This is just a quick one, without any ponderous pondering. Common Dreams has a an article or an opinion piece involving Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez almost every day. Two recent pieces about her Madd Twitter Skillz have caught my eye: this one and this one. And almost every time there's a teaser about an AOC item, I click through.
While I'm under no illusions that Alex from the Bronx is a dyed-in-the-wool Democratic socialist or the Millennial political savior for US Progressives, she is a phenomenon well worth watching. Seeing how Republican legislators respond to her very presence in the House and her public statements interests me. Seeing how members of her own party respond—not just her colleagues in Congress, but other high-profile liberals as well--fascinates me. (See Mike Figueredo's analysis of Whoopi Goldberg's gentle condescension below.)
AOC fits into my "public service" model of political figures. Her progressive stances on various issues contrast sharply with those of the corporate Democrats in Congress. Progressives who somehow break through the neoliberal wall and get elected, or even get regular allotments of TV time, provide a public service by showing just how corporatist the Democratic Party leadership has become.
In public appearances with AOC, establishment Democrats twitch uncomfortably, worried that she might start talking about Green New Deals and Medicare for All. In op-eds, they whip out adjectives like naive and unrealistic, or more diplomatic equivalents.
AOC may be 28, and not as well schooled in How Things Work in DC as her colleagues. But she knows one very important and undeniable fact: Shit is fucked up, and it's up to ordinary people to fix that. Elected representatives won't do the right thing until the people force them to. The corporate Dems need to get used to that ASAP.
If you're just tuning in, this blog has featured multiple entries centered around or casually mentioning Ranked Choice Voting and other Instant Runoff–style systems. The one in which I scolded Samantha Bee for her binary thinking is my favorite of the bunch.
Several days after Jared Golden in Maine's 2nd Congressional district became the first person to win a federal election via Ranked Choice Vote, I'm finally getting around to saying something about it directly here at dbcgreentx.net. And what I'm saying is...I'm psyched. RCV won't always produce the results we want, or even results we can tolerate, but it will reflect the will of the majority. Despite outgoing Rep. Bruce Poliquin's petulant protest (and lawsuit), RCV is also the will of the voting majority in Maine; it worked, and I'm pleased as Punch.
I'm about to do what I call Kuffnering—not the thing Chuck Kuffner does wherein 85% of his post is one gigantic blockquote from the Houston Chronicle or other such, but the thing wherein he tosses out a whole bunch of numbers and proceeds to draw some conclusions (or at least strong inferences) from them. I haven't given the blockquote thing a name yet.
This entry is light on links; go look up stuff for yourself.
Some of you who pay attention to electoral matters already know some of the facts I'm about to relate. But now that I've seen the numbers on US House elections in Texas and some other states, I'm mildly shocked.
To see the analysis of Texas's Congressional races, click the Read more link and scroll down past the California and North Carolina sections.
Texas's 23rd Congressional district stretches from San Antonio west to the Rio Grande and up to the eastern edge of El Paso. It is larger in area than several US states. Brewster County alone is larger than Connecticut, but it contains fewer than 10,000 residents. You can waltz across the district without many people to get in your way or try to cut in.
In this century, it has also been one of the state's swingiest: Republicans tend to win, but by slim margins. It is also majority-LatinX, shining a harsh light on the myth that the Texas LatinXes lean heavily Democratic.
As of today, in the TX-23 House race, two-term incumbent Will Hurd holds a 1,150-vote lead over Democratic nominee Gina Ortiz Jones. That margin has increased since last week's figure of 689, but it is still well within the statutory amount to justify a recount request. Per the Texas Election Code, the margin must be less than 10% of the winner's vote total, and Hurd's count currently stands at 102,903; chop off the last digit to calculate the recount limit.
Some other links to share:
I couldn't resist using that for a headline. (Translation: Sorry, I couldn't think up a cleverer headline than that.)
About a week before Election Day, I began earnestly considering transferring (or perhaps expanding) my allegiance into the Movement for a People's Party. I have already signed up to volunteer and should soon receive an organizing packet from the group's membership coordinator.
In lieu of a big, momentous announcement of a new direction, this post is my "soft opening." I just hope it works out better than my declaration last summer that I would be working with Lina Hidalgo's campaign and rebooting the county chapter of Move to Amend—neither of which, to my continued bewilderment, actually happened. (This is a great illustration of why I prefer not to make plans.)
Of all the progressive post-Bernie spin-offs that I've seen, only MPP has held firm to its doctrine that the Democratic Party is not a friend to Progressives. This is not equal to saying that individual Democratic candidates or voters are all to be painted with the Enemy Brush; however, per MPP, neither corporate party is reformable from within, and neither is not worth our time, money, or labor.
Becoming a Brana Bro
As if to confirm my lingering suspicions, MPP organizer and spokesperson Nick Brana appeared in a lengthy segment with Jimmy Dore et al Friday, wherein Brana said a lot of things that got me nodding along. Most pertinent of all is this: Whatever joy Democrats and their friends may get from reclaiming a majority in the US House, plus picking up a few governorships, this victory for the Democratic Party and its candidates is not a victory for Progressives, their policies, or indeed for the planet.
