Texas Monthly has done a fantastic piece on Battleground that’s well worth the read. There was one part that stood well out to me.
Battleground’s volunteers reported up the chain that the voters they contacted responded well to progressive themes like raising the minimum wage and expanding Medicaid. But Davis’s senior advisers, led by J.D. Angle, were understandably reluctant to cast their candidate as anything resembling a liberal. (Of course, that’s how the Abbott campaign painted her anyway.)
Now, I don’t know Robert Draper (the author) so I can’t comment about his editorializing… but, just for him and everyone else, it ISN’T understandable. Texans DO respond well to progressive priorities. They even respond well to restoring fairness in the tax code to make sure everyone pays their fair share. And what was completely missing was any effective messaging to point out the broad based failures of the Republicans who demonize folks who work for government yet never admit that they’re responsible for the alleged failures. Teachers, anyone?
Every fucking election, at whatever level is about CLASH. People want to see strong opposition even if it’s only on minor issues and those are the ones on which the election will turn. 2014 presented an historic opportunity to clash across the board with a candidate (Governor Abbott) who would be considered a lunatic crank IN ALMOST EVERY OTHER STATE IN THE COUNTRY. It was an opportunity to restore the Democratic brand and really energize voters who traditionally didn’t vote in off years… and we blew it with a candidate who never really bothered to reach out to the folks we needed to fucking vote.
As I said to a female friend the day after the election, one of many who’d told me not to underestimate Texas women when I questioned Wendy’s path to victory, that it takes a special kind of stupid to think all women were pissed about the same things. Of course, you have to actually know some Republican women to understand that choice ain’t high their list of voting issues. Which brings us to the point of this meandering rant, that there is no crossover voter. Of course, there are people who are persuadable, but in the main those folks won’t get you a win.
So, stop trying to reach them and focus on a campaign designed to energize demographic Democrats and voting Democrats behind you. Then let them do the job of persuading the crossovers.