A PROGRESSIVE VOICE FROM THE LLANO ESTACADO

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Texas Democrats Need A Leadership Change

The Texas Democratic Party is in a lot of trouble. Both houses of the state legislature have large majorities of Republican, and there hasn't been a Democrat elected to a statewide office for the last 18 years. It's not because members of the Republican Party vastly outnumber members of the Democratic Party in the state -- they don't. The parties have roughly equal membership.

The problem is a failure of leadership. There's an old saying in politics that no one's going to vote for you unless you ask them to, and the state party has not been asking most Texans. For years now, the state Democratic Party has virtually ignored large parts of the state (West Texas, East Texas, the Panhandle, etc.). They have put all of their efforts into the large urban areas and the Valley.

The excuse they have used is that it was the best use of their scant resources. Whether that's true or not, it has resulted in the marginalization of the party (because the Republicans are fighting for every vote in every part of the state). And until the state party returns to a 254-county strategy, fighting for every vote possible even in counties that currently vote Republican, they will remain a marginal party (able to elect Democrats only in small parts of the state).

Another failure of state leadership is in the candidates they encourage to run for office. These have largely been conservatives ("blue dogs" or "Republican-lites"), giving the voters of Texas no real choice (since both parties offer only conservatives). If the Democrats really want to return to power, they must field candidates that give the voters a real choice -- they need to field progressives to oppose the right-wing Republicans.

Fortunately, this year Texas Democrats have an opportunity to change the direction of their party. Party chairman Boyd Richie is stepping down, and a new party chairman must be elected at the state convention on June 9th. Of course the "good ole boys" have nominated their own candidate to replace Richie -- a candidate that will continue the current failed policies.

But there is another candidate -- Rachel Barrios-Van Os (pictured above). This lady is a true progressive who wants to give Texas voters a real choice. And she wants to fight for every vote in every Texas county. She represents something that is badly needed -- a change not only in leadership, but also in the direction of the state party.

As a delegate to the state convention in June, I will be supporting and voting for Rachel Barrios-Van Os -- and I urge you to do the same. Can she instantly solve all of the problems created by the current leadership? No, but she will put the party back on the path to relevance. If you would like to know more about this wonderful candidate, go to her newly-created website and check her out. I think you'll be as impressed as I am. And if you have a little extra money and would like to help fund the re-emergence of the Democratic Party in Texas, it wouldn't hurt to throw a few shekels her way.

Here is a bit of what she has to say to Texas Democrats:


Regarding the state of the party, I believe that something is very wrong when we have not won a single statewide office since 1994. Let's not wait another 18 years to start winning again, let's make it happen now. I'm ready to take on that challenge. I want a party of inclusion, I want a party that has its doors open to the public and to any citizen who wants to help fight for the good cause of democracy. I want a party that says, yes we can win and yes, we will win.

It's been 18 years since we've won a statewide election and it's just too darn long. We have to start fighting to win now! Part of the reason we haven’t been carrying the state is that we target only certain races, we create exclusion instead of inclusion and we give the public the impression that we don’t believe we can carry the state. We have to get back to coordinated campaigns for the whole democratic ticket and support every Democratic candidate. Our target should be the whole State of Texas and not just a hand full of specific races. When Democrats win, we all win. Bush and Perry along with all their greed, money and power have pushed us back for too long and it's time to fight. The time is now, the present, not the future, right here, right now!

I believe that anything is possible especially once you put your mind, heart and soul into the things that you believe in and care about. I care about people from all walks of life and I care from my heart about the ideals of a true Democracy for all the People.

If you believe as I do, please join me in helping to fight this battle. I need your vote and support to make this happen, I know that together we can do this.

I look forward to seeing you all at the 2012 State Convention. The convention runs from June 7, 2012 through June 9, 2012 and is being held in Houston, Texas. The convention starts its official business on Friday morning. On Saturday, June 9, 2012 the election of state party officers will take place, so make sure to be there so that your vote will count. I hope you'll join me on this day to help make it a new day for all Democrats and a new day, for a real democracy.

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