Thursday, November 06, 2014

Texas - The State That Doesn't Vote

Greg Abbott (R)...............2,779,159 (59.28%)
Wendy Davis (D)...............1,822,986 (38.89%)
Katie Glass (L)...............66,092 (1.41%)
Brandon Parmer (G)...............18,398 (0.4%)
Sarah Pavitt (I)...............1,160 (0.02%)

There's no way around it. Election night was another disaster here in Texas. Texas hadn't elected a Democrat to any statewide office in over 20 years -- and it will be at least another 4 years before that can happen.

I had hoped that the Democrats had nominated a ticket that could compete with the Republicans this year -- and if not win, at least make it a close election. I was wrong. Wendy Davis actually did slightly worse than the Democratic candidate in 2010 did by a couple of percentage points (White got about 42% in 2010).

What happened? Well, a couple of things. After being nominated, Wendy made the same mistake that Democrats in the past have made. She moved to the right and ran a defensive campaign (the "I'm not really all that liberal" type of campaign -- even coming out in favor of the open carrying of guns in Texas). And the voters did just what they have done in the past when faced with a Democrat on the defensive and a Republican on the offense -- they stayed at home and didn't vote for either.

The group that did show up at the polls was the teabaggers. They voted in large numbers just like they did in 2010, because they are still angry over having an African-American in the White House -- and being soundly defeated in the last two presidential election -- and they clearly made up a majority of those voting on election day.

Note that only 33.42% of registered voters bothered to vote in this election in Texas, in spite of the fact that voting has been made very easy in the state -- with voting by mail-in ballot, two weeks of early voting, or voting on election day all available. That means only 1 out of every 3 registered voters bothered to vote in the state -- a percentage that is both pitiful and shameful. Texas does have an ID voter law, but even if you add in those not allowed to vote because of an ID problem, the percentage of those voting would still be very small. I haven't checked the voting percentages of all states, but I would think the Texas percentage is at (or very near) the bottom.

Texas has the most regressive taxes in the country (with the rich paying a far smaller percentage of income in taxes than most Texans), leads the nation in the most school drop-outs, trails all other states in per-pupil school funding, leads the nation in both the number and percentage of workers who make near, at, or below a poverty wage (the minimum wage), is near the top in teen pregnancies and number one in second teen pregnancies, leads the nation in the number and percentage of citizens without health insurance, and produces more pollution than any other state (with only 6 countries producing more pollution).

None of this is going to change as long as Texans refuse to vote in large numbers -- because the Republicans don't want those things to change. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Texans care -- because Texas is the state that doesn't vote.

Note: All of the numbers I used in this post are official -- coming from the website of the Texas Secretary of State.

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