The Revolution is No Longer Silent

From the diaries--Chris

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:


48% richie
37.64 maxey
17.9 urbina-jones
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:
richie/maxey/urbina-jones/rogers
34-135-55-0
round two:
richie/maxey
50.31    173.69

SD26 round one:
richie/maxey/urbina-jones/rogers
21-77-109-0
round two:
richie/maxey
40    167

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:


53.5% richie
46.5% maxey

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.

Tags: texas (all tags)

Comments

21 Comments

hope this entry is helpful

and check my blog over the next couple of days for more brain dumps and inside scoop.

oh yea, and here's my gallery from the convention.  and this is my favorite pic:

Clark must run for president.  i never thought i'd say that, as i totally didn't "get" him in 04.  but i am completely won over now.  the man ROCKS!

by annatopia 2006-06-12 09:17AM | 0 recs
I'm still not sure what to think of Clark

I never got him in '04 either, but I did see him on TV during the whole Dubai Ports deal. The host must have asked him 6 times whether he was against the deal, and every single time he said "I am against the President not following the process."

Even after the guy said, "If the president followed the process would you be okay with this deal?" Clark still gave the same non-answer. I saw the video of his son bitching about the consultants that stripped him of his personality and authenticity in '04, but clearly some of those guys are still hanging around his office.

I can almost hear him now: "General Clark, here's what you do. You don't tell anyone whether you're ok with the deal, because standing for something is scary -- you just go after the process issue. It's safer that way and it keeps you from having to tell people what you believe." From all the good things I've heard about Clark, that couldn't have been him talking. Whoever that "advisor" was should be fired and I'd like to hear the real General Clark.

by msnook 2006-06-12 01:35PM | 0 recs
thanks for promoting this chris

i know yall were watching what transpired, so i wanted to give ya a round up.  also, this is a paraphrase of the text of the speech i gave to the delegates of SD25 and SD26:


what we have been doing as a party obviously isn't working.  what we need is change.  this isn't about ideology; this is about looking towards the future.  the reason i support glen is because he supported me when i was a complete political newbie.  back in november of 2002, i drove to austin to meet glen.  i was supporting howard dean via online activism at the time and i wanted to try and do something out in the real world.  but i had no clue.  i hadn't participated in our process since i gathered signatures for al gore back in 1991.  i was given glen's name by the dean campaign, as glen had signed up to organise texas for dean.  i called him up and he invited me down to austin to meet him.  i made the drive and met glen at some dive on congress at 7 in the morning.  he bought me breakfast, told me about his background, and outlined the plan to organise texas.  he gave me direction and inspiration and he didn't know me from adam.  glen was willing to give of his own time to teach me how to organise.  he was willing to guide me when nobody at the TDP would take my phone calls.  we have an opportunity today to move this party forward.  i am asking delegates to look into their hearts and ask yourselves if you've been inspired or guided or mentored by boyd richie.  and if the answer is no, you must vote your hearts and vote for change.  how long are we going to wait?  if not now, then when?  2 years from now, 4 years from now?  as general clark said on the floor last night, enough is enough!  if not now then when??

by annatopia 2006-06-12 10:38AM | 0 recs
Re: thanks for promoting this chris
Well said Anna. Being part of the core Maxey team this entire opperation was amazing. It was the first time in 26 years there was a contested race for Party Chairman and believe me when I say, that many *many* folks are still pushing for that change and are ready and prepared to do it all over in 2008 if we do not see the reforms that the majority voted for on the first ballot. I'm e-mailing you the SDEC members list when I get it. I know that in my home district of SD 24, a younger Maxey supporter won the committeewoman spot. In SD 25, dead weight Bruce Barrik got knocked off by a progressive Austinite Michael Wilson. I think there was at least a couple more elsewhere in the state so with those added to the impressive gains made 2 years ago in Houston, the reform community represents a very large part of the SDEC now.
by KTinTX 2006-06-12 11:22AM | 0 recs
Re: thanks for promoting this chris

Anna, you're amazing.

by azizhp 2006-06-12 11:49AM | 0 recs
Re: The Revolution is No Longer Silent

How does LaRouche manage to get at least a few plants into every Democratic party infrastructure? Who the heck are these people?

by adamterando 2006-06-12 11:40AM | 0 recs
Re: The Revolution is No Longer Silent

Most likely they just show up at their precinct caucuses and then their Senate District Caucus.  I went to my precinct caucus and there were 4 people there.  We were allowed something like 30.  At our Senate District 7 Caucus we had less people that wanted to go to the state convention than we had seat to fill.  They took a count of how many people didn't want to go to the state convention.  Then they said that those who didn't want to go would be put down as alternates and everyone else would be a delegate.  I believe we had at least one LaRouchite.  If we recruited more progressives we could shut them out.

by cannabis flower 2006-06-13 08:35AM | 0 recs
Re: The Revolution is No Longer Silent

LaRouche has managed to brainwash college students now. The only cool thing about it, is that it put a 29 yr old black female in the race for state party chair of Texas and she managed to get over 1% of the delegates. And I did enjoy her slogan "Out of the bushes and into the future". The people who were homophobes should have paid more attention to that slogan.

by John McTexas 2006-06-12 12:39PM | 0 recs
Re: The Revolution is No Longer Silent

Great report. And congratulations on the resolutions and much more! I am sad about Maxie. Close but no cigar. I'm a big fan of his from seeing him at DFA's DemocracyFest in Austin last summer, plus the many reports of his terrific mentoring and leadership within DFA - DFT and beyond.

