Sunday, December 22, 2019

The Year of Texas Democrats — 2020 Primary


There aren’t 20 Senate Republicans with enough integrity to remove the most corrupt president in American history, so we’re going to have to get rid of Trump the old-fashioned way – by electing a Democrat next 3 November. Texas Democrats have the motivation to have Texas add the state’s 38 electoral votes to electing that Democratic president - and more.

Texas has been slowly but steadily trending Democratic for years. Democrats have moved the ball further down the court each election over the last few election cycles as the demographics of Texas’ population slowly but surely evolve to their advantage.

The case for Democrats winning Texas in 2020 begins with this: Texas hasn’t been a red state, so much as it’s been a non-voting state for left-leaning Texans. For more than a generation, left-leaning Texans lack motivation to go to their polling places to vote for Democrats. They believed Republicans had such a lock on Texas politics that Republicans would win, each election, no matter what. So they didn’t “waste their time” by dropping by their local polling place to vote for Democrats on the ballot, who, in there mind’s eye, could never win. But that has been changing with each passing election - and accelerating each passing day since since Donald Trump moved into the White House. Increasingly, left-leaning Texans are seeing in their mind’s eye that it is possible for Democrats to win Texas - and that’s Texas Democrats’ most powerful secret weapon in 2020.

New Texas residents don’t suffer from the old mindset that Republicans have an unbreakable lock on Texas elections. Texas saw a 1.3 percent increase in population between 2017 and 2018. Esri, a mapping and data analytics company, explains that growth to Texas is coming from transplants deciding on Texas for their next chapter in life for themselves and families, and leaving behind their roots in New York, California, Colorado, Virginia, North Carolina and Arizona. The result has been the growth of the suburbs in Texas’ major cities, and new residents from states that historically leaned Democratic. In 2018, state elections in Texas were among the most competitive in years for Texas Democrats.

In 2018, motivated by Trump, a newly mobilized Democratic coalition of young people, suburban women, college educated men, and minorities demonstrated their growing power by turning out statewide to vote Beto O’Rourke in record numbers. At the top of the ballot, the Democratic Party’s nominee for Texas’ U.S. Senate seat, O’Rourke, came within 2.6 points of defeating incumbent Ted Cruz. Beto further closed the gap of Republican dominance in Texas after Barack Obama lost to Mitt Romney by sixteen percentage points in 2012 and Clinton narrowed the gap to just nine points in 2016. Furthermore, two of Texas’ Republican-held congressional districts were flipped to Democratic control in 2018, five others came close to flipping, and two state Senate seats flipped from Republican to Democratic control.

A million first-time voters turned out in November 2018 with more than two thirds of them registering after the 2016 presidential election, and three quarters were under the age of fifty. Perhaps more consequential in the long run: Democrats made big gains in almost all of the state’s major cities and surrounding suburban counties.

November national polling shows 65 percent of Republicans aren't "proud" of Trump and just 58% say they are "excited" about him. That softness in support for Trump is confirmed in a December national poll from Civiqs that again asks voters about their support for Trump. Civiqs laid out six scenarios for respondents: I support President Trump, and there's almost nothing that could change that; I support President Trump right now, but I'm open to changing my mind if things change later; I neither support nor oppose President Trump; I oppose President Trump right now, but I'm open to changing my mind if things change later; I oppose President Trump, and there's almost nothing that could change that; unsure. Here's the results:
  • Support Trump, won't change: 30%
  • Support Trump, could change later: 14%
  • Neither support nor oppose Trump: 3%
  • Oppose Trump, could change later: 5%
  • Oppose Trump, won't change: 48%
  • Unsure: 0%
Two things, nationally, jump out about those numbers immediately: 1) 14% of Trump supporters are open to changing their mind about him; 2) stalwart opposition to Trump registers nearly 20 points higher than diehard support for him. Additionally, Trump's growth opportunities are minimal since literally 0% are unsure about him and only 8% seem tepidly open to supporting him.

National polls throughout 2019 have repeatedly confirmed hardened voter opposition to Trump. Only about a third of voters are firmly committed to his reelection. Those national numbers are pretty low for an incumbent, and as businesses from around the nation continue to relocate their employees to Texas’ metro area suburbs in large numbers, those employees move their political views with them. Trump remains more unpopular than popular with most Texans. More Texas voters disapprove of Trump’s job performance (49 percent) than approve (43 percent), according to a recent poll conducted by the University of Texas at Tyler. According to FiveThirtyEight, Trump’s popularity in Texas remains far below what it should be given the state’s significant Republican lean.

For the 2020 election cycle, Democrats across Texas are mounting drives to push those energized 2018 suburban voters back to the polls while also recruiting more new voters. In a sharp break with past strategy, Texas Democrats are not focused on getting a lot of older, white voters, who have been voting Republican, to switch their allegiance back to Democrats. Instead, the party is focused on registering 2.6 million people across Texas, county by county, identified as likely left-leaning voters.

“If Texas turns back to a Democratic state, which it used to be, then we’ll never elect another Republican [president] in my lifetime,” Texas’ Republican U.S. Senator John Cornyn said earlier this year. Texas’ electoral college votes has been a presidential firewall for Republicans since Ronald Reagan won the state in 1980.

Both Democrats and Republicans have a case to make for why they’ll win Texas in 2020. And it’s not just about winning the White House. Democrats, almost too many running for some individual offices, have lined up to challenge Republicans up and down the ballot in the metro corridors of Texas, and statewide. The fact is, the data shows Texas is the biggest battleground state in the nation in 2020.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Record Greenhouse Gases Accelerates Climate Change

The tell-tale signs and impacts of climate change – such as sea level rise, ice loss and extreme weather – increased during 2015-2019, which is set to be the warmest five-year period on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere have also increased to record levels, locking in the warming trend for generations to come.

