Texas Democratic Party Chair Charles Soechting has thrown down the gauntlet.
State Democratic Chairman Charles Soechting said Monday that he is disgusted that his national party has written Texas off as Republican and is urging financial donors from here to cut off the Democratic National Committee.
"Is a line drawn in the sand between myself and the DNC? Yes it is," Soechting said. "If you want good government in Texas, you start (by giving) at home."
Soechting said national party officials have taken the attitude that Texas is President Bush's home state and cannot be won.
"That is a loser, defeatist mentality," Soechting said. "I'm not willing to concede that Texas is not winnable. I'm just hearing too many good things around the state."
Soechting said he decided to start urging Texas donors to keep their money in the state after the DNC offered $5,000 to the Texas party to send staff to battleground states that could be won by the Kerry presidential campaign.
"I'm not sending a single person to another state when we have important races here. They want my best and brightest," Soechting said. "I've got people from the courthouse to the White House to elect."
I think Soechting is taking the wrong tack here, though. Unless you can find some polls showing Bush below 50% in Texas, you're going to have a real hard time convincing anyone that Texas is winnable. There's no traction in that argument.
What Soechting needs to hammer on is twofold. One is the fate of the redistricted Congressional incumbents. All of these candidates (and Richard Morrison and Morris Meyer, too) will benefit from better turnout among Democrats, something which a visit or two from the Kerry/Edwards ticket can help provide. If you think Kerry himself won't be much help for some or all of the endangered incumbents, fine. Just send Edwards, or deputize Wes Clark as I've advocated. Especially in light of Rodney Alexander's cowardly last-minute party switch, every Congressional seat is critical. This is an argument that should resonate with the DNC.
The second point is harder to make as a short-term proposition, but is in my opinion the more important long-term. We all know that the demographics of Texas are changing. Hispanics are on the verge of becoming the majority population, and their historic voting patterns strongly suggest that as this happens, Texas will become more Democratic. How long this takes to happen, and how great an effect there will be as it does, is entirely up to the state and national Democratic Party. They can put some time and effort into voter registration and outreach (getting the New Democratic Network to run some of their Spanish language TV ads here would be a good start) and reap the benefits sooner, maybe even in 2006, or they can sit on their hands and let the state GOP use its money and organizational skills to erode that advantage.
I'm more than happy to see Soechting make this challenge to the DNC. I just want to see him make it as persuasive as possible. I think what I've outlined here has a better chance than the Texas-is-a-swing-state strategy.Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 10, 2004 to Show Business for Ugly People | TrackBack