Being next door in NM, we'll be making similar efforts soon. Last time around we got many reform Dems elected as precinct and ward chairs, as well as winning many seats on the governing state central committee, resolutions, etc. Next up we look at county chairs and state chair when the next Party election comes up. We're also pushing for rule changes that open up the process.

Unfortunately, we are being blocked by our current state chair and his cronies. We pass resolutions and motions at the committee and SCC levels and nothing happens. The Party won't comply. Of course we aren't giving up! But it can be very frustrating and the insiders can be brutally dismissive and nasty.

Sometimes I think it's harder to make a dent if the Governorship is held by a Dem -- as Bill Richardson does here -- and there is a very organized cadre of insiders. Apparently, change within the Party isn't something Gov. Richardson can support. Very unfortunate.

Anyway, it's wonderful to read accounts like this. It can seem like such a long and difficult slog to get some life back into our Party. Always good to read about efforts in other states that are making definite headway!

http://www.DemocracyForNewMexico.com

by barbwire 2006-06-12 12:56PM | 0 recs
Radnofsky! indeed.

from yearly kos:

Catherine.

-C.

by neutron 2006-06-12 12:58PM | 0 recs
Re: The Revolution is No Longer Silent

i really wish you would have taken the opportunity to do some more things with an element of economic populism such as progressive taxation, minimum wage, and help with purchasing housing for renters. The platform really sounds like the kind of thing on the minds of stereotypical liberals and won't motivate a lot of social conservatives. I am all for the resolutions myself but the emphasis that you chose isn't going to bring in a lot of new people.

by 2liberal 2006-06-12 01:18PM | 0 recs
Re: The Revolution is No Longer Silent

Just a question.

Are you from Texas? What is the basis for your critique?

by boadicea 2006-06-12 01:32PM | 0 recs
Re: The Revolution is No Longer Silent

i am not from texas. i lived most of my life in RI and have recentlhy moved to RI.

the basis for my critique is that i would like liberalism stop being for things that hollywood liberals will support, and start putting things up front that affect more people's lives. some of the issues raised in the given platform only affect quote liberals unquote anyway and won't help to bring new people in.

my idea is that you follow the bernie sanders model of wanting to deal with the issues that affect people's everyday life.

by 2liberal 2006-06-12 01:45PM | 0 recs
Re: The Revolution is No Longer Silent

whoops recently moved to AZ

by 2liberal 2006-06-12 01:46PM | 0 recs
Re: The Revolution is No Longer Silent

I don't think you understand the size of the problem we're facing in Texas (and you may be in AZ as well. Hopefully, you can get involved in the party process there and report on how it goes).

There was a lot of inefficiency, new folks to the process, and some downright obstructionism.

It is a process, and not a pretty one.

by boadicea 2006-06-12 02:09PM | 0 recs
Oh, and let's can the term

"Hollywood  liberals" as if they were a subspecies of bug, shall we?

Big Tent means that the liberal wing should be treated with respect just like the more conservative factions of the party want to be.

Others want to wedge us away from each other. We should not encourage that wedging.

Except where the theocons, neocons, and corporatists are concerned of course. Them, we wedgie till they chafe.

by boadicea 2006-06-12 02:12PM | 0 recs
actually

we DID pass a resolution calling for an increase in the minimum wage.  my apologies for forgetting that when i posted this earlier.

by annatopia 2006-06-12 03:57PM | 0 recs
Re: The Revolution is No Longer Silent

thanks for the update and I am glad to hear it. about 'hollywood liberals' you will hear it from the other side but i don't want to be mouthing republican talking points so i will not use that term or similar in the future.

by 2liberal 2006-06-12 06:41PM | 0 recs
another theme from the convention

there was a popular saying amongst the grassroots/netroots:  "we will not be defined by republicans anymore!"

this year we chose to stand strong and proud as democrats.  and our candidates are great populists whose hearts are all in the right place.  

by annatopia 2006-06-12 07:29PM | 0 recs
Re: The Revolution is No Longer Silent

I'll drink to that.

by boadicea 2006-06-12 09:18PM | 0 recs
Re: The Revolution is No Longer Silent

"Hollywood  liberals" as if they were a subspecies of bug, shall we?

Big Tent means that the liberal wing should be treated with respect just like the more conservative factions of the party want to be.

Others want to wedge us away from each other. We should not encourage that wedging.

Except where the theocons, neocons, and corporatists are concerned of course. Them, we wedgie till they chafe.

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by entiengol 2007-01-31 10:02PM | 0 recs

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