Friday, May 12, 2017

Their Eyes Remain the Guiding Star of My Conscience

By Faith Chatham -  May 7, 2017

It amazes me how my thoughts parallel those of others without collaboration. I went on a twitter storm day before yesterday on immigration and other things. Then my sister in San Antonio sent me an exquisitely expressive poem she wrote about a mother crossing the border with her child strapped to her back. It is a very sad and vibrant word picture. It won't be shared *yet" online yet because it is an unpublished work and most publishers require that it be submitted before publication and they consider even posting on Facebook or small blogs publication. However, it expresses what I was feeling. She also included a poem about a relief worker in Honduras who did not save for her retirement. Both hit "close to home" for me.
Many people went to Honduras following Hurricane Mitch and we had our perceptions and hearts transformed. Those who cross the US border are usually fleeing from the crime and terror and abject poverty/ They are not faceless to those of us who were on the ground several decades ago. The crime was enormous then and it is many times greater now. We were not allowed out after dark for any reason whatsoever and every time we left the cathedral compound the Bishop sent us out with an armed guard. This was a shock to our north American sensibilities. Seeing an armed guard with a machine gun at the entrance of the cathedral was quite different to us. Yet the school, clinic and relief supplies within the compound made it a target.
During that time, donors sent several new automobiles to missionaries in Honduras. Every auto was hijacked at gun point within a few weeks of its arrival. The military government (responsible for those many "disappeared persons" during the Reagan administration} had just been overthrown when Hurricane Mitch (a series of hurricanes which stayed stationary over Honduras for over a week dumping massive rains at the same time as an earthquake) occurred, devastating the entire country. Because the government was so corrupt, and the country was in such need, NGOs and religious institutions became the conduits for relief and development during that post Hurricane Mitch recovery period instead of the government.
My memories of the mega shelters are acute. They were military tents with concrete floors. Each family had about an 8-square foot section of living space with a light bulb hanging from the ceiling. The cooking was in the aisle outside the tent by kerosene camp stoves and the sinks were tubs with a water hose. There were no locking doors on those tents in this country so terrorized by the former military who now operated as criminal banditos. These families lived for extended times in tents in a country where the Bishop required everyone who served to stay in the hotel or cathedral or at home after dark and to travel with armed guards! The children in those mega shelters grew up in tents which did not have locking doors. Most families were in the mega shelters for 9 to 28 months. San Pedro Sula is high in the hills and it is cold there much of the year.

The Episcopal Church and other folks acquired land (a rare commodity in that international fruit company controlled country) and built houses. Because all a man had to do to divorce his wife was to kick her and the children out of the house, the Episcopal Bishop placed the titles to the homes they built into the name of the wife so that if the man chose to leave, the family could retain the home! However, being legally the owner does not solve the problem of being able to retain the home if the husband is abusive and there are no authorities to enforce the law. 

When we had an influx of children crossing the Rio Grande a few years ago from Honduras it struck me that the parents of these children were the children who were in the Mega Shelters following Hurricane Mitch. Those children woke up one day and every one of them lost people who were close to them -- either parents, friends, teachers, neighbors, school mates, grandparents, siblings. Over 11,000 people died that week in Honduras. Small children were uprooted from their homes and families and displaced. The Government was unable to process paperwork or police the communities or jail criminals to a sufficient degree to establish order. Crime and gangs were already high and escalated following Hurricane Mitch. Women and children were the most vulnerable people in that society They had no rights. Rape was /is common. 

Murder is normal. Running for your life becomes the sane choice. Once North, they are viewed as economic illegal aliens instead of assault victims fleeing for their lives. If American foreign policy had not played such a key role in destabilizing Central America in our Cold War Communist/ Capitalist era struggle, the plight of these generations of Central Americans would not be as acute. We do not like having the fruits of our sins arrive on our shores. We want to ignore our roles in creating and sustaining the terror that these women and children and young men are subjected to. We choose to label them criminals for coming here or sending their children here so that they have a better chance of surviving. This is what it is about when folks say they come for a better life. Usually it means that they are coming to try to survive period fleeing a place where the realities of being beaten by terrorists with machetes is normal. 




I supported Hillary Clinton because I trusted her to work for solutions to help those who remained in such countries and for those who fled to our shores. I don't think that when our ancestors arrive here is nearly as important as the fact that people are human beings and we are all deserving of the opportunity to expect to survive each day and find a way to eat and work and care for our children and learn and be human. If we weighed the cost of terror as highly as we value economic selfishness our world would heal. I still see the eyes of the children I met in Honduras. They are part of the north star of conscience which guides me.


