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BGTX’s self-assessment

Texas Monthly has a good overview of where Battleground Texas stands – and where the people inside it think they stand – two years and one electoral beatdown into their existence.

Still, it’s the winners who write the history books. In the meantime, the losers have some explaining to do. With that in mind, last week I traveled to Austin and spent two days in the company of Battleground Texas’s senior staff: Bird, Brown, Lucio, communications director Erica Sackin, political director Cliff Walker, digital director Christina Gomez, legal director Mimi Marziani, and fundraising director Adrienne Donato. I had interviewed most of them in Battleground’s earlier, happier times. As a species, field organizers tend to be sunny, even gratingly so (where political journalists are uniformly sullen), and that remained in force at their new offices on 1519 E. Cesar Chavez. The disaster in November has not caused them to second-guess the group’s core premise that Texas can one day turn blue. “The fundamental underlying demographics of Texas, people who are unregistered, the number of Democrats who voted in previous elections but not this one—taken together, it’s enough to win,” Jenn Brown told me. The theory that increased turnout in Texas will help its minority party would seem to be confirmed by the ruling party’s determination to make voting in Texas more difficult than elsewhere in America (about which more later).

Nonetheless, I could detect a whiff of humility among the group, albeit one mingled with defiance. In the first two years of its life, Battleground had received about $10 million in donations. Post-defeat, it would now have to get by with a fraction of that sum. It was in that somewhat wounded posture that the group discussed with me those areas where they must improve in order to have any relevance in future election

It’s a good read, and I encourage you to check it out. I came away from it with a fair amount of optimism that the hard-won lessons of 2014 were in fact learned, and future efforts will yield better results. A lot of things went wrong last year, some due to circumstance, some to inexperience, some to too many people who should be working together working instead at cross purposes. I’m glad they’re sticking it out for the longer term. Someone has to, and besides as I’ve said before, there are still plenty of opportunities to get involved this year and make a difference in local elections. Pasadena is one, but it’s far from the only one. There will be plenty of opportunities to make gains at the local level next year as well. BGTX has some work to do to mend fences and prove that they’ve learned from last year’s debacle – as the Trib reported last month, they spent a lot of time going around talking to volunteers and donors and whoever else would listen about those thing. But it’s not all on them. Ben Franklin’s words about hanging together or hanging separately ring as true now as ever. We are all on the same team. We should act like it. Trail Blazers has more.

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