October 03, 2013

#WendyDavis says yes — officially (updated)

Screen grab of Davis website, pulled back
down again after too-early unveiling.
Alana Rocha pic via Burnt Orange Report

It's now official, and the Davis campaign can formally unveil the website that it launched too early, earlier today (left).

Per the Austin American-Statesman, she stressed jobs and education in her announcement.

That said, there are several questions to be answered.

Is Davis "the answer" for the gubernatorial election in particular, and for related issues?

Well, per my blogging on that issue, it depends on what question you're asking about for her to be the answer. As for campaign chess, she needs to tie Greg Abbott to Rick Perry on low-wage jobs, then tell what she'd do better. On education, she needs to pin Abbott to Perry and the GOP Lege for the revamped, I mean gutted, state franchise tax that has taken us down the road of underfunded schools.

That one won't be easy. Those same Lege folks and Perry have raised and raised and raised all sorts of fees across the state, year after year, while continuing to pretend they weren't raising taxes.

She will indeed draw enthusiasm. How could she not, after Bill White in 2010 and Chris Davis in 2006? Heck, Tony Sanchez in 2002 wasn't that dynamic, and Gary Mauro in 1998 wasn't, surely. Not since Miss Ann, the late Ann Richards, squared off for re-election against Shrub Bush in 1994 have Dems had a dynamic candidate at the top of the ballot.

Speaking of Ms Ann, the Texas Observer says her takedown of Claytie Williams offers some lessons for Davis.

That leads to other issues.

First, per one name mentioned above, does Davis have a "Tony Sanchez" problem? In other words, as I have blogged, and to riff on a GOP acronym, is she a DINO?

Well, again, depends on how you define "Democrat," "good Democrat," etc. in today's world. Per that link just above, if a person who's at least somewhat, if not more than somewhat, a state-level version of a neoliberal, punching the socially liberal hot buttons on abortion (per her filibuster), gay rights, women's rights and minority rights, but iffy on other things, like sucking up to big business in general, the oil bidness in particular, and having some possible conflicts-of-interest ethical problems, then she's fine.

(Update, Oct. 5: And, not good here, Davis' take on Tea Party inanity in DC. A "tiptoe" answer around around who's to blame for the federal government shutdown doesn't help her in my eyes.

Already pandering for independent voters, or what is up with this? I also don't really, as someone not native to this state, like the "we do that better in Texas" angle.)

Now, back to whether or not she's the "answer."

I still don't see her winning. I still think Battleground Texas, with its demographic assumptions and other things that I said are unwarranted, won't be able to do enough heavy lifting in 13 months to get her over the top. But, I wouldn't be surprised to see her break 45 percent. And, that itself would be an accomplishment. Richards just barely broke that herself in 1994.

And, while it's "just" a moral victory, it could offer some help in close downballot races, too. I don't doubt that, in addition to raising enough money to run a competitive campaign, she will do a lot of appearances in key areas — the cities and select suburbs of the Texas triangle.

And, if we are playing chess, my preliminary predictions are 52.5 for Abbott, 46 for Davis and 1.5 for others. Certainly, if you offered those percentages six months ago, the Texas Democratic Party would have gratefully accepted.

And, that's not unrealistic. Per a Politico piece, she's got the gap down to single digits right now. True, it's early in the season and landscape, with 50 percent reporting undecided. But, it's good news for her campaign, not just for the run itself, but that idea of "possibility" will probably help loosen some wallets and purses.

At the same time, some would say she can't go too liberal. It's clear, as San Antonio's alt-weekly spells out in detail, that she needs to get white women to vote for her. But it does more than that.

It notes that Texans have low voter turnout. Part of that is surely due to the crappy candidates Democrats have had at the top of the ticket in recent years.

"Brand loyalty" is also an issue; witness the number of Democrats who voted for Kinky in 2006, and many others who gave it serious thought, despite large parts of his agenda, when he did act halfway serious, being quite non-liberal.

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