Politico has the story: “Democrats launch plan to turn Texas blue.” I mentioned this to someone (in another state), and the immediate response was: “Texas won’t do that.”
I don’t know which annoys me more: people who don’t live in Texas who apparently feel free and informed to make sweeping generalizations that begin with something like “Texas wants to” do something or the other. Or, people who do live in Texas who apparently feel free and informed to do the same thing.
This penchant to lump whole populations into a one-size-fits all stereotype is not, of course, limited or unique to Texas. Listen to most state governors, for example, and you’ll likely here assertions of what the “people of our great state” want. And DC Electeds, of course, are likely to tell you what “the American people” want, which, of course, is always whatever it is the Elected wants. And that’s the order in which “want” is determined. Well, it actually starts with the Elites who employ the Electeds in managerial roles. So, what the Elites want is what the Electeds want is what “the American people” want. And if you happen to disagree, well, you’re un-American and probably un-Christian.
Happily, at least for me, there are always people who challenge the generalizations and Elite / Elected determined “wants.” Occupy did that, and in fact, there are still active Occupiers across the nation, most working in specific areas, such as foreclosures, and/or allied with other groups, such as OUR Walmart, Tar Sands protests, Idle No More, and many others. Activism and advocacy are constantly evolving.
Anyway, I started thinking about all of this, again, after reading two Texas related stories. The first is a KUT report from earlier this month, “Could Same-Sex Marriage Come to Texas?” I’ve mentioned this before, but because it so neatly illustrates the fallacies of monolithic thinking, I’ll share it again:
The survey by the Texas Tribune and the University of Texas shows 70 percent of the state’s residents support legal recognition for same-sex couples.
Now, there’s no doubt that those not included in the 70 percent, who don’t support such an “un-Christian” and “not real Texan” idea will continue making lots of noise, and very likely, getting most of the media and public attention. And lead some to continue assuming that “Texas” is defined by that, in this case, less than 30 percent, not the 70 percent.
Yesterday, I read this, at Politico:
National Democrats are taking steps to create a large-scale independent group aimed at turning traditionally conservative Texas into a prime electoral battleground, crafting a new initiative to identify and mobilize progressive voters in the rapidly-changing state, strategists familiar with the plans told POLITICO.
The organization, dubbed ‘Battleground Texas,’ plans to engage the state’s rapidly growing Latino population, as well as African-American voters and other Democratic-leaning constituencies that have been underrepresented at the ballot box in recent cycles. Two sources said the contemplated budget would run into the tens of millions of dollars over several years – a project Democrats hope has enough heft to help turn what has long been an electoral pipe dream into reality.
Two things: first, “Texas,” as this project realizes, isn’t only or necessarily forever “Red.” Second, however, is an interesting and different kind of factor at play: regarding said project, it’s “national Democrats” cited as leading this particular effort. One of the people heavily involved in the effort is Jeremy Bird, (emphasis added)
… formerly the national field director for President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, who was in Austin last week to confer with local Democrats about the project. …
Well, at least he “conferred.” That’s something. I guess.
‘With its diversity and size, Texas should always be a battleground state where local elections are vigorously contested and anyone who wants to be our commander in chief has to compete and show they reflect Texas values. Yet for far too long, the state’s political leaders, both in Austin and in Washington, D.C., have failed to stand for Texans,’ said Bird.
“Texas values”? Like there’s only one set for the entire population? To me, this sounds like a top-down idea, a project based on the fact of a “rapidly growing Latino population,” but with the ultimate focus on what’s good for the Democratic Party. I know there are many Texans, myself included, who would love to turn the state from red to purple to blue (expanding the existing pockets). Actually, I’d like a wide variety of multi-party colors. But I’m guessing, for the Battleground Texas group, the desired “winner” of successful efforts is first and foremost the National Democratic Party.
The article says that Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro were in DC for the Inauguration, and while there, (emphasis added)
… addressed a fundraiser for the Lone Star Project, an influential outside group that drives Democratic messaging in Texas.
The Lone Star Project was founded by Matt Angle, former executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. From Angle:
‘The demographics are coming into place and Republicans have created an opportunity … But it’s also doing the hard work and raising the money that it takes.’
Of course these kind DC-driven efforts are not unusual in all the states. It’s just particularly obvious at this moment, related to Texas. Which, no doubt, has something to do with the projections that in the 2020 census, Texas will have 42 electoral votes. It had 38 in 2012.
(Texas Map via TXMap.org)