This week haw been incredibly busy, so enjoy a briefer-than-usual LinkSwarm:
— Izel (@i_z_e_l_s) January 12, 2015
Sadly, my previous analysis was right on the money. Straus maintained his hold on the Texas Speaker’s chair by a 127-19 margin over Scott Turner. For all the numerous Tea Party endorsements of House candidates (indeed, the North Texas Tea Party said that a vote for Straus for Speaker would preclude their endorsement), it seems that only a tiny minority of Tea Party-endorsed candidates are interested in challenging Straus’ iron grip.
I would be most interested in hearing behind-the-scenes information on how Straus has managed to continue to procure the votes of so many conservative Republicans despite widespread grassroots opposition to Straus’ Speakership…
With the defeat of Mary Landrieu, the Democratic Party no longer has a single national office holder anywhere in the South. In fact, with South Carolina re-electing Tim Scott, “there are now more black Republicans than white Democrats from the Deep South.”
Moe Lane says we shouldn’t be surprised by this turn of events:
It’s not demographics, and it’s certainly not gerrymandering, and shoot, it’s not even Barack Obama. It’s that the people who run the Democratic party [expletive deleted] hate the South.
And Southerners have noticed. It really does astound me that the national Democratic apparatus apparently thought that they could defecate on an entire section of the country for fifty years and still get that section to vote for them at the end of it.
Democrats: "I just don't understand why those gun-toting inbred redneck freaks in JesusLand won't listen to our message!" @moelane
— BattleSwarm (@BattleSwarmBlog) December 8, 2014
And least you think that Lane is exaggerating liberal contempt for the South, along comes Michael Tomasky to provide an outstanding example of what Lane was talking about.
Practically the whole region has rejected nearly everything that’s good about this country and has become just one big nuclear waste site of choleric, and extremely racialized, resentment. A fact made even sadder because on the whole they’re such nice people! (I truly mean that.)
With Landrieu’s departure, the Democrats will have no more senators from the Deep South, and I say good. Forget about it. Forget about the whole fetid place. Write it off. Let the GOP have it and run it and turn it into Free-Market Jesus Paradise.
And there’s your window into the Democratic Party’s id. The most economically dynamic part of the country is a “Fetid Free Market Jesus Paradise.” Tomasky has some advice for the Democratic Party: “At the congressional level, and from there on down, the Democrats should just forget about the place. They should make no effort, except under extraordinary circumstances, to field competitive candidates. The national committees shouldn’t spend a red cent down there.”
I heartily endorse this strategy for the Democratic Party (with the exception that they should continue to pour money down the rathole that is Battleground Texas). Because what could possibly go wrong with that strategy? Besides Republicans making significant inroads among Hispanic and black voters in those states?
It’s also revealing that Tomasky quotes (approvingly) that Democrats are “not going to ever be too good on gays and guns and God.” Well, good thing only 73% of Americans identify themselves as Christian. And unremitting hostility to gun ownership hasn’t exactly been a surefire electoral winner for Democrats…
It’s not just national-level Democrats either. The Statesman notes that there will be only seven “non-Hispanic white Democrats in the Texas House and Senate when the 84th session of the Legislature convenes in January.” That piece also notes that “In 1983, white Democrats held 21 of the 31 state Senate seats and 85 of the 150 House seats.”
In this really interesting interview with former Texas GOP chair Wayne Thorburn about his book Red State: An Insider’s Story of How the GOP Came to Dominate Texas Politics (which I’m going to have to pick up), he talks about how liberal Democrats actively drove conservatives out of their own party so they could take control of it:
Q The most ironic part about “Red State” for me is how Democratic liberals actually encouraged their followers to vote Republican as a way of driving conservatives out of their own party. That doesn’t appear to have been too smart in the long run.
