Sunday, September 21, 2003

What the Texas Democrats should do next...

Here is my contribution to the Blogburst that is being coordinated by the Texas Democrats No. 1 blogger Charlie Kuffner:

The Democrats showed a spark of life this year for the first time since losing all their statewide officeholders.
By showing a little backbone and doing something outrageous to protest the GOP's re-redistricting they garnered national attention and energized much of their core constituency.
Now even if the Republicans ultimately succeed with their mid-decade Perrymandering scheme, at least the Democrats didn't just roll over and take it like chumps. Now the question is how can they keep that spark of life going into the foreseeable future?

First, the Party should make a big issue of trying to save the Congressmen who are being targeted by the re-redistricting effort. Nick Lampson, Jim Turner, Chet Edwards, Charlie Stenholm, heck even Ralph Hall, should be the focal point of a statewide or perhaps nationwide Democratic effort to deny Tom Delay his illicit victory. And even if some or all of them lose, they should be encouraged to run for other statewide offices in the next election. Have one of the ex-congressmen challenge a Republican state senator or try to win back some of the statewide offices that are now under GOP control.

Second, the Party should make sure that they have a viable candidate in every statewide race next time around. Leaving so many open spots on the last general election ballot was a debacle for the Democrats. We can't cede anything to the Republicans without losing more and more ground. And worse, failure to run candidates in every race opens the way for those Republican dupes better known as the Green Party.

Third, don't let the Party's message become too centered around divisive issues - such as race and religion. The Democratic Party's strength is in its diversity. If there is a group of people who are opposed to one issue, try and find common ground on some other topics. The Democratic Party's primary focus should be good government. We are the party that believes that government of the people can and does work. We should never shy away from defending the principles of good government and we should always be ready to point out the shortcomings of the Republicans' anti-government philosophy.

I was proud to be a Democrat again this year and I'm sure I am not alone. The Democratic Party can and should take advantage of this situation and just remember that the tide will turn back again, perhaps sooner than many people are expecting.

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