NOTE: Hurricane Mitch hit Oct. 22, 1998. Any US immigrant from Honduras born between 1978 and 1998 were children when it hit. Those born after 1998 in Honduras have never known a stable community where the streets and homes are reasonably safe. It was the most-deadly hurricane to hit the Western Hemisphere in over 200 years Over 11,000 persons died in a small Central American country and there was over $5 Billion in economic loss in a country where most of the wealth was held by absentee landowners and a very few resident elites. 


© 2017 J Chatham, Arlington, TX 




Slavery 2017

By Faith Chatham - May 12, 2017
The number of human beings held in slavery in the world today exceeds the total during the mid 1800s. They have an active public slave market in Libya. Most of us are aware of immigrants who are captured and sold by coyotes and of Eastern European women and African women and Asian women caught up in sex trafficking. Yet most of us do not think this will touch our families. I don't think we can afford to be very confident about that. A dear friend of mine who was a high profile political candidate had her grandson held as a slave on a Mexican ranch for nearly a year a couple of years ago. This young man had crossed the border into Baja to assist friend who sent him an SOS saying he'd had his money pick=pocketed. However, you don't have to cross the border to be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I understand how horrific our nation's past is in regard to slavery. However, I think we should focus on stopping the slave trafficking that is currently entrapping people right now. There is no way to absolve ourselves from the failures of our forefathers. We can, however, do something about how we live now and what we do to ensure that others are treated fairly.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

1 Skillet Fast Food

By Faith Chatham - March 16, 2017

1 15oz can chili with or without beans

1 cup hashbrown shredded frozen or fresh potatoes

olive oil

salt to taste



Spash olive oil in skillet and cover surface

cook hashbrowns until lightly brown

salt hasbrowns



Add Chili and stir.

Cook until chili is warm.



Can be served from skillet.

Monday, March 06, 2017

All Politics Is Local: Arlington, TX 2017 Local Ballot

By Faith Chatham - March 6, 2017

All politics is local. Arlington is one of the largest cities in Texas and it has a 100% GOP controlled City Council. Even though City Council Seats are 'non partisan', the party affiliation of candidates and incumbents is usually known by citizens. Here is the list of people who have filed for City Council and AISD seats. There are several candidates this year for the District 3 Seat being vacated by Roberto Riveria.

Marvin Sutton is a long time Democratic activist who is running for an open seat on the City Council. Sutton is a Veteran and Air Traffic Controller. (Federal Employees are restricted from running for partisan offices but can serve in non partisan city council and school board seats.) Sutton would be a good addition to the City Council. He has served on numerous city committees including organizing Neighborhood Night Out events in his community. Transportation and Public Safety are some of Sutton's priorities. He is currently the Democratic Senate District Committee Man for SD 22 and previously served in that capacity in SD9. Sutton has consistently served the Arlington community in party and civic capacities for more than 2 decades.

Another candidate seeking that same vacant seat is Berim Elmaz, a PhD candidate at SMU. Elmaz has served in various capacities with the city and NCTCOG.

The only woman in the District 3 race is IT specialist Roxanne Thalman. Her list of volunteerism includes the 4th of July Committee.

Aircraft cabinmaker Pablo R. Frias is also on the District 3 ballot and advocates for a "small government approach."

Most of the candidates for District 3 have all served in variousl capacities on numerous city committees. It is encouraging to see a slate of candidates emerge who have the depth of experience that many of them exhibit in civic and governmental committees.

In District 4 Incumbent council woman Kathryn Wilemon is challenged by Libertarian Activist Theresa Rushing. In District 5 Dakota Loupe, a UTA Student,and Matthew Powers, a consultant, are challenging Councilwoman Llana Wolff.

Mayor Jeff Williams is being challenged by Chris Dobson. Dobson has run for various council seats during most elections for the past decade.

Social Media Networks

Faith Chatham March 6, 2017

This year Americans have shifted into a higher octane of informative activism. Utilizion of social media links persons with shared values and concerns who are geographically spread too far away to meet face-to-face. Once we have been in social media networks, encountering each other in person is a real treat.

In past election cycles, I blogged heavily. Now I have little time for blogging but utilizion of social media networks continues to enable me to reach out effectively through sharing articles and videos which inform, inspire, teach or commment.

Sharing a few articles or posts by others on Twitter sometimes generates over a thousand reactions from followers and numerous retweets by followers who have several thousand followers in their networks. On Facebook when we accept friends selectively, buildng networks close to the 5000 FB limit, a few minutes posting, sharing or commenting (reacting) to substantive posts by others can generate responses from thousands of other users in a few minutes.

Our news feeds alert us to articles and events we might otherwise miss. We are able to share constructive informative articles from many valid reputable sources. We need to be discerning and try to share only reputable sources. Usually, when something that is flimsy slips through others in the network will comment and let us know. Thanks to my nearly 5000 progressive friends on Facebook, I am more informed and receive information more quickly than any time in my life. For years I subscribed and consumed 5 newspapers daily and a stack of magazines. Now I get most of my news digitally and feel that I am better informed.

Facebook also allows people with shared interest /values to group virtually in private or in public. The ablility to set privacy settings and establish group guidelines enables organizing for groups. It also helps gruup moderators exclude trolls.

Sharing links on Twitter and utilizing the @ or # options enables us to alert others instantly and attach link to stories, articles, videos or photographs. Sharing one post to a group of a few hundred followers may reach out to thousands of their followers and then on to thousands of their followers followers. When we share content which informs and appeals to others, frequently we gain followers with little effort. People seem to be as attracted to the quality of the content on a person's newsfeed as they are to our actually original tweets or posts. Most of my friends this year use their facebook wall for activism. Do we like most of what we read? Absolutely not! However, we learn what is going on so that we can resist more effectively. We learn more so that when we write or speak or communicate we have the background necessary to speak intelligently. We are able to learn more so that when we are assaulted with lies across the back fence or by neighbors or relatives, we can refute the lies and correct those who are innocently mistaken.

Our nation was founded on the premise of participation by an informed citzentry. As we grew in population, that person on person knowledge diminished. Through social media networks of dedicated Americans linking together to learn, share, understand, and resist, we are again getting closer to the premise our founding fathers assumed would exist before people voted or served in elective office. This year for the first time in decades many Americans are showing up and holding elected officials accountable.

Net Neutrality is on the chopping block by Congress. We need to invest in the infrastructure of the internet. The World Wide Web is not a new technology and the number of users has escalated. Finding a way to finance necessary infrastructure upgrades is important without creating faster tracks for specific interest at the expense of other users.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Comfort Food - No Prep Cherry Pie

By Faith Chatham - Feb. 18, 2017

One piece of pie crust
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
3/4 to 1 cup of frozen organic sweet cherries

Heat oven to 350'
Spread pie crust over half of baking dish or pan
Pour cheeries (do not have to thaw) into the center of the half of the pie crust.
Cut the butter into pieces and scatter into the cherry mixture
Cover with the brown sugar
Fold over the other half of the pie crust and crimp
Place in oven and bake at 350" until crust is golden.
Will serve 2

Friday, February 03, 2017

The Awakening

By Faith Chatham Feb. 3, 2017

I get from 45 to 60 friend request daily. Most are from folks all across America who realize that we must be vigilant in fighting together to preserve what we hold dear and to improve what we need to change. This network is comprised of folks who are dedicated to good government, not anarchy. Each time I get a request i visit the wall of the person. I regret that I do not have space to accept more request, but am honored by those who extend the invitation. I am amazed at the people who are on this list. As I see the lives and passions and activism and compassion and determination which is reflected on the walls of people in this social media network I am humbled, encouraged, and thankful.

I have been involved in political and civic activism for decades. However, the network has grown and become many times stronger following the beak night in November when many of us stood stunned realizing how totally screwed we are as a people and a nation. Those of us who already had rather large social media networks of progressives from having key roles in campaigns, found that our networks became more focused, larger, stronger.

For every person who left. many more came. People who previously had been voters but not activist, stepped forward and begain organizing and marching and writing and supporting and emailing. This time instead of encouraging folks to get involved, people were propelled from inside their hearts to stand up for others and to fight for what we typically take for granted in this country. I have heard from many others whose experience since November is similar to mine. Yes, we grieve. Yes we fear. Yes many of us struggle with depression these days. Yes, we are frustrated and angry at those who excuse the unexcusable and refuse to take off the blinders and realize that they have been hoodwinked, that their candidate is no benevolent Messiah to rescue Conservatism from the godless liberals. I am especially frustrated at friends who quote scripture to justify their belief in the current Administration. That being said, overall, I see a health in our nation emerging like shoots coming up in the Spring after a very long, cold apathy.

For decades most elections have been determined by voter turnouts ranging from less than 1% to 25%. I think if the Presidential election were held today we would probably have in excess of 75% voter turnout. America is discovering who and what we are. Usually we have to be away from our country to realize what is unique and special about this land, its constitution and her people. I know in my own life, I never fully realized what we have until I studied abroad during the Cold War. I returned and removed the "Independent" label from my forehead and decided which party best expresses my world view. I knew that neither would mirror all of my hopes, desires and opinions. I had to choose which one more frequently paddled our nation in a direction which I believe improves the lives of the most people and honors the values which are important to us. I do not regret my decision to align myself more closely with the Democratic Party. Do I think it is perfect? Definitely not! Do I see areas which need lots of work? Absolutely? Is every position on each of the party's platforms things that I feel passionate about or enthusiastically support? No However, most are. There are always several which are key and which I cannot help but fight to forward, get passed or communicate the importance of to others.

When I review the impact we have as a community, even when we lose the election or fail to control the state legislature or win statewide offices, I know that our efforts are definitely worth the fight.

This year in 2016. we got more people to the polls than any other party yet we did not gain the White House. By failing to support challengers in GOP controlled Congressional districts for decades, we no longer have a majority in either the US House or Senate. Right now it is sinking in to many folks exactly what that means in life and death consequences. America has at last begun to wake up. The sprouts are coming up out of the frozen tundra of indifference. We are filling the streets, not because folks are telling us we should, but because we know that our life and idenity as a nation is on the line.

I am so proud of my neighbors who have filled the international terminal at DFW airport in solidarity with strangers who are being discriminated against by the Trump administration. I am so thankful that this is not just a local phenomena but is occurring in airport terminals across the nation. I am so thankful for each of several milllion people who marched the Saturday after the Inauguration. This is not just an American show of solidarity for values which are associated with America, but is occurring around the world. I am thankful for the Scientist who are moving from behind their books and microscopes into the streets and for the actors and filmwriters and talk show hosts and comedians and musicians who are speaking out for humanity, ethics, fairness and decency.

Each of us are only one small part of a very much bigger, stronger more vibrant whole. We are using our Social Media networks to learn share information, process the noise from the more pressing priorities and to vent. Thank you. Welcome. This is a very different time we are in but it is also one with greater opportunity because the giant is awakening. The wolf is loud and powerful but together we support and sustain and defend one another.

Follow Faith Chatham on twitter at @faithchathm or @txfedblueseed

Daily Kos: http://www.dailykos.com/blog/FaithChatham

Blog: Wise Women Won't Wait Anymore: http://wwwwam.blogspot.com

Reclaiming the Texas Turf: http://reclaimingthetexasturf.blogspot.com

Greassroots News U Can Use: http://grassrootsnewsUcanuse.blogspot.com

Facebook id: Faith Chatham

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

ACTION ALERT: Steve Bannon's Nominaton to National Security Council must be confirmed by Senate Homeland Securty Committee

Action Alert: Steve Bannon goes before the Senate Homeland Security committee for confirmation to the National Security Council. Please contact member of that committee urging them to block him from membership. Here are the members and their contact info https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/about

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

INDIVISIBLE: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda

By Faith Chatham - Jan. 4, 2017

Progressives have strong networks coming out of the 2016 Campaign Cycle. Hillary's supporters are standing together combatting racism, sexism, and corruption. Despite turning out 3 million more voters than Trump, progressives know we "won the election" yet lost the White House, Supreme Court appointments, and face Congress where the GOP/TeaParty controls both houses.

For the near future, it is essential that we stand together as citizens. We have to utilize our networks to effective in resisting changes which are detrimential to our nation, our communities,and our families.

Former Democratic Congressional Staffers have authored a guide for Resistence.

I recommend that you download the guide. It is less than 30 pages. It is full of tips on how to get the attention of elected officials and how to imfluence the legislative process. Titled "INDIVISIBLE: A PRACTICAL GUIDE for RESISTING THE TRUMP AGENDA" is full ot tips on how to get Congress to listen!

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5855a354cd0f68bab2089b40/t/5867cd26be65940ffdeeac1e/1483197741124/IndivisibleGuide_2016-12-31_v1.pdf

Well, that didn’t take long.

This is being posted here as an example of how organized resistance paid off!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017 copyright The New York Times NYTimes.com/Opinion »

Opinion

On the very first day of the new Congress, the Republican majority suffered its first embarrassing setback. It abandoned its plan — which it had tried to shield from public scrutiny — to eliminate the independent House ethics office. It did so after a firestorm of outrage on Monday night and Tuesday morning, much of it on social media. There is a lesson here, and it’s related to the one about grass-roots politics that I mentioned in yesterday’s newsletter, playing off an Op-Ed by Ezra Levin, Leah Greenberg and Angel Padilla.

In the coming age of Trump, Democrats and progressives may not hold much political power, but they can still have influence, much as the Tea Party did even while the Republicans were in the political wilderness, in 2009 and 2010. The key is being passionate, organized and focused. The protests against the brazen elimination of the ethics office worked — for now, at least — because they had a clear message that resonated with a lot of people, including Republican and independent voters. Ultimately, even Donald Trump half-heartedly came out against the move. Republican leaders were embarrassed, and they decided that a retreat was their best option.

Most fights won’t be so easy. They will require more organization and sustained effort. They will require making phone calls and attending meetings and marches, rather than merely posting outrage on Twitter and Facebook. And they won’t always succeed.

But it’s important to remember this fight, because there is reason to expect that even bigger ones are on the way. Congressional leaders have announced plans to take health insurance away from millions of people. Those leaders have announced their intention to shower huge tax cuts on the wealthy and to cut benefits for the poor. They have also announced plans to increase pollution, damaging the health of Americans today and the state of the planet tomorrow. They have even signaled their intention to eliminate the ethics office when fewer people are paying attention.

Every one of these issues will be worthy of the passion sparked by this week’s fight, sustained over days and weeks rather than hours.

The full Opinion report from The Times follows, including several pieces covering the ethics-office fight. “Is it any wonder that House Republicans felt O.K. about trying to slip free of some of their own ethical shackles, no matter how ugly the optics?” asks Frank Bruni in his column. “It’s the tone that Trump has set and the culture that he’s creating.”

The Editorial Board also weighs in, noting that both Trump and Paul Ryan, the House speaker, seem sympathetic to change, but wish it had been done more subtly.

David Leonhardt
Op-Ed Columnist

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Hillary Brings Us Together



This is a 15 min audio op-ed. The text was published Monday and titled: Despite this Bloodbath of an Election, We're Not As Divided As We're Made-out To Be.

You are welcome to share or republish it. Please give credit to Faith Chatham.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Trump called agent of Russian Federation by former CIA Chief

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/11/5/1591364/-Trump-called-agent-of-Russian-Federation-by-former-C-I-A-Chief

Friday, May 13, 2016

Prospects for Democrats Regaining Congressional Seats in Texas

By Faith Chatham - CFO Texas Federal Blue Seed PAC - May 13, 2016
LINK to donate: bit.ly/5forTX

Democratic Nominees are running in 29 of Texas' 36 U.S. House Districts this year.A state where less than 8% of the Federal Delegation women but is over 51% of the population is female, Texas voters have the opportunity to add five more women to their Congressional delegation.

THE WOMEN
The Texas female Democratic Nominees who are challenging GOP incumbents for seats in Congress include:
Shirley McKellar PhD.
Dr McKellar is a retired officer in the US Army Nurse Corp A nurse clinician, McKellar led in the implementation of women's health services for the US Military in the European Theatre. Shirley is challenging GOP incumbent Louie Gohmert for the 1st Congressional Seat.

Tawana Cadien, RN.
Tawana is also a nurse clinician nursing administrator. She is one of the first graduates of the Thurgood Marshall School of Public Affairs to earn a Masters of Public Administration. Tawana is challenging GOP incumbent Mike McCaul for the10th District seat.

Jan McDowell, CPA. Jan is a community activist who understands the dollar and cents value of clean air and water. We need someone in Congress who can read a balance sheet and has understands the difference between short term cuts which cost more in the long run. Jan is challenging GOP incumbent Kenny Marchant for the 24th District Congressional seat.

Ruby Woolridge is challenging GOP incumbent Joe Barton for the 6th Congressional District Seat. Ruby is an ordained (Methodist) Minister who is currently serving at the Potter's House and is a public school teacher. She is a strong advocate for veterans. Her son Troy was injured on active duty in the middle east when he was in his twenties. He died of his injuries last year after years of rehab and disability. Ruby was his caretaker.

Kathi Thomas is a business owner and former county chair. She is challenging GOP incumbent Roger Williams for the 25th District Congressional seat.

Democratic Incumbents Congresswomen Shelia Jackson Lee (District 18) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (District 30) are running for re-election in "safe Democratic majority districts."