A For many years beginning in the 1940s Texas politics consisted of contests between conservatives and liberals in the Democratic primary. The more ideologically committed liberals saw themselves as the “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party,” meaning that they were more in line with the northern wing in control of the national party. To gain control of the Texas party they needed to drive conservatives out of the Democratic primary, something that could be done only if the Republicans were a viable alternative. Thus, some prominent liberals endorsed a GOP candidate when the Democrats had nominated a conservative. This pattern began with John Tower in 1961 and continued on to include George H.W. Bush when he ran against Lloyd Bentsen for the U.S. Senate in 1970. Two old sayings come to mind: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” and “Be careful what you wish for.” The liberals succeeded in gaining control of the Democratic Party by 1976 when the contest between Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford drew nearly a half-million voters into the GOP primary. Two years later in 1978 their candidate knocked off Gov. Dolph Briscoe in the Democratic primary. The result of that, however, was the election of William P. Clements as the first Republican governor in 104 years. What the liberals failed to recognize was that most Texans were conservatives and to them ideology trumped party tradition and loyalty. As the Texas Democratic Party became more clearly liberal, the Republican Party was seen as the only conservative alternative in the state.
In short, it was the intolerance of liberal Democrats that drove voters away and turned Democrats into what Instapundit has dubbed “a dying regional party”…
Postscript: Actually, that first link says there are no more white Democrats holding office in the Deep South, however they define that. But there are still two white Democrats in the U.S. House from Texas: Lloyd Doggett and Beto O’Rourke, both of whom (I think) represent majority minority districts.
Here in Austin, we’re enjoying a temporary respite from Winter in November, but I don’t expect it to last long.
The growing impression that politicians don’t play straight with their constituents is completely toxic, particularly to Democrats, who actually want to use government to improve people’s lives. It’s one thing to downplay unpalatable choices made in the law; it’s another to never disclose the consequences of legislation until it’s too late for anyone to react. Combine that with the moustache-twirling of a Jonathan Gruber, saying that the idiots should be happy for what they got, and you have basically every conservative stereotype about liberal elites confirmed.
Also: ObamaCare is designed for people buying insurance through it to get a nasty sticker shock in year two. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
Despite a broad consensus that he’s too moderate and holding up important conservative legislation, conservatives in the Texas House failed to unseat Speaker Joe Straus in both 2010 and 2012. Since then, one Straus ally after another has fallen to more conservative challengers in the primaries. Will this session finally be the one where Straus is replaced?
Well, conservative are certainly going to try to oust Straus from the speaker’s chair. “Scott Turner, the freshman state representative challenging Joe Straus for House speaker, affirmed on Tuesday that he will insist on a floor vote on Jan. 13, the first day of session, come what may.”
Michael Quinn Sullivan makes the case for ousting Straus. (One would think that if Sullivan was as powerful as liberal reporters make him out to be, Straus would have been out of a job in 2011. But for all Sullivan’s considerable influence, Straus has managed to survive repeated attempts to kick him oust him.)
And Texas Tea Party groups are threatening to hold Reps accountable if they vote for Straus as Speaker again. Indeed, the North Texas Tea Party said as much on their website. Unfortunately, they decided to do so in an overheated and poorly-formatted screed interspersed with ALL CAPITAL LETTERS FOR EMPHASIS. Guys, you’re not posting on a BBS in 1984. Things like this make it entirely too easy for the opposition (in this case Straus-backing RINOs and their media enablers) to dismiss you out of hand.
However, as much as it pains me to report it, the more I read the tea leaves, the more I think Straus survives the challenge this time as well.
Conservatives were less than thrilled when Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, who owes his seat in large measure to running against Straus and beating Straus ally Vicki Truitt in 2012, announced he was supporting Straus for speaker.
Joining Capriglione are Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound), Ron Simmons (R-Carrollton), Phil King (R-Weatherford), Myra Crownover (R-Lake Dallas), James Frank (R-Wichita Falls), and Drew Springer (R-Muenster), who emailed the release to Breitbart Texas with a short message that it was “from leading North Texas conservatives on our position on the 84th session.” Straus was first elected Speaker in 2009, largely on the votes of the Democrats and moderate Republicans in the House. Since first taking up the Speaker’s gavel, Straus has faced criticism from various conservative groups and grassroots activists who view him as more of a moderate.
