“This is what has triggered the Republican Party”

But, he added, no one he has spoken to is even close to leaving the Republican party for a Democrat at the moment. “It’s more of a dramatic eyeroll,” said Zavala, who previously worked for a Republican state legislature. “Like” I can’t believe what they did. ”

While Republican leaders have lost some support in recent weeks, James Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project, noted that the drop in Abbott’s approval ratings was largely due to independent voters, who did not present reliably to vote. Republican politicians here don’t seem baffled by the latest numbers of polls or reactions on social media on the left and more motivated by their primary and constant voters. Abbott has already convened a third special legislative session beginning Sept. 20, so the legislature can draw up new maps of Congress and state houses. There are also restrictions on transgender sports students and a ban on vaccination warrants.

The strategic National Democrat who called for anonymity argues that state Democrats face several obstacles, at least in part, from their own creation: no coherent message that attracts centrists and independent voters and the growing share of Latinos. of the State, nor any strategy for overcoming the Republican Party. election control, no large bank of candidates willing to take on Republican lawmakers. Thompson said he founded his group because there was no other obvious place to go. “I wish,” he said, “there was an organization that could stand up to what’s going on in Texas right now.”

Powered By People, Beto O’Rourke’s group that supports Democratic candidates, raised $ 200,000 last week, said Abhi Rahman, a Texas Democratic strategist. And much of that money will be used to register new voters and spread the word about candidates. But most Democratic groups are still trying to figure out how to take advantage of the increased energy and enthusiasm. “We’re trying to figure out what activism looks like,” said Chris Lazare, the organizing director of Real Justice PAC and a student of O’Rourke’s 2018 Senate campaign.

“Democrats are a little stunned,” added Mike Collier, who lost the lieutenant governor’s career in 2018 by 5 percentage points and will again challenge Republican incumbent Dan Patrick next year. Jeans are no strangers to conservative legislation, but usually the reaction is more muted. Collier said he has seen a recent increase in fundraising in his campaign and has spent the week posting emails and tweets highlighting new Republican legislation and talking about issues such as the state’s power grid failure on last winter and its rise in deaths in Covid.

David Cohen, co-founder of Forward Majority, a national group that focuses on helping Democrats win seats in the state, said he still hopes recent events can drive a new level of action: “What we’ve seen this last week underlines the criticism he has for Democrats to wake up and get serious about building lasting and lasting power in the state.

Texas has already been here, of course.

In 2013, the state debated another restrictive abortion law that required abortion clinics to meet hospital standards. State Senator Wendy Davis and her rose Mizunos then became instant national celebrities to hinder and block the bill. Although the bill was eventually passed, Davis raised nearly $ 1 million in the days following his obstacle, taking advantage of a network of small dollar donors that Democrats believed would transform the party and push Davis over Abbott to get the position of open governor.

But a series of wrong steps and bad weather (2014 turned out to be an election year for Republicans) ravaged the Davis campaign. He lost to Abbott by more than 20 percentage points.

Davis told me earlier this week that he believed he had changed a lot in Texas in the seven years since his loss. Texas has added millions of new residents in recent years, mostly to the city’s cities and suburbs. In 2018, Abbott and other Republicans lost Harris County, which includes Houston. Many of the provisions of the election bill Abbott signed Tuesday, such as a 24-hour ban on voting, go directly to Harris County’s 2020 pandemic voting measures.

Abbott himself has also changed. When he first ran for office in 2014, he trimmed the figure of a moderate Republican: he was “a sleeping attorney general,” in the words of Thompson, who founded the anti-Abbott group. “It just seemed so cold.” But this past year, with the threat of multiple Republican primary challenges, the governor has been clearly focused on appealing to voters from the Republican Party base.

Davis believes there is an openness for Democrats to stay focused on the message Republicans are addressing in primary voters, while ignoring basic issues like reducing Covid cases or solving the state’s power grid. “Is it the case that this is a wake-up call for some independent and moderate Republican voters to decide differently on the candidates who will support the next election cycle?” asked Davis, who started a nonprofit organization in 2016 called Deeds Not Words to organize young voters. “I definitely hope so.”

Texas State Representative Chris Turner, chairman of the House Democratic Committee, sees a different historical parallel. In 2017, Texas Republicans re-entered the war issues of conservative culture of the time, passing a law on partisan sanctuary cities and more restrictions on abortion and debating a law that would restrict the use of transgender restrooms. In 2018, Democrats, in part united by opposition to former President Donald Trump, had their best performance in years. They won seats in Congress and the State House and Senate, eliminated Republicans in the leadership of Harris County, and reduced margins in statewide races. O’Rourke lost to Republican Party Sen. Ted Cruz by less than 3 percentage points. When it rolled in 2019, Republican state lawmakers stayed away from the more controversial legislation, rather than focusing on reducing property tax increases and investing in education.

Next year, Trump will not participate in the vote, but yes, the new state legislation, according to Turner. The Texas Republican Party “went too far in 2021 and has a high risk of paying the price in 2022,” he said. It is “certain” that Democrats will have a full list of candidates willing to establish strong differences between parties next November; the submission deadline is still months.

For Thompson, this moment feels different from previous years, in part because of national attention in Texas. In response to the abortion law, the organizers of the Women’s March are planning events in all 50 states on October 2nd. Hundreds of members of Thompson’s group on Facebook responded to a post on the fly, sharing information about local events across the state. He believes the people in his group are ready to vote for any Democrat who stands against Abbott. “We’re fed up with losing,” he said.

But, Democrats say, the process to capitalize last week is just beginning. They may have too much ground to make up for, and there’s a real chance that by 2022, especially with a Democrat in the White House, it could turn out like the last election – maybe Texas will continue to tend to more purple, but without Democrats to point out. “This is a slow build,” Cohen told Forward Majority. “It’s not something that’s magical in a bottle, and it’s brought to fruition.”

Credit – https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/09/09/texas-hard-right-legislation-motivate-democrats-510676