Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Lone Star Blues

Seems the Republicans are losing their grip on the Lone Star state.  This once Democratic bastion (albeit conservatively Democratic) has been "red" for the past 20 years ever since Boy George knocked the Grand Dame of Texas off her throne in one of the biggest upsets of the 1994 midterm elections.  After 6 years of Bush and 14 years of Rick Perry, Texans seem to be a little GOP weary.  So, Rand Paul rode into Texas on his Libertarian white horse to try to urge state Republicans to be more friendly, seeming to evoke Dubya's "compassionate conservatism" from a generation before so that the Hispanic vote won't make the Lone Star State Blue.

Like so many states, the demographics seem to be turning against the Republicans.  An estimated 40 per cent of the Texas electorate is now Hispanic, and most of them tend to vote Democratic.  They might vote for one of their homeboys like Ted Cruz but run a guy like Greg Abbott and all bets are off.

Texas Republicans haven't been very kind to women either.  The recent draconian abortion bill they railroaded through the state legislature left many women feeling there is no longer any room in the Republican Party for them.  The general tone of the GOP seems to be women should stay at home, raise kids and have a hot meal on the table when the husband comes home.  You don't hear at all from Kay Bailey Hutchison these days, who for years was the most prominent Republican woman in Texas.  She was replaced by Ted Cruz.

Now, there's Wendy Davis making waves.  It remains to be seen whether she can generate the Democratic groundswell to unseat the Republicans in Austin, but her candidacy is a refreshing change.  There are also the Castro brothers in San Antonio.  You might remember Julian from the Democratic National Convention in 2012.  Both are young dynamic leaders in step with the changing demographics of the state.

You would think the GOP could have found a more charismatic front man than Greg Abbott to run for governor, which seems to imply a certain laziness in the Texas Republican Party.  It's kind of the like the waning days of the Soviet Union when you had moribund leaders like Brezhnev and Andropov at the helm.  Whatever "revolution" that was inspired back in 1994 seems to have been long forgotten, replaced by a decaying oligarchy.

Texas has been central to recent Republican presidential bids, which explains why Rand Paul was stumping in his boyhood state.  He says he is all for immigration reform and wants to reframe the GOP's position on key health issues that affect women voters.  The Tea Party darling now wants to put a little distance between himself and the Rabid Right, hoping to expand the GOP tent a little.

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