The WMO report on The Global Climate in 2015-2019, released to inform the United Nations Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit, says that the global average temperature has increased by 1.1°C since the pre-industrial period, and by 0.2°C compared to 2011-2015.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Climate Activist Greta Thunberg At the United Nations


Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg
spoke at the United Nations on Monday
about climate change, accusing world
leaders of inaction and half-measures.
Text of Greta Thunberg’s full remarks:

This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet, you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!

You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words and yet I'm one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!

Friday, July 19, 2019

Understanding Donald Trump and The GOP


We originally published this article in December 2015. It seems the right time to again move this article front and center.

The GOP finds itself trapped in its southern strategy that has not only gone bad, but has left it exposed naked in full public view.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

It’s Time For Democrats To Drive A Stake Through The Heart Of Reaganomics

Donald Trump today awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Republican economist Art Laffer, the ‘godfather’ of supply-side trickle down Reaganomics. Laffer’s contributions have built a streak of unbroken Republican policy wrongness over a time and scale few policy entrepreneurs in history can match. Trump is giving Laffer the award because last year he coauthored a fawning tribute to President Trump and his agenda. Trump is known to habitually reward his most slavish supporters.

Reaganomics is President Ronald Reagan's conservative economic policy that promised to subsantially shrink the federal government and government spending, and reduce the government's influence on the economy.

Reagan’s legislative agenda implemented an era of laissez-faire economic policy that promoted unregulated “free markets” and untaxed “capitalism” where corporate tax rates and capital gains rates for individuals were effectively diminished, as near as possible, to zero.

Dubbed supply-side, or trickle-down, economics, President Reagan’s economic policy was to reduce, and where possible, elminate taxes on businesses and the wealthy in society as a means to stimulate business investment. Reagan’s theory of trickle-down economics held that corporations and the wealthy would directly invest the money they don’t pay to the government in taxes into business development, which creates jobs, and supports social institutions, which benefits society at large. The theory says that as companies get more cash from tax cuts, they will hire new workers and expand their businesses. It also says that income tax cuts to workers give them more incentive to work, increasing the supply of labor.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

No Centrist Middle Ground for Democrats

Who said: “Socialism is a scare word (the corporate special-interest lobbies) have hurled at every advance the people have made in the last 20 years. Socialism is what they called public power. Socialism is what they called social security. Socialism is what they called farm price supports. Socialism is what they called bank deposit insurance. Socialism is what they called the growth of free and independent labor organizations. Socialism is their name for anything that helps all the people…”? It wasn’t Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Who said: “We are rightly proud of the high standards of medical care we know how to provide in the US. The fact is, however, that most of our people cannot afford to pay for the care they need. I have often and strongly urged that this condition demands a national health program. The heart of the program must be a national system of payment for medical care based on well-tried insurance principles. This great nation cannot afford to allow its citizens to suffer needlessly from the lack of proper medical care”? It wasn’t Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Elizabeth Warren Is Not Afraid of Democrats

The 2020 presidential candidate has a long track record of opposing lobbyists, billionaires, the Republicans—and her own party’s centrists. When Senator Elizabeth Warren declared that she was running for president in February, she described Donald Trump’s administration as “the most corrupt in living memory.” But she didn’t stop there: “Even after Trump is gone, it won’t be enough to do a better job of running a broken system,” she said. Warren’s speech was centered around the notion that political corruption is not a uniquely Republican problem. “To protect their economic advantages, the rich and powerful have rigged our political system as well,” she continued. “They’ve bought off or bullied politicians in both parties to make sure Washington is always on their side.”

Anyone who’s followed Warren’s career knows she’s been making statements like this for years. These are all implicit criticisms of the Democratic Party’s centrist policies charted by President Bill Clinton and adopted as party orthadoxy over the last quarter century. But her position is suddenly mainstream.

Read the rest of the story at: The Nation: Elizabeth Warren Is Not Afraid of the Democrats

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Green New Deal

In very broad strokes, the Green New Deal resolution offered by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass. asks members of Congress to recognize the duty of the Federal Government to set goals to slow and stop global warming. In that vein, the resolution stresses that it aims to meet its ambitious goals while paying special attention to groups like the poor, disabled and minority communities that might be disproportionately affected by massive economic transitions like those the Green New Deal calls for.

Importantly, the resolution is nonbinding, meaning that even if it were to pass, it wouldn't itself create any new programs. Instead, it would affirm the sense of Congress that carbon output should be cut in the coming years to slow global warming and the ravages of climate change.

The resolution is simply a statement of intent, explaining the justification and goals of an infrastructure program to transition to a sustainable low carbon output future. This is at once incredibly ambitious and politically practical, in that resolution co-authors seem to have in their minds a long-term plan to get it accomplished.

(Lawmakers pass nonbinding resolutions for things as simple as congratulating Super Bowl winners, as well as to send political messages — for example, telling the president they disapprove of his trade policies, as the Senate did in summer 2018.)

The Green New Deal resolution outlines a framework of big climate-change-related ideas combined with a list of progressive public policy proposals that, taken together, would touch nearly every American and overhaul the economy.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

State Driver’s License Becomes National Real I.D. Card


Texas residents are receiving letters from the department of public safety warning that their driver’s licenses are about to expire, even though their licenses are still valid for more than a year or two. But, there is an explanation.

Texas DPS is in the process of implementing the Federal REAL ID ACT, which will require many Texas to get an updated driver’s license or ID card to board air planes for domestic travel, and go into federal buildings to ask in person for help at their local Social Security office, or any other federal services office.  While the REAL ID Act deadline is October 2020, Texas DPS officials do not want Texans to wait until the last minute to be in compliance with the federal law.