaps the largest of the 2012 campaign.

Media titan Cristina Saralegui now supports President Obama. Known around the Hispanic world simply as “Cristina”, her talk show reached 100 million world-wide viewers before it’s 2010 cancellation. With the immigration announcement in tow, this endorsement certainly provided a double-whammy to the Romney campaign’s hopes to make in-roads within the Hispanic community.

Of course the presumptive Republican nominee isn’t doing himself any favors either. Mr. Romney continues to evade questions in response what he would do in the immigration situation. Though he’s certainly no longer advocating “self-deportation” as he did in the primaries (or is he?? it remains unclear), Romney is apparently stuck on a way forward. If he agrees with Obama, then he’ll alinate the fringe right coalition. If he disagrees, he’ll endanger any hope of support he may gain with moderates and DREAM Act supporters. Given his exemplary business experience, one is left to wonder why he CEO skills haven’t taught him how to handle this situation better?

Hopefully Mr. Romney will figure something out soon.

But for Mr. Obama, it is “Pa’lante” indeed.

(please note: use of the campaign video is for purposes of the article and is not indicative of an endorsement by Texas Leftist)

The ABCs of the GOP: C is for…


The word Convolution has many different meanings. It could mean

1. a twisting together; a turn, twist, or coil
2. an intricate, involved, or confused matter or condition
3. any of the numerous convex folds or ridges of the surface of the brain.

Regardless of which meaning you use, Convolution is an accurate deptiction of the current Republican Party… full of impossible twists and turns, and wound into such a confusing coil of alliances that there’s really no clear way to go.

Let’s zoom back to 2010 for one great example. Remember how GOP lawmakers railed and RAILED against the Stimulus?? They called it a spending bill, they said it wouldn’t create a single job. They barked and barked about how it did nothing more than explode the deficit. Michele Bachmann was perhaps one of the most outspoken opponents, calling the Stimulus an “orgy of spending” and “fantasy economics”. Of course when it comes to the needs of her Congressional District, Ms. Bachmann is more than happy to fall in line and BEG for Stimulus funds, citing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act directly. So if it doesn’t create jobs, why would she ask for the money?? It’s a very convoluted way to look at government indeed. Of course Ms. Bachmann and all of her GOP colleagues are paid by the government, and as willing as they are to cut government waste, you never hear a peep about them wanting to cut their own salaries.

Republicans continue to enrage over how government spending has ballooned during the Obama administration. They have continued to blame him for “out of control” spending and promotion of earmarks. But wait… in an era of record filibusters, secret holds for appointments, austere state budgets and histoically bad government gridlock, where is President Obama getting all of this money to spend?? It’s not coming from Congress. Funny thing about gridlock… nothing gets passed. If laws don’t get passed, then money doesn’t get spent. All of the weekly battles that flood the airwaves aren’t new legislation. They’re actually drudging routine law practice through newly created hoops. “Continuing Resolution” is a buzz word for just keeping the lights on. The GOP’s convoluted argument is that Obama is spending taxpayer money left and right, but in reality, his administration has yielded the slowest spending rate in over 30 years. Actually Obama has tried to spend more on government stimulus, and the Republicans have blocked him from doing that. They’ve also managed to starve our economic recovery so much that we’re made especially vulnerable to the shifting tides of Europe.

But who might you ask is the poster child for convoluted statements? None other than presumptive GOP leader Mitt Romney. He’s Pro-Choice in 1992… Pro-Life today. He was against gun laws as Massachusetts Governor… Now today he openly campaigns for and with the NRA. He was for universal healthcare coverage, so much so that he brought it to fruition as Governor of Massachusetts, but today he’s against… himself?? Well you get the idea. Check out the “Ultimate Flip-Flop Collection”. It’s my personal favorite to drive the point home.

Don’t get me wrong, Mr. Romney is a nice guy and very successful, but the twists and turns of his political record will leave you in a tailspin. I guess that’s why he’s the most sensible candidate for the contemporary GOP… one big convoluted mess.

Follow the Texas money– 2012 Presidential Election

Interesting data published by the New York Times includes some staggering sums about how much money is being raised and spent for this year’s Presidential election. We get one vote at the ballot box, but campaign donations are a much different story. Let’s see how Texans have put their money where their mouth is. (Full article here)

Take a look at how Obama and Romney have faired in Texas (as of Feb. 29th)…

West Texas/ Panhandle

Obama- $88,520.00 Romney- $106,150.00

Central Texas

Obama- $323,587.00 Romney- $362,508.00

South/Central Texas (including Austin and San Antonio)

Obama- $1,419,967.00 Romney- $419,208.00

Southeastern Texas (including Houston)

Obama- $1,058,188.00 Romney- $1,998,380.00

Northeastern Texas (including Dallas and Ft. Worth)

Obama- $1,178,927.00 Romney- $960,873.00

Texas Total

Obama- $4,069,189.00 Romney- $3,847,119.00

A few quick things to note…

-53% of Obama’s donations come from donors giving $200 or less. For Romney that’s a mere 12% of the total.

-58% of Romney’s donors gave the maximum of $2500. That means that Romney has far less donors overall, but they give BIG. For Obama only 20% of his donors have given the maximum so far.

-These are official campaign dollars and don’t account for spending by the Obama or Romney SuperPACs.

So far in Texas, advantage Obama, but not by much. Granted the general election hasn’t officially started yet, so we better hold on to our lassos.