The Republicans started the month and the Democrats end it with a state convention that framed this week’s questions to our government and politics insiders.
Liberal Democrats are the dominant faction in the Texas Democratic Party, according to 57 percent of the insiders, followed by moderate Democrats — the choice of 28 percent. A third of the insiders think the Democrats should leave their platform on immigration alone, while 29 percent said it should be stricter and 14 percent said it should be more lenient.
Democrats are trying to claw their way back into Texas politics, and 73 percent of the insiders say they should be trying to attract moderates and independents, while 15 percent said the Democrats should try to appeal to Democrats.
Finally, we asked for a little forecasting: 36 percent of the insiders think the Democrats will do better than usual in this year’s elections, but 55 percent said the results will be about the same as they have been and 8 percent expect things to get worse.
We collected comments along the way and a full set of those is attached. Here’s a sampling:
The Texas Democratic Party is holding its state convention this week. Based on the primaries and the runoffs, how would you describe the dominant forces in Democratic Party politics in Texas right now?
• "You forgot to include as options, Park Slope New York liberals and Hollywood check-writers."
• "Texas trial lawyers"
• "I call them Business Democrats"
• "Way too left. This is why the Democrats will make no progress at electing statewide candidates in a year when they should have made progress. The absence of moderate influences continues to doom this party."
• "The Texas Democrat party has become little more than out of state choreographers that do not have a clue about Texas Politics. They try to present an unreal picture of what Texans are and claim that it is normal. They further try to make everyone believe that their left wing views are they way everyone thinks. And now we hear about how the strongest economy in the nation has it all wrong. Texans need to take back the Democrat Party or they will be nothing but a freak show."
• "I didn't realize there was still a statewide Democratic party."
Democrats are expected to debate their immigration platform at the convention. What would be the best outcome?
• "That powder keg blew up on the GOP, so if the Dems are smart, they will leave it alone."
• "Ask any Valley Democrat and they will tell you that the party will have to start addressing border security. RGV voters have first-hand knowledge of the negative impact an uncontrolled border has in their communities."
• "I would not expect them to 'leave it be.' I would expect them to pander, which would not be the best outcome from their standpoint."
• "No win for the D's here because of the crisis at border."
• "Texas has a humanitarian crisis on its border and the GOP is responding w gun boats and helicopters. It is fundamentally UN-TEXAN to ignore the needs of children, regardless of their birthplace."
• "Who even knows (or cares) what their immigration platform is right now? It's moot--no one pays attention to party platforms anymore."
What voters should Texas Democrats be trying to attract right now?
• "It depends on the Democrat. For example, based on Wendy Davis' primary performance in the Valley, she has a lot of work to do simply to shore up that part of the base."
• "Somehow they're going to have to attract voters repelled by Sen. Patrick to help their most viable statewide candidate win the Lite Guv spot. God help us all if they are not successful."
• "Any voter they can get will be helpful..."
• "Activate the base while also appealing to moderates and independents on issues that are not alienating. Leticia Van de Putte understands this."
• "Democrats should be trying to attract every Texan under age 30."
• "There is nowhere else for the moderate to go right now."
• "Latinos, Latinos! Mobilize the Latino Vote."
• "EVERYONE. Too many republicans that are VERY scared of their candidates, platform and the direction of their party. I believe you will see that when they go into the privacy of the voting booth and cast their ballot."
• "Anyone breathing. They're like Delta House: 'We need the dues!'"
How do you expect statewide Democratic candidates to perform in the general election?
• "LVP's general likability combined with Patrick's over-the-top rhetoric should at least make the Lite Guv race fun to watch. Otherwise, no surprises."
• "This election cycle will be worse for the Democrats than 2010. Obama, the liberal DC crowd and foreign policy decisions by the executive branch will smother all Democrats nationally."
• "Wendy et al. should expect about 40%, give or take a couple of percentage points."
• "We won't win, but it'll be the best step forward we've taken in over a decade."
• "I know too many Republicans who will NEVER vote for a democrat. Until that changes, Democrats are cooked (cuz we know they won't really turn out). The moderate Republican will only switch over (or turn out in higher numbers) when they see what kind of psychopaths they've allowed to be elected."
• "To think that a group of DC liberals can come in and have a dramatic impact on Texas elections is idealist but not reality."
• "At this stage of the campaign a few years ago, I actually was seeing more Bill White bumper stickers on cars than I am seeing Wendy Davis bumper stickers."
• "Paging Tony Sanchez, paging Tony Sanchez..."
Our thanks to this week's participants: Gene Acuna, Cathie Adams, Brandon Aghamalian, Brandon Alderete, Clyde Alexander, George Allen, Doc Arnold, Jay Arnold, Charles Bailey, Eric Bearse, Dave Beckwith, Andrew Biar, Allen Blakemore, Tom Blanton, Chris Britton, David Cabrales, Lydia Camarillo, Kerry Cammack, Snapper Carr, William Chapman, Elna Christopher, Harold Cook, Kevin Cooper, Beth Cubriel, Randy Cubriel, Curtis Culwell, Denise Davis, Hector De Leon, June Deadrick, Nora Del Bosque, Holly DeShields, Tom Duffy, David Dunn, Richard Dyer, Jack Erskine, Jon Fisher, Wil Galloway, Dominic Giarratani, Bruce Gibson, Stephanie Gibson, Eric Glenn, Kinnan Golemon, Jim Grace, John Greytok, Clint Hackney, Anthony Haley, Wayne Hamilton, Bill Hammond, Ken Hodges, Steve Holzheauser, Deborah Ingersoll, Richie Jackson, Cal Jillson, Mark Jones, Robert Jones, Robert Kepple, Richard Khouri, Tom Kleinworth, Ramey Ko, Sandy Kress, Nick Lampson, Pete Laney, Luke Legate, Leslie Lemon, Ruben Longoria, Vilma Luna, Matt Mackowiak, Luke Marchant, Bryan Mayes, Jason McElvaney, Mike McKinney, Steve Minick, Bee Moorhead, Mike Moses, Keir Murray, Nelson Nease, Keats Norfleet, Pat Nugent, Todd Olsen, Nef Partida, Gardner Pate, Robert Peeler, Tom Phillips, Wayne Pierce, Allen Place, Kraege Polan, Jay Pritchard, Jay Propes, Tim Reeves, Patrick Reinhart, David Reynolds, Carl Richie, Jeff Rotkoff, Tyler Ruud, Jason Sabo, Andy Sansom, Jim Sartwelle, Barbara Schlief, Stan Schlueter, Bruce Scott, Robert Scott, Bradford Shields, Christopher Shields, Nancy Sims, Larry Soward, Dennis Speight, Jason Stanford, Bob Strauser, Colin Strother, Michael Quinn Sullivan, Sherry Sylvester, Trey Trainor, Vicki Truitt, Corbin Van Arsdale, Ware Wendell, Ken Whalen, David White, Darren Whitehurst, Seth Winick, Peck Young, Angelo Zottarelli.