Tag Archives: Texas GOP

Dear Texas Democrats: Don’t Blame All of 2014 On Voter ID

Given how badly Texas Democrats lost last week, few are surprised to see a lot of in-fighting and finger-pointing within party leadership.  As has already been addressed, there were some notable missteps on the part of Battleground Texas, which the group, to its credit, is actively working to address.

But in recent days, a new whipping boy has emerged for the 2014 failures… Texas’ discriminatory Voter ID law.  Here’s more on the argument from Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune

Say this for the state’s new voter ID law — it gave Texas Democrats a patsy for the thumping they took on election night.

[…]

The overall number of votes cast in this year’s election was less than in 2010 — by about 271,000. Although that appears to be part of a national trend, Texas Democrats blamed the state’s voter ID law, which they say discourages people from showing up.

Texas turnout, already the worst in the country, dropped. The state’s population is larger than it was in 2010. More than 14 million Texans registered to vote, according to the secretary of state — up from 13.3 million in 2010. Turnout that year was 37.5 percent. Turnout this year (the numbers are unofficial) was 33.6 percent.

The people who did not show up appear to be Democrats. The Republican numbers were up in the governor’s race, while the Democratic numbers were way down.

At a post-election discussion last week, Gilberto Hinojosa, chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, suggested the voter ID law might be to blame for the decline, implying that Democrats are more numerous among non-voters than Republicans. His opposite on the Republican side — Steve Munisteri — guffawed at that, instead crediting his own party’s turnout efforts, the state’s recent voting history and the national trend against Democrats.

There’s no doubt that the stringent Voter ID law was a contributing factor for Democrats… possibly a significant one.  As Think Progress reported, poll watchers in Houston did see some issues, and the number of Provisional Ballots cast more than doubled from 2010. Because of Voter ID, it is definitely more difficult to vote in Texas than it used to be.

But the party and related organizations need to be careful not to point the finger exclusively at the law, else they risk losing the opportunity for a thorough examination of other factors, including their own culpability.  If all 600,000 of those voters estimated to be disenfranchised had shown up to the polls, wouldn’t we have way more than 16,000 Provisional Ballots cast? Press outlets would have reported on long lines of frustrated voters being turned away.  Had Voter ID been the sole reason that Democrats stayed home, evidence would bear that out.

Instead, many of the Democrats didn’t make it to the polling place at all.  We already know that most Texans are low-propensity and low-information voters.  Getting them to suddenly turn up attention before the election, and then turn out to vote was always going to be a greater burden for Dems than the habitual voters of the GOP.  Then there are the more subtle tricks, like Abbott’s last-minute decision to cancel on his debate commitment with Davis just so he could weasel out of mainline TV coverage for less-noticed PBS.  And of course, the internal friction between the party and other political organizations didn’t help either.

At the end of the day, all of these factors played a supporting role in the issues of 2014.  But let’s hope that Texas Democrats do not try to cast any single one, like Voter ID, as the only star of the show.  Instead, it’s time to live, learn, examine and focus on the battles ahead in the 2015 Texas Legislature.  Dos Centavos has more on what promises to be a long ride.

Davis Hits Abbott With Controversial New Ad, Addressing “Wheelchair”

Like a lightning bolt, the Wendy Davis campaign released a new ad that struck the state of Texas faster than any tornado, hurricane or haboob.  Here’s what everyone is talking about, along with some immediate coverage from the Huffington Post...

The campaign of state Senator and Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis (D) on Friday rushed to defend a controversial ad attacking her opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott (R), after the ad received near-unanimous condemnation from Republicans and members of the media.

The spot attacks Abbott, who is partially paralyzed, for opposing litigation on behalf of disabled victims even though he in 2002 successfully sued for, and won, a large reward due to the accident that led to his paralysis.

“A tree fell on Greg Abbott,” the ad’s narrator says, over an image of an empty wheelchair. “Abbott argued a woman whose leg was amputated was not disabled because she had an artificial limb. He ruled against a rape victim who sued a corporation for failing to do a background check on a sexual predator. He sided with a hospital that failed to stop a dangerous surgeon who paralyzed patients.”

The ad was met with immediate derision from Republicans, who accused the Davis campaign of exploiting Abbott’s paralysis to resuscitate a floundering campaign in Republican-leaning Texas.

Kirsten Kukowski, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, called the spot “ridiculous.”

Reached for comment on Friday, a Davis spokesman brushed off the criticism and explained that Texans had a right to know about Abbott’s past history.

“What this ad shows is that after rightly seeking justice for himself, Greg Abbott turned around and spent his entire career denying that same kind of justice to other victims,” Davis communications director Zac Petkanas told The Huffington Post. “Whether they were victims of brutal rape, whether they were disabled individuals, or whether they were patients who were maimed by a surgeon who was under the influence. These are important questions that Texans have a right to know about.”

