The Revolution is No Longer Silent
by annatopia, Mon Jun 12, 2006 at 10:02:02 AM EDT
I'm still processing everything that transpired over the weekend down here in Texas, but I'll go ahead and lay out a few things for you to ponder.
First, a quick explanation of our party structure so that this entry will make sense. The Texas Democratic Party has a Chair and several other officers who preside over the State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC). The SDEC is comprised of members of each Senate District (map here). There are two members from each SD, a male and a female. The SDEC is supposed to represent democrats all over the state. At the state convention, each SD caucuses and elects representatives to all the state committees (Nominations, Resolutions, Platform, and Rules) as well as two SDEC members.
Leading up to the convention, we knew there would be a contentious fight for the SDEC positions, committees, and state party chair. During the SD caucuses, many reformers were elected to positions on the various committees. As I wrote the other day, I managed to get on Resolutions, which is where we debate and pass resolutions that come up from the precinct and SD caucuses (which happened back in March and May). On that committee, the majority of us were reformers, so we definitely crashed that gate. To give you a sample of what progressives can do when we unite, we passed resolutions calling for:
- request to form an independent state commission to review the application of the death penalty in texas, and while that review is ongoing, we demand a moratorium on the death penalty
- withdrawal from Iraq (supporting Murtha's plan)
- demand that if the democrats retake the house, that they immediately bring impeachment charges against President Bush and Vice President Cheney
- support for universal health care
- verified voting (with an demand that we only use electronic machines that can spit out a receipt, that the software code is transparent, and that paper ballots are our preference)
- equal rights for GLBT americans and same-sex couples (including all 1049 rights granted to straight married couples)
And that's just a small sampling of what our committee passed. Consider that gate Crashed. Later on this week we'll have a better idea of how Rules and Nominations went (although from what I understand Nominations was stacked with Good Old Boys and Girls). Platform seemed to have a good number of reformers, and they managed to get our platform down to 27 pages (from 37).
I don't have the list yet, but I know that many reformers were elected to SDEC. We now have progressive activists sitting on the main state committee. From what has been reported out of various SDs, we may now have a majority on that committee. But again, I can't confirm that until I see the list later this week. Regardless, that's great news for Gate Crashers because we definitely made gains over 2004.
Now to the most contentious fight of the convention. We had three legitimate candidates running for state chair: Boyd Richie (interim chair), Glen Maxey (former DFA head and a reformer), and Charlie Urbina-Jones (also a reformer). Boyd had been elected Interim Chair by the pre-convention SDEC members after our old chair Charles Schoeting resigned about six months ago. Glen mounted an insurgent campaign comprised mainly of activists who joined the party thanks to the Dean campaign. Charlie Urbina-Jones jumped into the race late, but had a significant base of support. He's also a reformer.
For the first time in several decades, we had a contested chair's race. Usually the Powers That Be annoint someone who is then accepted at the convention without a fight. Not this time. The three candidates were given time to address the convention, then the vote commenced. It was TENSE, let me tell you. The first round of voting fell thusly:
1.47 rogers (larouche candidate)
In other words, REFORMERS won a MAJORITY of the first round vote. BOR has a great map of how the first round of voting ended up. Richie districts are blue, Maxey is purple, and Jones is green:
We proceeded to a runoff. Jones and Rogers took the stage and released their delegates, with Jones giving a passionate speech imploring his delegates to do "what we talked about" and "vote their hearts". Afterwards I spoke with Charlie and asked if we was with us. He said he was, and I asked if I could go spread that message to his delegates. I was given his permission to do so, so I personally went up to SD25 and SD26 (the two biggest seats of Jones support) to lobby for Maxey. I would like to think I had something to do with these results:
SD25 round one:
SD26 round one:
SD26 was Maxey's biggest gainer in the second round of voting. In the end, it literally came down to the last two precincts before it became clear that Richie was going to get a bare majority. The final result was:
And here's the map, again courtesy of BOR:
Yea, it was THAT CLOSE. Glen gave an inspiring and gracious concession speech, which you can view here. Glen's much more gracious than I am at this point, as I'm still smarting from some of the backdoor deals and hardball politics that were played during the race. That and the rampant homophobia coming from some Richie supporters (which I personally heard with my own ears) is making it difficult for me to say nice things right now.
BUT... gimme a few days and I'll get over it. This was a great learning experience and I know that us Deaniacs and Clarkies aren't taking our marbles and going home. We will be back next time and we will elect a reformer. I have no doubt. And with the new progressive majority on the SDEC, our chair's feet will be held to the fire.
We didn't exactly crash the entire gate, but we sure as hell kicked in many, many bricks. You can view videos from the Texas Democratic convention on YouTube by clicking this link. You should definitely check out David Van Os's speech. He's running for Attourney General and the man speaks truth to power. He is a true progressive who deserves our support. There's also our next Senator from Texas, Barbara Ann Radnofsky. Wes Clark's keynote from Friday was AMAZING as well, and you can watch it here. Not only did he win me over, but I am pretty sure he won over the entire delegation. In fact, I will be so bold as to say that he MUST run for President again. If he does, I'll be there. I had the opportunity to meet him one on one (thanks to the TDP credentialling bloggers as press) and... WOW. Just WOW. Anyway, you can view all the videos from the Texas Democratic Convention here. Please take the time to check them out, and you'll see that the Revolution in Texas is no longer silent! All of our candidates are reformers, folks. We are getting there. I sincerely believe this is the strongest slate of candidates we've run in many years, and I implore you all to work your asses off and help us get these people elected. Ya Basta!!
p.s. Check out our official Bloggers Caucus website for reports from all over the state. They are still streaming in, especially as we get back home and process everything.