Optimistic piece by Chris Tomlinson about Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa. The "five-touch strategy" for getting out the vote that has been implemented in other places, including Dallas, is encouraging.
There is a comment that needs to get unpacked:
"Many Hispanics also do not believe it was a coincidence that Republican lawmakers cut $4.3 billion in education funding the same year Hispanic children became the majority of public school children, Hinojosa added."
The school funding cuts are INDEED a manufactured crisis and not a "natural disaster" related to the Texas economy. This isn't about belief. Check out this 2006 letter warning Perry about this in a 2006 letter from Comptroller Strayhorn to Governor Perry and others have knowingly created this crisis that has resulted in massive budget cuts last session and that portend to do so in the next: http://www.window.state.tx.us/news/60515letter.html
Published: 9:10 p.m. Saturday, July 7, 2012
Using rough numbers and optimistic assumptions, Texas
Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa figures 70 percent of Texans
should be inclined to vote for his party's candidates.
off the party's traditional supporters and their percentage of the
population: Hispanics are 40 percent, African Americans are 15 percent
and progressive whites add at least another 15 percent.
trouble, Hinojosa admits, is that the majority of those people are not
voting for anyone. As the new chairman of a party that hasn't won a
statewide election since 1994, he acknowledges that it's his job to get
them to the polls.
"The numbers are out there," Hinojosa told The
Associated Press. "The role of the Texas Democratic Party is to deliver
The 2010 gubernatorial race provides a yardstick.
Former Houston Mayor Bill White — who had plenty of campaign cash —
garnered 2.1 million votes against Gov. Rick Perry, who handily won
re-election by 631,036 votes. To win, Hinojosa needs to boost voter
turnout by at least 10 percent and get them all to vote for his party's
candidate. No easy feat.
"We're not going to win just by
increasing one segment's turnout," Hinojosa said, rejecting a popular
belief among Democrats that Hispanics alone can return them to power.
are two things that turn out the vote: big issues and exciting
candidates. Hinojosa believes that Republican policies on illegal
immigration, health care, public education and college tuition will give
Democrats a boost in the years to come, particularly among Hispanics
and young voters.
Last year, Perry made local enforcement of
federal immigration laws an emergency priority, angering many Hispanics
who believe the proposed law would lead to racial profiling. Many
Hispanics also do not believe it was a coincidence that Republican
lawmakers cut $4.3 billion in education funding the same year Hispanic
children became the majority of public school children, Hinojosa added.
new federal health care law, which Republicans oppose, would benefit
most low-income Texans, who tend to vote Democratic. And the
Republican-controlled Legislature has slashed funding for state
universities and colleges, angering young voters.
To win, Hinojosa
said Democrats must address other liberal issues that motivate core
supporters, something the party hasn't always done in the past. Hinojosa
admits he was one of the party leaders who thought pushing centrist
positions was the way to win back independents and attract Republican
"They have left — not to return," Hinojosa said, adding that hard-core Democratic supporters lost interest and stopped voting.
party will no longer hesitate to embrace issues important to the base,
such as abortion rights, decriminalization of marijuana and equal
marriage rights for nonheterosexuals, Hinojosa said. The party's
platform takes liberal stances on many issues, and Hinojosa did not try
"We don't believe people should be doing drugs,"
Hinojosa said, explaining why the party wants possession of small
amounts of marijuana to be a misdemeanor. "We know young people will do
things experimentally, and they should not have their entire lives
destroyed for one mistake."
The party can look to Nevada, Colorado
and Dallas County for lessons on how to boost turnout. Dallas has
turned blue because Democrats there ran a coordinated campaign and
implemented a "five-touch strategy" to get out the vote. Activists
contacted every potential voter at least five times to make sure they
cast their ballots, Hinojosa said.
"We know the base is underperforming and needs a little love," he said.
is no shortage of young, charismatic Democratic candidates, Hinojosa
added, naming San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro; his twin brother, state
Rep. Joaquin Castro; Fort Worth state Sen. Wendy Davis; and Dallas state
Rep. Rafael Anchia as potential statewide candidates.
an A-team," Hinojosa said. But he added, "They don't believe the party
can provide them with the support they need to win."
In order to
give them a fighting chance, the party must guarantee at least 48
percent of the people casting ballots will pick the Democratic
candidate, he explained. The candidate is then close enough to get
themselves over the 50 percent mark by winning over the undecided
voters, he said.
Looking back at White's 42 percent in 2010,
Hinojosa said the party has a lot of work to do, and he set minimal
expectations for November. The party's priorities will be turning out
Democrats in the Houston and San Antonio areas to secure them as
Democratic strongholds and to ensure Davis' re-election in Fort Worth,
If the 2010 governor's race shows how far Democrats have
to go, the 2008 election results demonstrate what's possible. While John
McCain won by 12 percent in Texas, more than 3.5 million voters cast
ballots for President Barack Obama. That's 1.4 million more Democrats
voting in 2008 than in 2010, and more than twice the number White needed
to beat Perry.
Hinojosa's job is to convince those people to vote all of the time.