Democrats fall in love. Republicans fall in line.
Once again, this political principle was on display this week's Primary election. Republicans, as expected, were out in much greater force than their Democrat counterparts, despite all of the hope and anticipation of positive developments like Battleground Texas. In the first statewide election since BGTX's founding, Democratic turnout was almost the same for 2014 as it was in 2010... dismal. The GOP side had easily twice the number of voters.
Houston Chronicle's editorial board seems to agree...
The tea party groups won also in this, their third election cycle, because they are knowledgeable and engaged and they show up. They contest every office.
Are you listening Democrats? Until the state's hapless minority party emulates the tea partiers, they'll continue to embarrass themselves with such beyond-the-fringe candidates as Kesha Rogers, a Fort Bend County follower of Lyndon LaRouche who has advocated impeaching President Obama and who carts around a poster of the president with a Hitler mustache. Rogers is a Democrat in name only, but low-information primary voters keep voting for her anyway.
Knowledgeable? Well, TEA-Publicans definitely show up. And they always bring a trove of consistent, even if rarely factual, talking points. And in the state's current voting environment, it's enough to wallop the Democratic side.
But the most frustrating part of all of this? Even if Republicans are out-voting Democrats by a 2 to 1 margin, the combined voter turnout is still abysmal. Fewer than 1.9 million people voted in this week's Primary election... roughly 0.5 percent of the state's population made these decisions for 26 million Texans. 12 million registered voters were nowhere to be found. Of the supreme oligarchy that does manage to get to the polls, many of them have no clue what or who they're voting for. There's no better evidence of this than the fact that a virtual unknown can draw over 114,000 votes just because they have a name of Hispanic origin. Reynaldo "Ray" Madrigal, a Corpus Christi native and Wendy Davis' only primary opponent, never even campaigned north of I-10.
After this week's contest, it's pretty easy to see why Texas Democrats are caught in a cycle of disappointment. They are still a weak party, but all is not lost. Some glimmers of hope (and likely evidence that Battleground Texas is making a difference) include increased voter turnout in urban counties, an improved fundraising apparatus and a literal ARMY of new volunteers. Check back for more insight into how statewide candidates did, and how they can win this November.