As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

On Texas

Great rundown by the Burnt Orange Report.

To put this in perspective, Texas voters have never played this role in a Democratic primary. Good luck on your targeting, and good luck exit pollsters. It's a first-of-its-kind election in more ways that one. The universe of likely voters just got much, much larger.

Who will win Texas? Here are some things to think about.

Hispanic voters. Hillary won big among Hispanics in California. I believe this advantage has more to do with voter familiarity with Clinton than any black/brown friction. Exploiting a perceived antipathy between blacks and browns is a losers game for Democrats. No matter what side anyone is on, we need to vigorously contest the narrative of black/brown friction. And we're about to hear a lot about it, fueled by Clinton insiders and Republicans as well, from national and state pundits.

Women voters. Clinton has been winning the votes of older white women. But when Hillary hit the national stage in the early 90s, Ann Richards was the hero of Texas women. Hillary was never the figurehead here she was in some other places. The Clintons have a few friends in Texas, but they never really played on this field, and consequently don't have the deep leverage they've had elsewhere.

Fairly or not, there's a perception among Democratic opinion leaders that while a Clinton candidacy in 2008 will have minimum down-ballot impact, a a Clinton presidency will set Dems back. 2010 is a target year for the Texas Democratic comeback. Many fear the 2010 presidential midterm election will not go our way if voters have suffered through two more years of right wing Clinton bashing. I'm noting only the perception, not the reality. The perception will play a role in the March 4 outcome.

The most recent poll had Clinton up 10, and early voting doesn't start for two weeks, precisely at the time when the calendar and the free media will be favorable to Obama. The system in Texas is a mocha blend of primary and caucus, and the math is byzantine. There are significant African-American populations in Dallas and Houston, and a lot of colleges. There are also a lot of Hispanic voters in hard-to-reach areas.

I think Texas could be extremely interesting. If Obama wins there and Ohio, then his "repsect the will of the voters" call actually means something, and the progressive movement will push hard on superdelegates to get them aboard.

UPDATE; Regarding the superdelegates fight, here are two sides of the argument:

Americablog: respect the voters.

Kevin Drum: why shouldn't superdelegates have a say?

Labels: , , , , ,