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Winning In Texas-- In the Real Sense Of Winning

-by Julie Oliver

I’m saying this from a place of deep love and respect. The work of winning statewide in Texas begins by holding Democrats accountable. That's going to take some tough love. And it's going to take intellectual honesty with ourselves. But I think we're worth it and deserve it.

This is going to be a long thread, but the tl;dr is that you should go donate to all of these orgs doing the work that we so badly need in Texas. Then come back for the tea.

The fraudulence and corruption of the modern Republican Party is so plain it's almost barely worth even mentioning. So at a certain point, you have to ask yourself: Why can't Democrats win statewide in Texas? Against all this (waves hands at Texas GOP)?

Follow the money. Ask yourself: Why, in 2020, the most consequential election of our lives and with control of congressional and state maps for the next 10 years on the line, did Democratic elected officials in Texas finish their campaigns with tens of millions of dollars in unspent cash?

22.3k votes.

That's how close Texas came to NOT having a legislature that banned abortion, setting the country up for the GOP's lifelong goal of overturning Roe v Wade. That didn't target trans kids. That didn't invest in a climate resilient grid. 22,285 votes in 9 races.

Thousands of volunteers worked their hearts out for Democrats in 2018 and 2020 to try to flip Texas-- volunteering, phone-banking, registering voters, block-walking. It's painful to ask, but what did some elected Democrats do... besides just cruise to easy, gerrymandered victory?

Yes, Democrats in Texas face huge structural disadvantages. The effects of extreme, racialized voter suppression are real. The effects of toxic, 24/7 right-wing propaganda, propped up by lazy journalists who repeat their talking points are real. And everybody loses.

But at a certain point, some of the dynamics of voter suppression are self-imposed. At a certain point, some of the predicted losses become self-fulfilling. And at a certain point, you have to ask yourself-- who is benefitting from preserving the status quo?

There are Democratic elected officials in Texas that literally do not know how to run a field program. In precincts that are hugely, strategically important, in the youngest and most diverse parts of Texas. If you care about preserving our democracy, that should alarm you.

They can't be bothered to spend a single dollar to send a text or WhatsApp message-- let alone physically show up-- in working class communities over a 6-month period leading up to an election? And then they act surprised when low-income and young voters don't show up for them.

They ask people to show up at the Capitol to beg for their lives? Then they do a horse-trade deal with the chairman of the committee, before having their underpaid staff dash off an anti-Trump fundraising email? It's not just gross. It's immoral. We shouldn't stand for it.

So many of our problems transcend electoral politics. But the multiple crises we're facing as a country that must be addressed at scale-- the climate crisis, healthcare, wage stagnation, housing affordability-- are directly affected by the zero-sum game of who gets elected.

That knot will take all of us working together to untie. And that starts by investing in each other. So to put a point on it, elected Democrats: Start being team players, act with the urgency required, and invest your money in increasing turnout in general elections.

It's a tangled knot. But I feel an ethical responsibility to every person I've met who couldn't make rent, who didn't have insurance, who was worried enough about having a democracy or a planet to live on to do everything I can to unwind it-- or hack through it.

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