Tag Archives: Texas voter turnout

President Obama Urges Black Community to VOTE

In case you forgot Texas, today is Election Day.  Across the Lone Star State, voting is already happening like never before.  As of Thursday evening, over 3.7 million Texans had already voted.  This shatters previous records from 2012 when 3.1 million residents voted early, and there’s still one full day of early voting results to go!!

But even in this era of historic voter turnout, important questions remain, like who is turning out to vote at such high numbers?  According to the Washington Post, this turnout does not appear to be driven by the African-American community…

By most accounts, Hillary Clinton’s path to victory relies on substantial turnout among black and Latino voters. And while early voting numbers so far appear to favor the Democrats, reports in recent days have suggested that although Latino participation may be up, African American turnout may be lower than in 2012. How concerned should the Clinton camp be?

[…]

In 2012, African Americans overperformed in states such as North Carolina and Texas. But this year, black voting rates are trailing other groups relative to their size of the electorate, with some swings on the order of 5 to 10 percentage points.

Per the Texas Tribune, African-American Texans led the state in 2012, voting at a higher percentage of their total population than any other racial or ethnic group.  This is a very interesting fact given all of the negative stereotypes out there which suggest that the Black community is ‘uninformed’ or ‘uninterested’ in elections.  But so far in 2016, Black voters appear to be trailing other parts of the state in the early vote, and are significantly behind their landmark participation rates from 2012.

This lack of voter enthusiasm should be an alarm bell to Democrats.  How is it possible that a candidate as divisive as Donald Trump has not inspired huge turnout in all minority communities??

One prominent African-American is highly concerned, and that is President Obama.

This week on the Tom Joyner morning show, he had this to say, via Black America Web

If you really care about my presidency and what we’ve accomplished, you are going to go and vote. And if you don’t know where to vote, go to www.iwillvote.com .If you’ve already voted, but your mama hasn’t voted, your cousin hasn’t voted, your nephew hasn’t voted, I need you to call them and say that the President and Michelle personally asked you to vote. It’s not that hard. And I know it’s not that hard because we’ve done it before.

But if we let this thing slip and I’ve got a situation where my last two months in office are preparing for a transition to Donald Trump, whose staff people have said that their primary agenda is, to have him, in the first couple of weeks, sit in the Oval Office and reverse every single thing that we’ve done – all the work we’ve done to make sure people get overtime, all the work we’ve done to make sure women get paid the same as men for doing the same job, all the work we’ve done so that 20 million people get healthcare, all the work we’ve done to make sure we’re doing something about climate change, so that we don’t have a situation where the whole world is not scrambling to figure out where they’re going to live and where they get enough water and crops failing and bigger hurricanes – if I’ve got to look at that the last two months, because folks stayed home, even going on the Tom Joyner cruise won’t help me then. If I’m on the cruise, I might jump off.

So yes Black America, sadly the nation’s first Black President is not on the ballot.  It is a difficult fact to accept, but that should not be an excuse.  Donald Trump’s policies on education, banking, the economy and a myriad of other aspects of American life would decimate the black community.  He has promised time and again to pass on massive tax cuts to the wealthy, which will lead to divestment in minority communities.  If a President Trump were to actually scrap the Department of Education and end student financial aid to college, it would bring about the swift demise of universities across the country, with Historically Black Colleges and Universities among the first to close their doors.  Even if President Obama himself is not on the ballot, America needs to know that in 2016, Black Votes Matter.

Early Voting may be over for Texas, but there’s still a chance to vote this Election Day.  Don’t wait until it’s too late!!

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Think SWING Texas– 2016??

If you’ve followed the blog, it’s been a frequent subject of discussion, and frankly, a sincere hope…

Will Texas ever become a Swing State?? 

 

Back when I first discussed the topic in 2012, here was the rationale:  With over half of the state’s population now concentrated in the 13 largest counties, the potential for Texas to be competitive is abundant.  But it remains a reliably Red State because of low voter turnout.  After the 2012 elections, these ideas seemed to be confirmed.

That’s the problem for Texas, but finding solutions has proven more challenging.  In 2013, Battleground Texas formed to with that very goal in mind.  After being written off by national Democratic organizations for over a generation, suddenly the state was abuzz with left-leaning political activity.  Of course we know that the end result wasn’t in BGTX’s favor, as neither Wendy Davis or Leticia Van de Putte were able to win their statewide races.  But even in losing the battle that year, BGTX played a huge role in an historic new high of voter registration, helped to connect and unite Democrats across the state, and gave us all something to fight for.

After laying a foundation, will 2016 finally be the year that sees this elusive house get built?  If the first week of Early Voting is any indication, the results appear promising for Democrats.  

How promising is still anyone’s guess.  But what we do know is this…

Voter Registration has reached another historic benchmark across the state, led by minority communities in urban counties. The state of over 27 million residents is now up to 15.1 million registered voters.

Early Voting is running a full 6 percentage points higher than in 2012, and nearly 800,000 more people at the polls.  More Texans have already voted than ever before, with most of the state’s 13 largest counties seeing one quarter or more of their voters at the polls. Exciting numbers, but it’s not yet clear whether this represents an actual increase in turnout (and a possible change in the makeup of the electorate), or simply a shift in behavior from voting on Election Day to voting early.  In any event, the answers will be revealed soon.

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The other X Factor in the 2016 race (besides the candidates themselves) is the interesting structure of campaigns.  While Hillary Clinton has certainly not made Texas a focal point of her election strategy, the state is not being totally ignored by Democrats.  Even miniscule investments can serve to motivate voters that may have otherwise stayed at home.  But oddly enough, the Trump campaign has also largely ignored the Lone Star State, instead opting for little organization and some social media activity.  As always, there is a strong network of Republican organization here, but it’s not from the top of the ticket.

So with such interesting conditions at play, could Texas voters yield an historic turn of events for Clinton?  The answer is ‘yes’, and even with a loss.  The last time a Democrat actually won the state was in 1976 thanks to President Jimmy Carter.  Since then, no Democrat has even garnered 44 percent of the vote statewide.  If polling is consistent with actual vote totals, Clinton should break this 40 year old glass ceiling with ease.

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If past is prologue, we’re far from celebrating an huge sea change in Texas politics.  But if anything, 2016 will serve to move Texas ever closer into that competitive column, and hopefully give Democrats some needed momentum into 2018.

So hold on to your blue boots, and shine ’em up for Election Night!

 

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Texoblogosphere: Week of October 10th

The Texas Progressive Alliance has never said anything like what Donald Trump said to Billy Bush when they thought no one was listening, not in a locker room and not anywhere else. No decent person says things like that because no decent person thinks like that or acts like that. What the TPA does say is in this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff looked at turnout and voter registration patterns and what they might say about this year.

Libby Shaw at Daily Kos shares an exposé as well as her own personal experiences to describe how Jim Crow continues to pervade the voter registration laws in Texas. Jim Crow Actively Lurks in Texas. The State’s Voter Registration Laws.

Socratic Gadfly looks back 150 years or so into Southern racial and class history and finds one key word — “mudsill” that seems to explain much of the Trump voter phenomenon.

The Libertarian ticket seems to have hit their ceiling, and not just because Gary Johnson has short-term memory issues, writes PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is glad that poverty is down in Texas, but food insecurity is still high.

Neil at All People Have Value discussed an interactive art work on the streets of Houston. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

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

Lone Star Ma celebrates Texas Influenza Awareness Day.

State Rep. Garnet Coleman writes about the Sandra Bland Act bill that he intends to file next session.

Grits for Breakfast considers what we should teach teenagers about traffic stops.

The Texas Election Law Blog explains the vote-by-mail process, and what can go wrong with it.

Eileen Smith waded into the fetid swamp of Donald Trump’s sexism, a couple of days before that swamp got even nastier.

Betsy Barre has a problem with the collective reaction to the Donald Trump “grab her in the p—-” video.

 

Turning Texas Blue is About Texas, Not Expats

A new piece in the New York Times takes a look at recent migration patterns to Southern states, and suggests that the reason for Virginia and Florida’s quick path to swing status is based more on their migratory patterns than anything else.  Here’s the post from Nate Cohn…

There are four times as many Northeastern expats in Florida as there are in Texas; there are more Northeastern expats in Virginia and North Carolina than in Texas; and there are nearly as many Northeastern expats in Georgia, at 816,729, as there are in Texas, at 929,692.

But in Texas, population growth is propelled by high in-state birthrates, a growing foreign-born population and domestic migration from just about everywhere in the country except the heavily Democratic Northeast, including elsewhere in the South. That makes Texas much more like Alabama or Tennessee than Florida, Virginia and North Carolina, which are the only three Southern states where there’s more migration from the Northeast and West Coast than from elsewhere in Dixie.

The proportion of native-born residents from the South versus the Northeast and California roughly parallels President Obama’s share of the white vote in 2012, which was lowest in states like Mississippi and Louisiana and as high as the mid-30s in Virginia and Florida. Those tallies are good enough for victory in states where nonwhite voters make an above-average contribution to Democratic tallies, as is the case across most of the South.

