Texas Liberal

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Texas Liberal Election Predictions

Here are my Texas Liberal election predictions. Please take them to the bank. They are certain to be correct.

President— Senator Obama will win 52.0% of the vote. Senator McCain will win 46.8%. 1.2% will go third party candidates. I don’t know what the final electoral vote count will be, but Mr. Obama will have at least the 270 needed for victory. That’s good enough.

Once in the voting booth, some of our fellow Americans, though not enough to shift the outcome, will have “second thoughts” about Mr. Obama. The motivation will in part be racial, but the larger factor will just be how fully different an Obama Presidency will be from we have known in recent years. Even a bad situation, if familiar, can be comforting. 

The racists have already made up their minds against Mr. Obama. But the good thing is that some racists will vote for Senator Obama and some of these people will see the world in a new way after Mr. Obama is President.

We all have room to grow. 

What will carry the the day for Mr. Obama will be increased turnout of black voters and young people. I don’t feel polls have captured these voters well. There are so many black folks who have just sat elections out over the years.

With the election of Mr. Obama we will be, for the time being at least, emancipated from the post 9/11 era of fear based politics. America’s political majority will be a multi-racial coalition of people who have hope for a decent future. 

That’s the side that I want to be on!

United States Senate—I predict 58 Democrats and 42 Republicans. Then 57 Democrats after Election Day when we do what is right and kick Joe Lieberman out of the Democratic caucus. This would be an overall gain of 7. 

I sure hope that Al Franken beats Norm Coleman in Minnesota. The Idea of Mr. Coleman sitting in Paul Wellstone’s seat just makes me sick.

United States House—I see a Democratic gain of 24 for a 257-178 Democratic Majority.

Here in Houston, Nick Lampson and Michael Skelly will lose their House races. Local Democrats will say how sad that all is, but in fact many Democrats will bid both men a hearty good riddance. Mr. Skelly’s campaign in particular has exceeded what is needed to win a Republican district. Is it really so that liberals are unlikely to be successful business people? As for Mr. Lampson, he got his two extra years in Congress and now he can pay his karmic debt for his terrible 2006 campaign. 

In my other hometown of Cincinnati, my parents will still be afflicted with Mean Jean Schmidt as their Congressperson, However, across town, increased black turnout is going to finally, after all these years, nail Steve Chabot. I don’t feel that my parents should move across town to live in the Democratic district. Maybe they could just drive over there every so often. 

Texas—Democrats will win back the Texas House, but fail to have a working majority because they refuse to move Texas into the 20th-century with a party-based majority system. Freelance House Democrats will hold out on the vote for Speaker to see who offers the best deal. Some will support a Republican for Speaker. The public will lose out and I’ll say I told you so.

Harris County, Texas—Democrats will win all offices but for County Judge Executive. They will win back the judgeships.  

The first thing I’ll be looking for is major reforms of how we conduct the death penalty in Harris County. Hopefully, the new District Attorney will pursue a course far less bloodthirsty and barbaric from what we have seen from the seemingly inhuman men who have been elected to this office in the ten years I’ve lived in Houston.

It will be up to rank-and-file Democrats and all people of Harris County to see that the new Democrats in Harris County office really represent a change. There is more to our county than traffic and hurricanes. There are many people who need help from government.

Urban voters are used by Democrats all the time. The switch to Democrats in Harris County reflects demographic trends, high turnout for Mr. Obama, and campaign money that flowed on in from big donors when it seemed likely Democrats could win the county. It is not some grassroots rebellion.

They’ll use us if we let them. Let us remain vigilant and make life better in our county.   

For those opposed to my views this Election Day, I offer nothing but the back of my hand. For those on my side of the aisle, let’s hope that this time the wheel lands on our number.

November 2, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Cincinnati, Houston, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Texas U.S. House District 22—Facts, History & Views

Texas U.S. House district 22 is up for grabs in 2008.

Here are some facts, history and views on this race. 

Texas U.S. House district 22, previously held by disgraced former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, is now held by Democrat Nick Lampson.  

( Here is a photo of Mr. Lampson. He is happy in this picture.)  

