It’s Super Tuesday in 14 states – including Minnesota and Texas. I’ve been studying up on my ballot for almost two weeks because look at it – IT IS TWO PAGES OF INSANITY! And as will be abundantly clear below, I’m a registered Democrat.
In 2019, the news cycle was loaded with stories about the Texodus. Did the announced retirement of six TX GOP Congressmen signify a shift in the state’s political winds? Were the changing demographics of this massive state turning once-secure districts purple? Or were these folks who thought retirement was a better option than being in the minority? I’m not enough of a political junkie to know if the Texodus portends anything, but Texas politics is more than an interesting sport.
I’ve felt that unlike 2018 when there was lots of “Beto for Senate” energy and name recognition as he ran against Ted Cruz, there seems to be less buzz around the candidates trying to unseat Senator John Cornyn. Perhaps it’s a result of 12(!!) candidates running against him (sound like a familiar challenge facing Democrats?!) and once a leader emerges, support will be loud and forthcoming. M.J. Hegar, combat veteran and mother (among other talents) is currently leading – however, like Beto in 2018, she was also narrowly defeated in her race for House District 31 seat. She did inspire many fans with her awesome “Doors” ad in 2018. We’ll see what doors open in 2020.
Tomorrow, I am able to cast my vote for House District 21 candidate Wendy Davis (perhaps you remember her pink sneaker-clad 12 hour filibuster in the Texas Senate in protest of restrictive abortion bill.) Like her fellow Dems, she’s faced defeat as well, losing her race for Governor in 2014 by a sizable margin to current Governor Greg Abbott.
The biggest shocker to me is that Bexar County (where SA is located) is home to slivers of FIVE Congressional districts (20, 21 (that’s us), 23, 28, 35.) As my politically astute Texan husband pointed out, this is the result of the Great Texas Gerrymander of 2003 led by former Congressman Tom Delay and upheld by the Supreme Court in 2006. The evil genius is evident looking at the maps – where the goal is to split Democratic-leaning areas and connect them with large swaths of rural and suburban, largely Republican voters. I mean look at Texas District 35-considered one of the 10 most gerrymandered districts in the country! When the lines get squiggly, the voting gets jiggy!
In 2018 Minnesota ranked #1 for voter turnout with 64.2% of eligible voters casting their ballots, Texas ranked 41st with 46.3% voting. Texas has notoriously difficult voter registration rules and recent reports find that Texas is also closing polling places in areas with large and growing Hispanic and African-American populations. The Guardian reports: “The 50 counties that gained the most Black and Latinx residents between 2012 and 2018 closed 542 polling sites, compared to just 34 closures in the 50 counties that have gained the fewest black and Latinx residents. This is despite the fact that the population in the former group of counties has risen by 2.5 million people, whereas in the latter category the total population has fallen by over 13,000.”
I don’t really know what 2020 will hold for Texas (or the nation for that matter!) So with that mixed bag of everything, if you’re in a Super Tuesday state go exercise that right that people around the globe are still fighting for.