Thursday, February 4, 2010

What hope for change in Texas?

In the last state legislature, the lower house was divided thus: 76 Republicans, 74 Democrats. (The state senate was 20-11 Republican.)

In 2011 the state legislature and United States House of Representatives districts will be redrawn, most likely by the state legislature. Current projections are that Texas will gain four- count them, FOUR- new representatives in Congress. (Those same projections show no other state gaining more than one.)

If the blatant gerrymandering rammed through by Tom Delay and Rick Perry in 2003 is to be reversed, then the Democrats need to take control of at least one house of the state legislature in THIS election. With national Democratic popularity plummeting due to the bungle which is the health care reform debate, this will be an uphill climb... but, given Rick Perry's own general unpopularity outside hardcore Republican circles and simple demographic shifts within the state, the Dems do have a chance to take two seats and win the state House.

Things like this do NOT help those chances.

State Rep. Terri Hodge, D-Dallas, pleaded guilty early this morning to lying on her tax returns in connection with the FBI’s Dallas City Hall public corruption investigation, an act that ends her 14-year political career.

Ah. So, Mrs. Hodge, you knew this was coming for quite some time. Yet you RAN FOR RE-ELECTION in one of those rare things in Texas, a safe Democratic seat. You waited until it was legally too late to get your name taken off the ballot before finally admitting, "It's a fair cop," and throwing in the towel.

Which means, Mrs. Hodge, your name is still on the ballot for the March Democratic primary, with only one Democratic opponent. If you beat that opponent, then the Democratic Party gets to name your replacement nominee...

... but the Republican Party gets to name a candidate, too.

Up to now, no Republican was going to run against you. But thanks to your attempt to hold on to power despite being caught in a corruption probe, you've opened the door to giving away a seat in the legislature that Texas Democrats absolutely, positively, definitely could not afford to lose- because the Dems can't afford to lose ANY of them.

Again, we need something else. We can't fight one corrupt party with another- it just won't work. A third party is desperately needed- and so far I don't see any viable options stepping to the plate.

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