Petkanas said he wasn’t concerned the ad would backfire for Davis, instead insisting that it raised “legitimate questions” about the attorney general.

Whatever one’s initial reaction, the ad seems to have already accomplished its primary purpose for the Davis campaign… everyone is talking about it. That fact in itself raises awareness about the election and ups name ID for Davis when the Democratic candidate needs it the most. The more people that talk about it, the more will watch.

Abbott’s response to the TV spot was swift and expected. His campaign immediately condemned Davis for “attacking a guy in a wheelchair”. It’s a reasonable move by the campaign, and at the outset would seem to point to a clear advantage for Abbott.

But that defense can only last for so long before enough people actually see the spot, and join in the questions it raises. If Abbott was able to win a successful lawsuit from his life-altering event, why does he feel that other Texans don’t deserve the same rights to justice that he exercised and received? Given how Abbott himself has often volunteered, even promoted the sensitive information surrounding his accident, is that subject not “fair game” for Davis to discuss, especially when talking about the Attorney General’s clear record of hypocrisy? Soon, Greg Abbott will have to stop taking offense, and start giving substantive answers.

UPDATE: Wendy Davis herself has now defended the new ad via Twitter and Facebook, saying that she has some nothing wrong.

https://www.facebook.com/wendydavistexas/posts/10154745499045094

The reactions to the ad are coming back swiftly, but apparently, some news outlets are beginning to change their mind.  On Monday, Davis held a press conference with Disabled supporters that in part discussed similar stories to those in the ad.  Here’s coverage of that via the Chronicle

Davis set up the press conference, which featured more than a dozen disabled supporters, after her latest campaign ad that centered on Abbott’s own disability proved to be incredibly divisive, netting mostly negative reviews even among liberal media outlets.

The ad discusses Abbott and his support for tort reform, which came years after he received what’s believed to be at least a $10 million settlement when a downed tree branch partially paralyzed him. The ads starts, “A tree fell on Greg Abbott…”

Abbott supporters and conservative news organizations jumped on the incident, saying the staffer “dragged” White across the stage. The Washington Free Beacon, a right-leaning news outlet, called the move ”awkward,” linking to a video entitled, “Poor advance work at Wendy Davis presser.” Townhall.com called the move “absolutely shameless.”

“These critics have obviously never met someone with cerebral palsy before,” added White, who can walk and drive a car independently. “Our movements are awkward. It’s part of the condition.”

White also clashed with Abbott supporters and staffers including campaign advisor Dave Carney, criticizing them to apologize for tweeting out an article that called the disabled Wendy Davis supporters members “props.”

Here are some tweets from Lamar White Jr. following the press conference…

Lamar White Jr

Clearly some in the Right-wing blogosphere may regret their hasty reaction to today’s events.

What do you think of the new ad? Is it offensive? Could it be a game-changer for either candidate? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

 

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Debate Grate: Is Dan Patrick Afraid of Leticia Van de Putte??

In this year’s race for Texas Lieutenant Governor, one candidate is ready to rumble, while the other is scared to even get in the ring.  Do you know which is which?  If not, Here’s the story from the Houston Chronicle

Democratic lieutenant governor nominee Leticia Van de Putte said Thursday that her Republican opponent, Dan Patrick, has yet to respond to a series of debates she has proposed ahead of the Nov. 4 election.

Van de Putte and Patrick spoke separately at the Texas Association of Broadcasters annual convention, in what amounted to a rare opportunity to see the two candidates address the same audience back to back.

A state senator from San Antonio, Van de Putte used the speaking opportunity in front of TV and radio industry folk to reiterate her call for a robust schedule of debates.

She has challenged Patrick to five in all — part of an aggressive plan to pit the candidates head-to-head in the state’s four largest markets and in the Rio Grande Valley — and has left the door open to three more.

But since she laid out the proposal more than a week ago, Van de Putte said Patrick, a senator from Houston who is a tea party favorite, and his team have yet to get back with a solid answer — or any answer, for that matter.

“He’s not responded to our request for debates,” Van de Putte said, adding that she’s not sure if Patrick is dodging the debate issue or just can’t make up his mind. “This is a race where there’s a big difference in candidates … and the people of the state need to hear the candidates.”

Actually, the reason for Dan Patrick’s reluctance seems simple enough… he’s scared.  As the presumed front-runner in the Lieutenant Governor’s race, Patrick knows very well that to share the stage with Leticia Van de Putte puts him at risk to get OWNED by Leticia Van de Putte.  Time after time in public forum, the Democrat has proven herself an incredibly effective communicator for her ideas.  He also knows that giving voters the chance to hear their views side-by-side puts him at risk of sounding like a far-right extremist.  Of course he sounds like an extremist because he IS an extremist, but that is beside the point.