To donate directly with one click to the campaigns of these women congressional challengers and Hillary Clintonclinton.com"> and the federal pac which supports progressive candidates running for Federal offices on the ballot in Texas go to: www.bit.ly/5forTX. You can also choose to give more or nothing to some and less to others. You are given the option of making a one time donation or splitting you gift into monthly installments

Link to Donate: www.bit.ly/5forTX

THE LANDSCAPE

Texas is frequently dubbed a “red state” but demographically, it is much more blue than is reflected in the election results. A combination of apathy, savvy marketing/outreach by deep-pocketed special interests, and gerrymandering with an abandonment of the fight by most progressive donors has enabled some of the most obnoxious Texas politicians to win and retain seats in the state and federal government. Being under indictment for fraud, bribery or political corruption seems to be a plus for many of the State’s GOP incumbents. Yet there is a bright ray shining through the darkness in the Lone Star State.

Democrats turn out in higher numbers during presidential election years. All of the 11 current Democratic US House members except Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson were initially elected in Presidential election year. Texas has 11 districts that are majority Democratic and one truly swing district (23). Most of the other districts have had no serious resources devoted by progressives in Congressional challenger races for many election cycles. In 2014 on average apx. 2 ½ cents per voter was all the funding received by non-incumbent Democratic nominees who were challenging GOP/TeaParty incumbents for Congressional seats in the primary and general election combined. For 2 ½ cents it is impossible to even effectively communicate with those who already know they want to vote for you, let alone convince others that you are the best candidate. Most GOP incumbents in Texas have gotten a free walk to re-election for decades. They amass large war chests and use them to help fund down-ticket candidates. The outcome of most election in Texas have little to do with “merit” or “integrity” and more to do with non engagement from the left and business “as usual” from the right.

Democratic "normal GOTV efforts" in Texas

Examination of voter rolls shows that as Democrats stop running in contested Democratic primaries for state and local offices, Democratic voters stopped voting,. Most did not become Republicans. As spending and outreach ceased by progressives, apathy won and more and more Texans appeared on the rolls as folks who used to vote but do not any more, In presidential election years more will show up than in other election years. The state Democratic Party has a long history of focusing more attention on internal party affairs than on prioritizing winning General Elections. However, there are some encouraging developments this year.

2016 is a year of opportunity for reclaiming seats from GOP incumbents in Texas. It will require funding. In 2015 Republican candidates for Congress in Texas received $4 to every $1 donated to Democratic Congressional Candidates, During the FEC financial report ending March 31, 2016 the gap had narrowed. Republican received $2.82 dollars for every dollar donated to Democratic candidates. The gap is still deplorable, but the trend is headed in the right direction. The quality of the Democratic Nominees is substantial. Their challenges can be addressed by generosity from donors — large and small. Outside money will not come gushing in to Texas Congressional races. However, Texans have the resource to fund these races. Small donors and deeper pocketed donors uniting with the unique synergy of the 2016 Presidential race and the impact of both of the top of the ticket candidates on the electorate can realistically turn additional districts blue.
Source: FEC.gov

Factors for Optimism

1. A push on increasing Democratic turnout for by mail ballots paid off in the 2016 Democratic Primary. Significant increases in Democratic voters by mail occurred in the counties which invested in the BY MAIL campaign. Historically, Republicans have had by mail margins high enough to claim numerous seats in Texas. This improvement removes the GOP/Tea Party’s advantage in several of Texas’ largest counties.

2. Texas State Law was changed allowing the State Party to hold primaries in counties without Democratic County Chairs. Glen Maxey worked tirelessly to get legislation passed which allowed every registered voter in Texas to vote in a Democratic primary this year even if there were no county chair in their county. Once the law was passed, Glen faced the monumental task of getting the paperwork filed and to recruiting workers and polling places in counties without a chair, Although the actual number of voters involved is rather small, the change is enormous. At the last SDEC meeting several new county chairs were sworn in who stepped up and volunteered to serve from counties where they previously had been unable to vote in a Democratic Primary. It is a constructive beginning. For decades Democrats have ignored most of the rural counties. Cumulatively, rural voters determine the outcome of many elections. To overcome the GOP incumbent advantage, reaching out and increasing Democratic turnout in rural counties is essential.

3. Demographic shift in population, age and income impacts the state. Texas’ white majority is dwindling. The Republican base is aging and dying off faster than the Democratic base in Texas. The percentage of Latino and Black Texans is increasing. Both Democratic and Republican parties try to enlist Hispanic voters. Republicans have skillfully used social issues to depress Hispanic voter turnout. In the 2014 Governor’s race many Hispanics were conflicted between their religious beliefs regarding abortion and the Republican hardline anti-immigrant posturing. A percentage of them simply stayed home. In 2016 Republican rhetoric repels and motivates many who stayed home to get involved. Blacks and Texans of Hispanic lineage are among Hillary Clinton’s most enthusiastic supporters. With Donald Trump at the top of the Republican ticket, it will be much easier to engage Tejano, Hispanic, Muslim and Black voters in Texas.

