The two strongest competitors in the Texas Democratic U.S. Senate primary to defeat Ted Cruz are U.S. Rep. Colin Allred (Link to campaign website that has no issues section.) from the Dallas-area & Texas State Sen. Roland Gutierrez of San Antonio.
Rather than considering where they stand on issues,-Gutierrez seems somewhat to the left of aggressively centrist Allred-I'll base my vote on who I think will best generate turnout in the November election. This primary will cost millions of dollars that will go to consultants and TV ads & do nothing to strengthen grassroots organizing or build structure for November turnout. One of the main competitors will lose and the money spent on his campaign will disappear into the air.
We need high turnout in November to hold off Republicans in Harris County, defeat Ted Cruz, defeat as many Republicans as possible across Texas and win against Donald Trump. There is no point to conceding in advance. What if elected Democrats in safe legislative districts worked as hard as possible to generate turnout in low-turnout districts? It might make a big difference. It has never been tried.
All I want to know from Rep. Allred and Senator Gutierrez is how they will generate high Democratic turnout in November. The Congressman doesn't have an issues page on his website and the Senator bases his issues focus on polls. I know that because he told me.
At a Democratic rally in Houston last month, I asked Senator Gutierrez if he would be discussing protection of democracy in his campaign. He tried to shift the conversation to gun violence. I get that given he represents Uvalde. But it is not what I asked him. When I pressed him he told me "....guns polled second with Latinos and third with African-Americans." Once you tell me that I figure the rest of the platform is the result of polls as well. (Above is a picture I took of Sen. Gutierrez as he talked with a voter.)
So just tell us how you'll increase Democratic turnout.
The campaign websites for Mr. Allred and Mr. Gutierrez could have detailed plans of increasing statewide turnout. The plan could discuss the hiring of canvassing teams, how these teams will trained and how much they will be paid, what groups and organizations the campaigns will work with, how the campaigns will approach and work with local elected Democrats to boost turnout, what structure to drive turnout will they leave for the next election cycle & whatever I'm missing here.
Candidates and elected officials come and go. Our problems remain. Low voter turnout in Texas is persistent. The threat of national authoritarian government is imminent. Statewide Texas government is already in the hands of vote-suppressing extremists. Texas women have to leave the state for health care and Ken Paxton is seeking lists of trans Texans.
We likely won't see comprehensive plans on increasing turnout from either candidate. We'll just have to guess. What we can do for certain is press all Democratic candidates and incumbents about turnout & empower ourselves for the challenging days ahead by expecting more from the people we support at the ballot box.
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I'm Neil Aquino