Forgive my skepticism here.
The young man who founded Battleground Texas needs a dose of reality. Jeremy Bird says he remains optimistic that Texas is on the way to becoming a battleground state, where the two major parties will compete head to head for votes.
Um, not yet, Mr. Bird.
At one level, I’m with him. I too wish the state wasn’t dominated by a single party. Republicans have held every statewide office since 1994. Recently, though, a Texas Court of Criminal Appeals judge, Larry Meyers, switched from Republican to Democrat — and now he’s running for a spot on the Texas Supreme Court as a Democrat. Good luck with that, Judge Meyers.
My preference, believe it or not, is based on the notion that the parties need to be contested to keep them more honest than they are when they dominate the landscape. Democrats used to hold that position in Texas. It slipped away from them arguably with the election in 1961 of Republican John Tower to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Lyndon Johnson, who became vice president of the United States. Seventeen years later, the state elected its first Republican governor since Reconstruction, Bill Clements.
The GOP has been on an upward trajectory ever since.
Bird founded Battleground Texas with the hope of knocking Republicans down a few pegs. I don’t think it’s going to happen this election cycle, or perhaps even the next one in 2016.
The group has pinned its hopes on state Sen. Wendy Davis’s campaign for governor. But that effort has hit a serious bump over revelations about her personal story, some of which doesn’t add up. Her poll numbers are slipping.
Maybe one day the state will return to some form of competitiveness between the parties. I’m not convinced we’ve arrived at that moment.