4. Hillary at the top of the Democratic ticket will draw more minority voters that Sanders. During the primary in Texas, despite the large number of older white women which remain a strong part of Clinton’s base, larger numbers of Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians turned out as delegates for Clinton at senatorial conventions than for Sanders. In the Tarrant (largest part) of Senate District 9, in the Clinton delegation:

60% minority; 40% whlte
60% female; 40% male
11% under age 36
14% LGBT
in the Sanders Tarrant Senate District 9:
74% white; 26% minority
59% male; 41% female
24% under age 36
18% LGBT

This is a snapshot of 3/4th of one urban Senate District (Tarrant 9). (Dallas Senate 9 did not break down their delegates demographically.)

Hillary attracts more minorities and women than Sanders. Hillary attracts young voters but Sanders attracts twice the number of younger voters. Hillary’s following among women is 1/3 larger than Sanders. Sander’s following among men is 1/3 larger than Clinton’s. Both resonate with LGBT voters. Hillary has fewer problems with minority voters than Sanders (74% for Clinton and only 26% for Sanders.)

With Clinton at the top of the ticket, the large minority population of Texas should place more races in play in the state if the “coat tail effect” carries over to down-ticket (especially Congressional) races. The party is working to enlist younger and minority voters into the Party. Older female voters remain the most loyal dependable voting block of Democratic voters. The majority of this “most loyal” voter demographic group are Clinton supporters. This is a good sign for down ticket candidates, especially for older, educated, highly qualified candidates who are challenging GOP incumbents.

Despite the spin that “Sanders is defining the issues”, there is solid evidence that Clinton delegates have more education than the majority of Sanders or Trump voters. Clinton supporters value “problem-solving” and pragmatic incrementalism. They trust her experience, the through vetting given her, and appreciate her ability to get policies and programs implemented. Many of Clinton’s supporters do not think that Bernie has changed Hillary’s positions substantially. They see her as a progressive political leader who has always worked to increase minority voter participation, fought for accessible affordable health care, denounced discrimination by championing the rights of women, minorities, LGBT and handicapped individuals throughout the world.

National Pattern


In the Primaries and Caucuses held thus far this year, more Republicans turned out in their primaries than Democrats in theirs in states where Sanders had more votes than Hillary. In the states which Clinton carried, she got more votes than the leading Republican and more Democrats turned out to vote than Republicans overall. This is a very good sign because she has carried more states than Sanders and she has carried larger states than Sanders. It is unlikely that she will carry Texas in the General Election. Having Cruz off of the ticket is beneficial. If she selects a young, Latino favorite son from Texas as her running mate, that may bring Texas into play. A Clinton/Castro ticket may not turn the state blue enough to garner the electoral votes from the Lone Star State, but the activity may be a shot-in-the-arm for some Congressional races and help Democrats gain a few additional seats in Congress in Districts the national pacs are not targetings as Red to Blue.

THE MEN

Texas has also nominated several strong, highly qualified Democratic men for Congress this year. In addition to the 8 Democratic Congressmen who are running for re-election, there are men running in 12 of Texas’ Congressional Districts. One district is a truly Democratic majority district (15). Congressman Hinojosa is retiring so that is an “open” seat in a majority Democratic District. Vicente Gongalez and Juan "Sonny" Palacios are in a run-off for the Democratic Nomination for US-TX 15 Congressional District on May 24th.

Former Democratic Congressman Pete Gallego is challenging far right-wing Tea Party incumbent Wm. Hurd for the seat in Texas’ only truly swing district.

The 23rd Congressional District has more land mass than any district in Texas. The land mass of 9 states will fit into this incredible Congressional District which runs from the outskirts of San Antonio to the outskirts of the City of El Paso. It includes National Parks and most of the Texas/Mexico border. Gallego has continued as a private citizen to work to further the interests of the people of the district.

Hurd has focused only on divisive religious positions and has ignored the economic and environmental needs of the District. Gallego, as a private citizen, is credited with bringing passenger air service back to a poorly served part of the district. Despite Gallego’s deplorable vote on the Three State Nuclear Waste pact while he was an incumbent, Gallego is much more of a champion for the District's National Park (Big Bend) than incumbent Hurd. Gallego has proven to be much more responsive to the needs of the people of the district than incumbent Hurd. This race is targeted by the DCCC as a Red to Blue District and will probably be the only non-incumbent challenger Congressional race in Texas to receive funding from the DCCC and the Democratic Majority PACs.