Now comes news that Straus theoretically has enough votes in the bag to stay speaker:
The list of House Republicans who have publicly backed Straus in the past week include Trent Ashby of Lukfin, Cecil Bell of Magnolia, Giovanni Capriglione of Southlake, Travis Clardy of Nacogdoches, Myra Crownover of Denton, Tony Dale of Cedar Park, Marsha Farney of Georgetown, James Frank of Wichita Falls, Larry Gonzales of Round Rock, Jason Isaac of Dripping Springs, Kyle Kacal of Pearland, Phil King of Weatherford, Tim Kleinschmidt of Lexington, J.M. Lozano of Kingsville, Doug Miller of New Braunfels, Morrison, John Otto of Dayton, Chris Paddie of Marshall, Tan Parker of Flower Mound, John Raney of Bryan, Ron Simmons of Carrollton, Drew Springer of Muenster and Paul Workman of Austin. Three newly elected Republicans who will join the Legislature in January — Dade Phelan of Beaumont, Gary VanDeaver of Clarksville and Rick Galindo of San Antonio — have also pledged support to Straus.
Et tu, Tony Dale? It’s disappointing that all three Williamson County Representatives (Dale, Larry Gonzalez and Marsha Farney) are backing Straus.
At this point, it’s beginning to look like conservatives will need to knock off Straus in the 2016 Republican primary to get rid of him…
A few more bits of 2014 election analysis:
With all the votes in, we can start analyzing some of odder aspects of the Texas statewide race results.
For those watching the race, it’s no surprise that (discounting 2006′s strange four-way race) Wendy Davis was the worst-performing Democratic gubernatorial candidate this century. The surprising thing is that, as bad as she was, Davis was the Democrat’s best statewide candidate this year. Her 38.9% was the highest statewide vote percentage by any Texas Democrat in 2014. Leticia Van de Putte’s 38.7% was the second highest. Otherwise statewide Democratic candidates ranged from a low of 34.3% for invisible Senate candidate David Alameel to a high of 38% for Attorney General candidate Sam Houston.
And those who said Abbott would outpoll Dan Patrick were right…but only by 1.2%.
Abbott took ten counties that Bill White won in 2010: Harris, Bexar, Brooks, Culberson, Falls, Foard, Kleberg, La Salle, Reeves and Trinity. Harris (Houston) and Bexar (San Antonio) are the 800-pound gorillas on that list. In 2012, Ted Cruz won Harris by 2% (while Romney was edged there by a thousand votes) while losing Bexar by 4%. For a while Democrats were able to stay competitive statewide by racking up big margins in those urban counties even while they were losing rural and suburban counties. If Republicans can now win those counties outright, it may be a long, long time before a Democrat can win statewide again.
Two statewide Republican candidates got more votes than Abbott’s 2,790,227: Senator John Cornyn and Land Commissioner-elect George P. Bush. The rest of the country may suffer from Bush-fatigue (though I imagine that it’s now dwarfed by Obama-fatigue), but you’d be hard-pressed to find signs of it in Texas…
Since Democrats failed to contest three statewide court races, both the Libertarian and Green parties reached the minimum 5% threshold to maintain ballot access in 2016.
Shockingly, David Weigel actually brings the wood when discussing Battleground Texas:
“These are the greatest geniuses of data in the f**king world and they can’t figure out that less people voted?” asked Carney. “Every publicly pronounced goal of Battleground, every one, has been an abject failure.”
Davis only out-performed the 2010 ticket in her home base of Tarrant County (Ft. Worth).
Oh, and it got worse. Abbott’s campaign said throughout the campaign that it would poach Latino voters, especially in the Rio Grande valley. A quick look at a Texas map might tell you that Abbott failed. Not quite true. Perry had lost Hidalgo County (McAllen) by 34 points; Abbott kept the margin down to 28 points. Perry had lost Webb County by 53 points; Abbott lost it by 39. In exit polling, Perry ended up pulling only 38 percent of the Latino vote. Abbott won 44 percent of it, about what was expected in a Texas Tribune poll that Davis allies tried to debunk. Abbott actually won Latino men, 50-49 over Davis. The Democratic wane and Republican outreach helped oust Rep. Pete Gallego, elected in 2012 in a district that sprawled across most of the border. He won 96,477 votes that year; he won only 55,436 this year, allowing black Republican Will Hurd to win, despite being out-fundraised 2-1.
Weigel may be a partisan, but at least he can read a spreadsheet…