On debates, Patrick is playing from an old playbook.  Texas Governor Rick Perry won re-election without a single debate against then-Democratic challenger Bill White in 2010, choosing instead to demand White’s tax returns in exchange for meeting him mano a mano.  The “no debates” strategy is now a time-tested method for the Texas GOP… keep Texans in the dark about Government by not allowing them to hear opposing viewpoints.

But 2013, and its massive jump in national exposure for Texas Democrats, brought new hope that more Republicans will have to cave in to pressure to face their electoral adversaries.  GOP Gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott has already promised to face Wendy Davis in at least two meetings, and Democratic Comptroller candidate Mike Collier seems intent to not give up on a head-to-head with his GOP rival Glenn Hegar.

As Senator Van de Putte made clear last week, Dan Patrick can run but he can’t hide.  Texas has learned from the past, and will demand a campaign for Lieutenant Governor worthy of the great state that eventual office-holder hopes to represent.

Texas GOP Lawmakers Link Same-Sex Marriage to Incest, Pedophilia

As most of America continues to move forward with marriage equality, many in the Texas GOP insist on holding the Lone Star State back with antiquated, harmful falsehoods.  Here’s the story from the Huffington Post

In support of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s efforts to reinstate the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, more than 60 Texas lawmakers signed an amicus brief Monday arguing that recognition of gay marriage could lead to the legalization of incest, pedophilia and polygamy.

Filed with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 63 members of the Texas Conservative Coalition, the state legislature’s conservative caucus, advanced the notion that legalizing same-sex marriage could provide legal justification for the recognition of various moral taboos, including incest and pedophilia.

“The district court broadened the definition of the ‘existing right to marry’ as one that includes the right of people to ‘select the partners of their choosing’ for marriage, without regard to sex,” the brief contends. “If the right to select ‘partners of their choosing’ is the criterion used to invoke marriage as a fundamental right, then marriage restrictions on age, polygamy, and consanguinity are also ripe for challenge.”

As first reported by Lone Star Q, signatories include the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Dan Patrick, Texas House Speaker Pro Tempore Dennis Bonnen (R) and state Sen. Ken Paxton, the Republican nominee for attorney general.

Also thanks to Lone Star Q‘s fantastic work, you can find the names of all 63 lawmakers that supported Greg Abbott’s flawed document, as well as information on how to Tweet them with your opinion of their decision.

By now in Texas, it is to be expected that such a move would receive harsh criticism from Democrats.  But Greg Abbott and his insider club are also getting some major push back from members of the GOP.  Take this statement from the Republican Liberty Caucus

Sixty-three Texas Republican elected officials and candidates have signed on to an amicus brief in the case of DeLeon vs. Perry. Their choice to do this may offer short term political advantages but it is not in the long tem best interests of the party.

The brief stands in defense of Texas’ prohibition on same sex marriage, listing various questionable claims about the dangers of same sex marriage including an argument based on the slippery slope fallacy claiming that it will lead to the legalization of bestiality, incest, pedophilia and polygamy.

The Republican Liberty Caucus opposes using this issue as a campaign tactic. It will embarrass the party and the temporary gain in partisan voters is not worth the ultimate loss in party membership and support in the general election. It is the wrong position to take for party that believes in liberty and equality under the law.

The Republican Party needs to take a position on this issue based on reason and the best interests of the public. The best course for the protection of religious liberty and individual rights is to advocate the removal of marriage from the control of the state.

While it’s good to see that these shameful beliefs are not held by the whole of the Texas Republican Party, the thought of having Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick in the state’s top elected offices is especially scary after seeing this brief.  Anyone that cares about Marriage Equality or just stands for the truth should remember this in November. As they have proven here, a vote for Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick, Ken Paxton or any of these other legislators is a vote spread harmful, malicious lies about the LGBT community. 

(photo credit: the Texas Tribune)

Rick Perry Wants BOOTS On The Border, Not Humanitarian Aid

Long gone are the days when Rick Perry showed any semblance of compassion for the plight of undocumented children and families.  Instead of working to find a solution to his state’s most recent border crisis, the Texas Governor and 2016 Presidential hopeful is doubling down on photo ops and party politics.  Here’s more from CNN

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he won’t encourage his state’s congressional delegation to approve President Obama’s request for $3.7 billion in emergency funds to mitigate the border crisis.

“The President doesn’t have to have this big amount of money,” Perry told Fox News Channel’s Brit Hume. “He could pick up the phone today, call the (Defense Department) and direct them to have the 1,000 National Guard troops on the border.”

[…]

Perry said the physical presence of the National Guard would send a clear, visual message to potential immigrants that U.S. borders are not wide open.