Democrats were able to become competitive so quickly in states like Virginia and North Carolina because they combined a growing nonwhite share of the electorate with gains among white voters, particularly in postindustrial metropolitan areas full of Northern expats. Without additional gains among white voters, Democrats will be forced to wait a long time for the children of foreign-born residents to carry them to competitiveness in Texas, a state that Mr. Obama lost by 17 points in 2012, and where there isn’t a flood of Democratic-leaning voters from New York to bail them out.

Though the research on state migration is appreciated, Mr. Cohn’s other assertions are wholly incorrect. Texas hasn’t become a blue state or a swing state yet for one reason and one reason only… turnout.   As the Lone Star State’s voter participation increases, the state will become more reflective of the citizens that actually live here.  In the article, Mr. Cohn completely neglects to mention that Texas’ voter turnout, pales in comparison to Florida or Virginia.  In the 2012 elections, only 49.7 percent of Texans showed up to the polls, while 63.5 percent of Floridians and 66.4 percent of Virginians cared to vote.  What should we expect Texas politics to look like if only a minority of the voting age population takes the time to make the state’s major decisions?  To be perfectly honest, we have no way to accurately measure the state’s political views until a majority of the state shows up at the polls.

And if one is waiting around for the Lone Star State to all of a sudden become like New York or Boston, please stop holding your breath.  On the whole, people are more Conservative in Texas… at least the way they understand Conservatism.  Liberal vs. Conservative is not the same as Democrat vs. Republican.  No one should expect for Texas to elect a decidedly Liberal Democrat Governor like Deval Patrick.  But a Conservative Democrat like Wendy Davis is certainly electable here, especially with higher voter turnout and a clear understanding of where she and her opponent stand on the issues.

Finally, above demographics, Texas needs good candidates and a functioning Democratic apparatus to show the state’s true political propensity.  Cohn is writing about a state that hasn’t hosted a General Election debate in nearly a decade.  People in this state are indoctrinated with only one side of the political scale.  However in 2014 with Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte, the mold has been broken, and Texas Democrats are back in the saddle.

No one denies that demographic changes will be an important factor in the future of America, and in the state of Texas.  But can we please stop assuming that it’s the only thing that matters in politics?  No disrespect to Mr. Cohn, but before you decide the fate of Texas politics, take a spin in some of our boots first.

TexWatch 2014: Past the Primaries Part 1

The old saying goes like this…

Democrats fall in love. Republicans fall in line.

Once again, this political principle was on display this week’s Primary election. Republicans, as expected, were out in much greater force than their Democrat counterparts, despite all of the hope and anticipation of positive developments like Battleground Texas. In the first statewide election since BGTX’s founding, Democratic turnout was almost the same for 2014 as it was in 2010… dismal. The GOP side had easily twice the number of voters.

Houston Chronicle’s editorial board seems to agree…

The tea party groups won also in this, their third election cycle, because they are knowledgeable and engaged and they show up. They contest every office.

Are you listening Democrats? Until the state’s hapless minority party emulates the tea partiers, they’ll continue to embarrass themselves with such beyond-the-fringe candidates as Kesha Rogers, a Fort Bend County follower of Lyndon LaRouche who has advocated impeaching President Obama and who carts around a poster of the president with a Hitler mustache. Rogers is a Democrat in name only, but low-information primary voters keep voting for her anyway.

Knowledgeable? Well, TEA-Publicans definitely show up. And they always bring a trove of consistent, even if rarely factual, talking points. And in the state’s current voting environment, it’s enough to wallop the Democratic side.

But the most frustrating part of all of this? Even if Republicans are out-voting Democrats by a 2 to 1 margin, the combined voter turnout is still abysmal. Fewer than 1.9 million people voted in this week’s Primary election… roughly 0.5 percent of the state’s population made these decisions for 26 million Texans. 12 million registered voters were nowhere to be found. Of the supreme oligarchy that does manage to get to the polls, many of them have no clue what or who they’re voting for. There’s no better evidence of this than the fact that a virtual unknown can draw over 114,000 votes just because they have a name of Hispanic origin. Reynaldo “Ray” Madrigal, a Corpus Christi native and Wendy Davis’ only primary opponent, never even campaigned north of I-10.

After this week’s contest, it’s pretty easy to see why Texas Democrats are caught in a cycle of disappointment. They are still a weak party, but all is not lost. Some glimmers of hope (and likely evidence that Battleground Texas is making a difference) include increased voter turnout in urban counties, an improved fundraising apparatus and a literal ARMY of new volunteers. Check back for more insight into how statewide candidates did, and how they can win this November.