Tag Archives: 2018 Texas Election

After Controversial ‘Mandatory Service’ Proposal, Beto O’Rourke Changes Course

One thing to know about Texas politics… it’s a rough and tumble course.  And for a Texas Democrat?  Those rough patches may as well be a thorn-ridden labyrinth.

It’s a lesson that Democratic Senate Candidate Beto O’Rourke is learning quite quickly, as his massive campaign attempts to radiate from his El Paso Congressional District to every last corner of the Lone Star State.  The Congressman, who first pledged to visit voters in all of Texas’ 254 counties, is well north of 200 at the start of 2018.  But while he’s becoming an expert at logging miles, the campaign rhetoric still has some imperfections.  As Mariah Medina of KSAT 12 News reports, the candidate recently had to change course on a controversial proposal…

SAN ANTONIO – Days after sharing his idea to introduce a bill that would require all young people to spend at least a year “in service to this country,” U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke backtracked from that statement.

On Monday, the El Paso Democratic congressman said, in part, “I made a mistake,” as he addressed voters via Facebook live on Monday.

O’Rourke held a town hall in Corsicana last week and shared the controversial idea with those in attendance. The senate candidate told the Corsicana audience he hoped to introduce a bill to congress that would require “every young person,” regardless of their socioeconomic background, to serve their country in some way whether that be in military service, a medical unit, a teaching unit etc.

Many, however, took O’Rourke’s comments to mean only military service. Others felt the “mandatory” aspect of his idea mirrored conscription.

“In talking about that, I said ‘I’d like to make that mandatory,'” O’Rourke said in a Facebook live on Monday. “That is a word that has concerned a lot of you and I got to tell you, you’re right.”

As soon as his original announcement was made, a heated debate sparked across all corners of Texas social media.  While some were in full support of the concept, others even likened the thought of a mandatory service requirement to “slavery” or “involuntary servitude”.  A rather extreme comparison, given how countries across the globe often have mandatory service duties as part of one’s right to citizenship.

But whatever the case, it appears that O’Rourke heard those concerns, and has moved forward in the best way possible.  In today’s political climate, even an apology seems like a bold step.

Lesson learned.



Run ’18: Texas Democrats Prepare For Most Active Primary Election in Decades

Do you hear it??

Off in the distance, there’s a big blue stampede starting in Texas.  If you can’t hear it yet, just wait until February and March.

For years now, Texas Democrats have been trapped in something of an electoral feedback loop.  Save for a few gerrymandered districts, the party has been unable to gain traction across the state, with virtually no hope of taking a statewide office or gaining a legislative majority anywhere outside of the city hall or county courthouse.  The loop basically works like this… in order to recruit down-ballot candidates to run, Democrats first need to find an inspiring top-ticket candidate.  But the only way to find a top-ticket candidate was for them to rise up from a crop of good down-ballot candidates.

But, as all things seem to be in 2017, new rules abound.  As Ashley Lopez of KUT Austin reports, Texas Democrats are done sitting on the sidelines, and ready to run next year…

In deep-red Texas, Republicans will have to fight for every congressional seat in next year’s midterm elections. For the first time in 25 years, Democrats are running in all of Texas’ 36 congressional districts, according to documents filed with the Texas Secretary of State’s office.

Mark Jones, political science fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute, says those filings set a record for the number of Democratic challengers in an era of Republican dominance, and are a departure from 2016 – when eight Republican-held congressional seats went uncontested by Democrats.

“We are seeing a groundswell of unusually high support and mobilization among progressive Democrats who are really angered by the Trump administration,” Jones said.

But, Democrats aren’t just gunning for congressional seats. According to preliminary numbers from the Texas Democratic Party, Democrats are running in 89 percent of the seats in the Texas House and 88 percent of the seats in the Texas Senate. Both are the highest percentages the party has mustered since at least 1992.

Though the Secretary of State’s office is still awaiting final certification from the Parties, you can view the impressive list of candidate filings hereIf you’re not yet registered to VOTE in the March 6th Primary Election, you can get that info at VoteTexas.gov.

Call it anger, inspiration, education… call it what you what.  As 2018 approaches, Texas Democrats seem to have found “it” again.  Finally a blue stampede is on for the Lone Star State.  But whether all of that motivation can finally turn into some results remains to be seen.  But like the big blue skies of a Texas Winter or the bluebonnets of a Texas Spring, hope springs eternal.

Historic times call for historic activities.  Along with a bigger-then-ever TLCQ 2018 series, Texas Leftist will also be working to report on select races as they unfold.  Keep your eyes and ears ready.