“They need to be right on the river,” he said. “They need to be there as a show of force, because that’s the message that gets sent back very quickly to Central America.”

It doesn’t take a thousand National Guardsmen and Guardswomen to decipher the message that the Governor is trying to send here.  The only thing Perry cares about now is using the current border crisis as a meal ticket to 2016.  Don’t forget… he is not someone that is unconnected to the realities of these issues, as he has dealt with them consistently since Barack Obama was a State Senator in Illinois.  For Perry to come out now and say that the only thing needed on the border is more troops is nothing short of lunacy.  He’s well aware of the detrimental need for more immigration lawyers and judges to process these children the correct way.  He’s well aware of the critical need for more humanitarian aid, including shelters, food and other supplies.

It’s a sad day for the people of Texas when our Governor can become so obsessed with his political aspirations that he completely ignores the needs of his state.  But in fairness, President Obama also needs to stop playing politics here.  It’s time for the Commander-in-Chief to come to the border… not for a photo op like Perry, but to assess the situation at a personal level.  Asking for aid from Congress is in part a political move, given the current brokenness of the institution.  We need some leadership on this issue Mr. President, and with the total ineptitude coming from our state’s top official and from Congress, that job (once again) falls to you.

Texoblogosphere: Week of February 17th

The Texas Progressive Alliance is always ready for voting to begin as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff concluded his series of primary interviews with conversations featuring State Rep. Mary Gonzalez, and Ag Commissioner candidates Kinky Friedman and Hugh Fitzsimons.

Over two million Texas voters from the 2008 Democratic primary — and eight million who were registered to vote in 2012’s general election — have not shown up to cast a ballot. Texas is NOT a conservative state; it’s a non-voting state. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs has the details on what it will take for Texas to turn blue, and the numbers don’t offer much encouragement.

Horwitz at Texpatriate explains why Attorney General Greg Abbott pulled the ladder up behind him on other disabled Texans after receiving his thirty pieces of silver.

WCNews at Eye on Williamson shows how the Texas GOP, with Perry at the wheel, took the express lane to Crazy Town and the rest of Texas is along for the ride, It’s Going To Be A Huge Mess.

Neil at All People Have Value admired turtles and a fish seemingly doing well in not very clean water in Houston’s Buffalo Bayou. These creatures recall the fact that people not only can thrive in a rough environment, they can also shape surroundings for the better. All People Have Value is part of NeilAquino.com.

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

Texas Clean Air Matters calls on the state to work with the EPA.

The Feminist Justice League shows some love for Sen. Leticia Van de Putte.

The Texas Green Report cheers a study showing Texas among the nation’s leaders in solar-related jobs.

Christopher Hooks wants Dan Patrick and Julian Castro to have that debate about immigration already.

Lone Star Q salutes outgoing Fort Worth City Council member Joel Burns.

Mustafa Tameez analyzes NASA’s Tea Party Primary in CD36.

Battleground Texas had an amazingly successful event at Rice University for Wendy Davis.

And finally, the TPA congratulates Noel Freeman for a long awaited and much deserved second chance.

Greg Abbott’s Adviser thinks Wendy Davis “too stupid” for Governor

At least, he thinks it enough to retweet the comment. From Christy Hoppe of the Dallas Morning News

Dave Carney, a sharp political adviser who has helped guide Rick Perry’s state campaigns, tried to take on Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, over guns.

But he might have shot himself in the foot.

Carney was touting on Twitter the Colorado recall of two state senators who had supported gun control measures after Aurora and Sandy Hook. Both lost that election this week.

On Thursday, Carney was tweeting about it and pulled up posts by others that were critical of Davis on gun control measures.

He retweeted: “Total Recall in CO (and why Wendy Davis is too Stupid to be Governor)” Following the link supplied by Carney were posts that referred to Davis as “retard Barbie” and used other insulting language.

This social media fracas followed Abbott responding positively to a tweet last month that also called Davis “retard Barbie.” Abbott thanked the poster for his support.

On Thursday, Democrats expressed their outrage on behalf of Davis, who is contemplating a run for governor and would likely face Abbott.

“It’s clear that Abbott’s advisers are following a strategy of offending every woman voter in the state of Texas,” said Will Hailer, executive director of the state Democratic Party.

“A woman who worked her way from a trailer park to graduate from Harvard Law School with honors is anything but stupid,” he said.

And there we have it… another priceless bit of gold from the Greg Abbott campaign. You’d think for all of that money he’s raised, he’d ADVISE his advisers to not troll using their easily traceable Twitter accounts. Of course, I guess he’d have to teach himself the same lesson first. Needless to say, Texas Democrats need to put this one in the bank, and use against Abbott later.