Everybody's got an opinion the week after the landslide, and the Texas Progressive Alliance rounds up the best (and worst) of them in a ride around the Texblogosphere to celebrate the Democrats' big wins—and mourn the losses—from last Tuesday.
It's also the day following the Armistice Centenary, or the celebration of the ending of WWI, a hundred years ago. As Caitlin Johnstone noted, the best way to thank veterans for their service is to not make any more of them.
Here in Texas, at least, no state- of federal-level races from last Tuesday remain undecided. The same cannot be said for Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and Maine. In those states, it's all down to the three "R's": recounts, runoffs, and Ranked Choice Voting.
I didn't cover Georgia in a recent post about the other three states because I don't foresee Brian Kemp's gubernatorial vote total falling below 50%. If Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams does not force a runoff by raking in about 21,000 additional votes while Kemp earns 0, Kemp's victory is assured. However, everyone in Georgia who shapes state policy will know that Kemp cheated or gamed the system in multiple ways, starting with that whole keeping-his-job-as-Secretary-of-State-right-through-Election-Day business. He will not be a legitimate governor.
This synopsis of the US Senate race--from January of 2017 to last Tuesday—by Patrick Svitek and Abby Livingston of the Texas Tribune is the best ten-minute read on how the most important election in Texas unfolded.
RG Ratcliffe at Texas Monthly corrected the knobs at Politico about O'Rourke's shunning the use of political consultants as a reason why he lost. RG also had the best morning-after quick takes.
Beto's extremely long coattails for a losing candidate were the focus of many stories: Tarrant County turning purple, Fort Bend and Hays turning blue, the appellate courts flipping, the sweeps in Harris and Dallas Counties.
Here's an update on the CA-34 top-two Congressional race mentioned on this blog a few days ago. The turnout is a little less appalling, up over 100,000 total votes at this point. Green candidate Kenneth Mejia's count is at 25.98% and rising as the absentee tally continues.
In case anyone needs reminding, to most of the voting world, a 74-26 margin looks like a slaughter. For a minor-party apparatchik, a 26% showing against a corporate-party incumbent is pretty damn impressive.
As a bonus, a little ways down the San Diego Freeway, the Blue Wave appears to have wiped out Republican former surfer Dana Rohrabacher in CA-48. Once upon a time back in the 1990s, Rohrabacher was something of a moderate, at least on social issues, but he has moved rightward with the rest of his party. Apparently his Orange County district hasn't kept pace with that rightward migration. In 2016, he won re-election by a comfortable 58-42 margin, even while Hillary Clinton won it with 48% to 46% for What's-His-Face.
While the Democratic Hate Brigade has been raining toxic Tweets upon Angela Green for "spoiling" the Senate race in Arizona, they may be missing the real story. Late vote tallies now put Democrat Kyrsten Sinema ahead by 9,000 votes, 0.5%.
Green, the Democrat-turned-Green, a week before Election Day, halfway through early voting and after she had already bagged about 30,000 votes. Sinema, the Green-turned-Democrat, may just hang on to flip John McCain's long-held Senate seat.
Meanwhile, AZ Central has posted another article about Green's not-entirely-by-the-book run, from her switching party affiliation last year to her write-in primary campaign to the headline-grabbing belated withdrawal and endorsement of Sinema. It contains a little more detail than last week's piece.
Colorado Green activist Gary Swing, now the avatar of the Boiling Frog Party, has posted a lengthy Facebook status about the Angela Green kerfuffle, with a link to a lengthier blog post of his from 2015.
This is Part III of the DBC Green's digestion and eructation of the 2018 General Election. Part I covers statewide and legislative races in Texas; Part II, races for Harris County government offices.
This time out, we'll look at Congressional races, governorships in the Lesser 49, ballot measures of interest to Progressives, and a few other topics. I also invite you to spend 15 minutes with Mike Figueredo, who sums things up from his progressive viewpoint in this installment of The Humanist Report. (Content Warning: Much more than usual for him, Figueredo refers to the Democrats as "we." Although he despises corporate Democrats, he has the same inner-Democrat force-of-habit reflex that I have.)
This is Part II of a series that I started yesterday. Part I looks at elections for statewide and legislative offices in Texas. Part III looks at the broader, nationwide picture.
Whether the old guard in Harris County likes it or not, the county has a new chief executive. It also has a Commissioners Court with a Democratic majority for the first time in decades, Democrats in nearly all executive positions, and Democrats presiding over the courts. But the face of this evolution/revolution is County Judge-elect Lina Hidalgo.
Congratulations to Ms. Hidalgo, her campaign team, and a county Democratic Party apparatus that has returned from the mostly-dead.
Check out these election results (PDF), and then compare them to 2014's. (Also check out the new-jack HTML version of the results page.)
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
Here you will find political campaign-related entries, as well as some about my literature, Houston underground arts, peace & justice, urban cycling, soccer, alt-religion, and other topics.