James Cargas qualifies as an environmental/developmental rock star. Cargas is one of our state’s leading pragmatic visionaries. An Oil and Attorney, James worked on Capitol Hill as an intern as an undergraduate and returned, after he graduated from the University of Michigan, during the Reagan administration while Jim Wright was Speaker of the House to serve as Press Secretary to a Michigan Democratic Congressman. He graduated from The American University’s Washington College of Law where he served as President of the Environmental Law Society and Article Editor of The American University Journal of International Law and Policy and The American University International Law Review) in 1992. During law school, he was law clerk to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Admitted to practice law in Texas, West Virginia, Washington D.C, and Michigan, he represented large interstate pipeline companies before leaving the private sector to join the Clinton administration on the President’s Council on Sustainable Development, promoting clean wind and solar energy, hybrid vehicles and sustainable resource development. He left to work on the Gore Presidential campaign and returned to serve under Energy Secretary Bill Richardson. He was hired in 2008 by former Houston Mayor Bill White as the City of Houston’s energy counsel, and continued as counsel to Mayor Parker. During his stint with the City of Houston, Cargas has negotiated energy contracts and helped the City of Houston become recognized as the governmental entity that has purchased the most sustainable energy in the nation, exceeding the purchases of the DOD and EPA. Cargas is married to a medical research scientist doctor and is especially cognizant of the roadblocks facing medical research in the USA. Cargas is the Democratic Nominee challenging GOP incumbent John Culberson for Texas' 7th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Bill Matta, PhD is challenging GOP incumbent Bill Flores for the 17th District US Congressional Seat. Matta is one of three Democratic Nominees in Texas who are retired military officers with doctoral degrees. A navigator in the USAF, Matta served with NATO in Bosnia, at the US Air Force Academy and at the Pentagon. A graduate of UT Austin, Matta has pursued a dual career track, blending his military service with teaching. Currently he is the chair of the Linguistics, Speech and Engilsh at McLennan County Community College.

Mark Gibson JD is a retired Colonel and Brigade Commander with the US Army. He earned is Juris Doctorate from South Texas College of Law, and his Master’s in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He earned his BBA in Management Information Systems from University of Houston, As a Senior IT Manager and small business owner, Mark Gibson, understands the challenges facing business owners. He fights for veterans and military families, is committed to fighting for equal rights for women, pledges to”push for absolute assurances of banning weapons from schools, synagogues or worship centers, shopping malls, stores, and our schools” and will fight for breaks for small businesses and term limits.

Gibson is challenging GOP incumbent Pete Olson for Texas' 22nd District Congressional seat.

Mike Cole, Democratic Nominee for Texas’ 14th US Congressional District running for U.S Congress in Texas. Cole is challenging GOP incumbent Randy Weber for the 14th US Congressional Seat. An educator, Cole’s struggle with onset juvenile diabetes gives him insight into medical challenges which reach far beyond what is normal for a young man. He is skilled at engaging others in projects that enhance and improve people’s lives.

He is running an energetic campaign against Randy Weber which involves college students and senior citizens.

The 14th is a coastal district. Challenged by natural disasters and the aftermath of BP’s Horizon Blowout/Oil Spill, the district requires diligent service by a Representative who will balance the economical developmental needs with the environmental challenges facing people of the district.

Mike Cole, Tawana Cadien, James Cargas and Pete Gallego are the Democratic Nominees who are positioned to give better service to the people of the Texas Gulf Coast and US Mexican Border. You can help them directly with one click using this link:
http://bit.ly/4TXCoastDs

To split your donation between the four coastal candidates and the federal PAC which supports progressive challengers for federal office on the ballot in Texas use this link http://bit.ly/4TXCoastDs

It is not necessary for Texans to live under the skewed worldview of the Tea Party and the state's GOP incumbents. We do not have to continue subjecting this nation and the world to the stupidity that passes between many Texas so-called public officials. It will not be easy, but it is definitely "worth it!" The key is setting aside defeatist attitudes, stepping forward and doing what we can when we can and enlisting and welcoming others to do what they can.

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The Arlington Texan, a portal to news and coverage of issues and events of and about Arlington, Texas. DFW Regional Concerned Citizens is a sister-site of Grassroots News You Can Use. Visitors can subscribe to issues-specific and county specific action alerts using a simple form on the site. About Air and Water focuses on DFW Regional air quality and water/gas drilling issues. We welcome your feedback.