One weird trick for maybe doing better with the next election

The Texas Democratic Party does another election post-mortem.

The odds were more stacked than usual against Texas Democrats this election cycle, with an unpopular president from their party going against them. Yet there was still hope and cautious optimism within the party that if anyone could pull off the upset, it would be Beto O’Rourke.

At a minimum, he could give a repeat performance of his 2018 matchup against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, where he came close enough to defeating the Republican — less than 3 percentage points — that Democrats could convincingly make the case that Texas is a battleground state worthy of national attention and investment.

Instead, O’Rourke, the most promising Texas Democrat in recent history, got walloped by Gov. Greg Abbott by 11 percentage points, and every other statewide candidate lost by double digits.

The drubbing has left Democrats in a familiar position: wounded after a disappointing election night while contemplating their strategy and their future.

“It’s been one [election] after another where we ramp everybody up and set up these expectations that we’re going to finish in first — and then we finish in second,” said Joel Montfort, a Democratic consultant in North Texas. “I don’t see any indication that we can win at statewide levels or won’t continue to bleed house seats to the other party.”

In an internal party memo obtained Thursday by The Texas Tribune, Democratic Party executive director Jamarr Brown blamed historic midterm trends, voting restrictions enacted in last year’s priority Republican legislation, redistricting that benefited the GOP, “mind-blowing” amounts of funding for Republicans, and a lack of national investment for Texas Democrats.

But perhaps the most damning mistakes Democrats identified in interviews and the memo was their inability to get voters to show up at the polls coupled with their candidates’ weak response to the GOP’s united messaging around immigration and the economy.

“We as Texas Democrats can no longer be seen as sticking our heads in the sand on issues that poll after poll tell us Texans care deeply about,” Brown said in the memo, singling out border security at length. “This election has made clearer the immense challenges we face over the next two years to continue making Texas into a state where all working families can thrive.”

O’Rourke’s campaign leaders are set to offer their own takeaways in a call with reporters on Monday.

Here’s what I think: I think we are not the ones that should be judging our performance. I think it’s past time to get some outside eyes in here and have a look at how we operate and what assumptions we make and what things we don’t do and render their opinion on it. Form a committee of politics knowers and doers from other states and let them at it. I’m thinking group of people from other mostly purple states, which is the status we are aiming for, with a diversity of ages, geographies (i.e., urban, suburban, exurban, rural), races, and expertises. I’d like to have folks from Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Georgia. I want a top to bottom look at everything, a set of reports that clearly states what we do well and what we don’t do well, and recommendations for action. I want it then to be shared with the SDEC, county parties, clubs and organizations, and affiliated friendly groups. Do whatever it takes to get the money to pay for all this, and then let it rip.

This may be impossible to do for any number of reasons. It may be that there are only medium-to-long term solutions available. It may be that we can’t really move forward without federal action on the border and immigration, which may very well involve legislative solutions that we Texas Democrats won’t like. It’s also super easy for an idiot on the Internet like me to propose such things. All I can say, after too many years of having the same feelings after the election, is that my first reaction upon seeing the headline to this story was “oh, not, not another one of these”. I personally would like to see us try something different this time. Take that for whatever it’s worth.

Related Posts:

This entry was posted in Election 2022 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to One weird trick for maybe doing better with the next election

  1. Manny says:

    Former Trump White House aide Kellyanne Conway on Monday tried to salvage some positive takeaways from the GOP’s lackluster showing in the midterm elections, claiming on Fox News that Republicans did not “lie and scare the voters in our closing arguments” to voters.

  2. Frederick says:


    I don’t appreciate your post.

    I just spewed coffee out of my mouth when I read about “lie and scare the voters in our closing arguments”.

    At first I thought Conway meant that the Dems lied/scared voters, which is farcical.

    Now I am wondering if she was actually disappointed/melancholy that Reps didn’t do their normal job and lie and scare voters.

    Hmmm, wondering.

  3. J says:

    This is a very good ìdea and one I hope the state party takes to heart. Way too many Dem no-shows at the polls.

  4. Look at how purplish Aridzona’s become in relatively short time. And, per Kuff’s federal action on the border issue, it’s a border state too, of course. Why can’t Texas do that? My own post-mortem as an unafiliated leftist.

  5. David Fagan says:

    13 days and counting…………

  6. Joel says:

    SG: “Why can’t a second party win in Texas?”

    – signed someone who spends all his energy trying to talk people into voting for a third party that gets 0.8% of the vote instead of the Democrats.

  7. Manny says:

    We should get a thumbs up or down, definitely thumbs for Joel.

  8. Pingback: Texas blog roundup for the week of November 28 – Off the Kuff

Comments are closed.