Here is some information about Mr. Lampson from the 2008 Almanac of American Politics

Lampson grew up in Beaumont; he got his first job sweeping floors at age 12 when his father died. After graduating from Lamar University, he taught science in Beaumont schools, leading the first local Earth Day celebration in 1979, and then taught a real estate management course at Lamar; he also headed a home health care company. In 1977, he was elected Jefferson County tax assessor; he claimed to cut the cost of tax collections during his 18 years on the job. In Lampson’s previous House stint, he had a moderate voting record and was a member of the New Democrat Coalition. He promoted the Johnson Space Center from his Science Committee assignment and also looked after local needs from his perch on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. In 2003, Lampson fell victim to the 2003 redistricting plan that was designed to oust Anglo Democrats like him. Republican Ted Poe defeated him 56%-43% the next year in the newly formed 2d District.

On the Republican side, an April 8 runoff will decide the nomination.

One of the two Republicans in the runoff, Pete Olson, a former chief of staff to far right-wing Texas Senator John Cornyn, is a conventionally awful conservative Republican.

Mr. Olson is your man for more war, more tax cuts for the rich and no progress on universal health care.

The other candidate, former Houston City Councilwoman Dr. Shelley Sekula Gibbs , is uniquely awful.

Due to a quirk in electoral law, Ms. Sekula Gibbs served a two-month term in the U.S. House between Election Day 2006 and Congressional Inauguration Day 2007.

Here is an account of that term from the Associated Press after staffers resigned citing mistreatment by Ms. Sekula Gibbs  —

The staff members have a combined thirty-plus years of experience working on the Hill,” Mr. James wrote. “Never has any member of Congress treated us with as much disrespect and unprofessionalism as we witnessed during those five days.”

Ms. Sekula-Gibbs has raised eyebrows on Capitol Hill, largely because of the resignations. Earlier, she told reporters she planned to resolve such thorny issues as tax cuts, immigration reform and the Iraq war — all in less than two weeks of a lame-duck Congress”

Despite how lousy the Republicans are, voting for Mr. Lampson is a judgement call.

On one hand, in 2006 Mr. Lampson  campaigned to the right in order to win a Republican-leaning district. George W. Bush won 64% here in 2004. Sometimes you do what you have to do.

On the other hand, Lampson’s 2006 campaign seemed at times further to the right than required. Specifically egregious in my view was an ad criticizing Dr. Sekula Gibbs for routine city council votes on water and sewer rate hikes.

Cities have to be able to function.

Here is Representative Lampson’s campaign page

You could argue that as long as Mr. Lampson supports Nancy Pelosi for House Speaker and votes with Democrats as often as political realities allow, why not take the best you are going to get in tough circumstances?

Or, you could argue that we are not always obligated to take the least-bad option. Sometimes you can just leave a blank spot on your ballot. If we always take the least-bad option, we’ll just end up being used.

For example, as a lifelong resident of cities, I’ve long felt Democrats take the votes of black folks in every election, but often offer little in return.  

On Election Day, you might be able to stomach Mr. Lampson and vote for him. Or you might feel it is all too much. We’ll see how obnoxious Mr. Lampson’s campaign is in 2008.     

This is a basic dilemma in districts where a candidate for the minority party in the area has to contort his or herself to get elected.

( Photo of contortionist.)

The 22nd Congressional district of Texas is in the Houston metropolitan area. A focus in the district is on the growing suburban city of Sugar Land. 80,000 of the 22nd’s 800,000 people live in Sugar Land. (Here is a history of Sugar Land.) 

The district includes portions of Fort Bend, Brazoria, Galveston and Harris counties. While Sugar Land is in Fort Bend ( Which is a big place with nearly 500,000 people), roughly half the district lives in Harris County.

Other communites in the 22nd include Pasadena, Santa Fe, La MarqueWebster, La Porte and Pearland.

Some these places are aging industrial areas while others are newer suburbs.

In contrast to booming Sugar Land, Pasadena is an established center of industry. 140,000 people live in Pasadena. (Here is a history of Pasadena.)

( Photo of Pasadena, Texas.) 

Houston suburbs are very ethnically diverse. This is a strong point of Houston and the Houston area. The 22nd is counted as 8% Asian, 9% black and with 20% of Hispanic origin.  

An important source of jobs in this Republican district is the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Republicans are fine with government spending when they are the ones cashing the checks.

(Relative importance of Texas-22 as seen from moon. Here are some basic facts about the moon. )

 

Good luck to liberal and progressive voters in Texas U.S House district 22—You’ll need it!

March 11, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Houston, Politics, Texas, Texas Primary '08 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments