Tag Archives: Texas primary

No one’s business … but my own!

I voted today in Princeton for the candidates of my choice, but I want to share briefly an exchange I had with a campaign worker standing outside the polling station.

She and I are acquainted. This campaign worker is a local politician; no need to tell you the office she occupies.

“Are you a Democrat or a Republican or are you an independent?” she asked. My answer was non-descript. “I have voted in both primaries,” I said. “Oh, I was just wondering,” she said.

Hmm. We exchanged a couple of pleasantries and then I went inside to cast my ballot.

Now, readers of this blog likely can determine which primary I cast that ballot. My campaign-worker friend had no reason to know, or any reason to ask which party to which I belong.

In Texas, we don’t “join” political parties before casting ballots. Ours is an open-primary system. What troubles me is that my acquaintance sought to question me out loud, in public, in front of a polling place. I don’t know how she would have reacted had I declared myself to be of the wrong political party.

Is that a form of electioneering? I kind of think so.

The exchange made me uncomfortable this morning. I don’t believe casting one’s ballot — which we do in private — should be a cause for discomfort.

Early voting seems less relevant than ever this election year

I am delighted to be true to my belief in voting on Election Day, that I won’t cast my vote early out of fear that my candidates will do something foolish or drop out of the running.

The Texas Democratic Party primary is coming up next Tuesday. Texas is one of 15 states casting ballots. Collectively they will select about one-third of all delegates to the Democratic National Convention this summer in Milwaukee.

My guy is still in the hunt. Except that he’s got to win bigly in South Carolina, which votes on Saturday. If you want to the truth, I wish we voted on Saturday, too, but that’s another topic for another time.

I am longing to cast my ballot for a centrist Democrat, someone who knows how to govern, someone with a public service record that demonstrates an ability and a willingness to work with politicians on the other side. Yeah, that would be Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Now, if he flames out Saturday in South Carolina, he is likely to bail sometime after the Super Tuesday balloting. His name will remain on our ballot. However tempted I might be to reconsider my own vote, I likely will continue to stand behind Joe Biden regardless of the South Carolina result.

Still, waiting until Election Day gives me a touch of flexibility in the event someone else emerges from the shrinking field of Democratic presidential contenders.

I know this with absolute certainty: I will never vote for Donald John Trump. I don’t believe we need a radical change in political direction from this clown. I do believe we need someone in the Oval Office who knows what he’s doing, someone who understands the limits of his office and someone who can restore the dignity that the office once commanded.

Texas may become competitive, if not yet ‘blue’

The “blue wave” that some folks thought was getting ready to wash over Texas didn’t quite build into an epic event on primary election night.

Despite some reported “surge” among Democratic early voters in 10 of the state’s largest counties, the primary election produced a Republican lead over Democrats in the number of total ballots cast.

The verdict? Texas remains a Republican state.

The Texas Tribune reports that about 1.5 million votes were cast in the Republican primary, compared to about 1 million Democrats ballots being cast.

If you’re a Democrat, that’s the bad news.

The good news? Texas might be more competitive this year than it has been for the past couple of decades. Democrats are banking much of their party’s fortunes on a young congressman from El Paso, Beto O’Rourke, who’s going to face GOP U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in the general election this November.

I won’t predict that O’Rourke will beat The Cruz Missile this fall; nor will I predict that he’ll even give Cruz a legitimate case of the nervous jerks as this campaign unfolds.

The serious uptick in Democratic Party primary votes, though, does suggest that the predicted flip from Republican to Democrat might be starting to take shape. Has it taken full form just yet? I won’t say that, at least right now.

Political analysts suggest that the state’s changing demographics, with more Latinos living in Texas, mean the state well could become much more Democrat-friendly than it has been since the 1990s. Republicans likely can lay the blame at the man in the Oval Office, whose campaign and governing rhetoric has managed to enrage many Americans with Latin American heritage.

The talk concerning a reported Democratic “surge” among early voters, though, didn’t translate to a surge among all Texans who voted this week. Maybe that will occur later this year.

Or … maybe it won’t.

Kasich gets the nod from a major media outlet


Newspaper editorial boards have at times been accused of being “homers,” sometimes favoring the home-town or home-state candidates over more qualified challengers.

The Dallas Morning News has chosen, however, to make its recommendation for the Republican presidential nomination — and it’s not U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

The DMN’s nod goes to Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

The paper likes Kasich’s record of accomplishment and believes it would suit him — and the nation — well if he were to be elected the next president of the United States.

What’s most compelling — to me, at least — is the paper’s nod to Kasich’s ability and willingness to work with Democrats. He did so while serving in Congress, where he chaired the House Budget Committee and helped craft a balanced federal budget.

One does not do such a thing in a vacuum, and Kasich showed his bipartisan chops in that regard.

I’m glad to see the Dallas Morning News climb aboard the Kasich bandwagon, such as it is in Texas.

* *

But what does a newspaper endorsement mean?

More than likely not a damn thing, at least not in this election season.

The leading Republican candidate for president says outrageous things about his foes, other politicians in general, the media, the voters, women — he uses amazingly grotesque language to describe one of his leading opponents — but, what the heck. That’s OK. He scores points for tossing aside “political correctness.”

Kasich remains one of the grownups in this GOP primary contest. A newspaper editorial board endorsement likely won’t be singularly decisive in determining whether he wins the state’s primary on March 1.

I just hope Texas Republicans heed the rationale behind the recommendation.

Both major parties seeing huge transformation?


I spent most of my day in airports and on airplanes today, so I was a bit out of the political loop.

Until I got home.

Then I found out that Donald J. Trump won the Republican primary in New Hampshire in a yuuuuge way. I also found out that Bernie Sanders buried Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary.

What does it mean?

Beats the devil out of me.

I’m not going to suggest just yet that both major political parties are in the midst of a major makeover.

Sanders’ win was expected, given that he is a virtual favorite son, as he represents next-door Vermont in the U.S. Senate. Clinton admitted as much earlier this evening when she conceded the New Hampshire primary to Sanders.

On she and Sanders will march to South Carolina, where a hefty African-American voter base is expected to give Clinton a built-in advantage.

Now, what about them Republicans?

Trump won by a lot. Perhaps the bigger tempest will occur among those who finished behind Trump. John Kasich finished in second place. Now the Ohio governor becomes the latest favorite of the GOP “establishment wing” to challenge Trump. What happened to Marco Rubio? Or Ted Cruz? Or Chris Christie?

As I finish up this post, I am hearing reports on cable TV news that Christie’s bid might be over. He savaged Rubio at the latest GOP debate, which appears to have inflicted near-mortal wounds on the young senator from Florida. Christie, though, didn’t get the bounce he expected. He’s heading for New Jersey, the TV talking heads report, to consider his options.

Look, I’ve noted already that some serious balloting is yet to occur. We’ve got the Super Tuesday event in early March, which includes big, bad Texas taking part in that primary donnybrook.

Will these results determine the future of both major political parties? Perhaps.

However, so help me, this election is impossible to chart with semblance of certainty.


‘Size matters’ in this year’s primary campaigns


Texas is back in the big leagues of the presidential primary season.

The state goes to the polls on March 1 with both the Republican and Democratic presidential nominations very much in doubt . . . although the GOP nomination is more in doubt than the Democratic contest.

As the Texas Tribune’s Ross Ramsey notes in his excellent analysis of the upcoming Lone Star State primary: Size matters.

Texas is back in the game

It’s not clear yet whether the Texas primary, which occurs with several other states, will be decisive. Let’s just presume for a moment that it will be more decisive than, say, the New Hampshire primary that occurs Tuesday, or the Iowa caucus that took place this past week.

On the Democratic side, Vermont’s U.S. senator, Bernie Sanders, is basically running essentially as a favorite son in neighboring New Hampshire. He figures to win. He might even win big. Hillary Clinton hopes to carve into his lead in the final hours before voting starts and if she can finish anywhere near Sanders, she¬†will look for a¬†reason to declare some form of “victory.”

On the Republican side, Donald J. Trump appears headed to victory — if we are to believe those polls.

But none of it matters — truth be told — as much as the big Texas primary that’s about to take place.

Texans are going to cast many more ballots and will select huge delegations to the parties’ political conventions later this year.

In many prior election cycles, the contests were virtually decided by the time the primary caravans rolled into Texas. This year, by the grace of the state and national parties, we get an early shot at making this most critical political decision.

My own hunch is that the Republican primary will be much busier than the Democrats’ primary. One reason is quite obvious: Texas has many more Republicans than Democrats. The other reason is that the GOP primary will be up for grabs and with candidates like Trump and Texas home boy U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz garnering most of the attention, then the Republican polling stations are bound to get most of the election day business.

Still, as an avid political junkie, I happen to be glad to see Texas back in the thick of the presidential selection fight.


Iowa set to kick it off . . . but Texas awaits


OK, so the nation’s political junkies’ eyes are turning this morning to places like Ottumwa, Indianola and Dubuque.

Iowa goes to the polls today, sort of.

The rest of us will know sometime this evening who Iowans prefer to become the Republican and Democratic presidential nominees.

I don’t want to dismiss the importance of these caucuses, which both parties do differently. Republicans actually cast ballots; Democrats go into rooms and argue with each other.

It still just involves a single state. Iowa is a fine place. I’ve been there a couple of times. But it comprises a relatively small population and only a fraction of Iowans are going to take part in these caucuses.

The really, really big show starts on March 1.

New Hampshire next week? South Carolina the week after that? Pffftt!

Texas comes into play on that first day in March when we take part in what amounts to a national primary. We’ll join about 20 other states in selecting delegates to the party conventions.

I do not believe the Republican field will be quite as crowded as it is this morning. Some of the 11 candidates will pull out, perhaps after tonight’s caucuses, or after the New Hampshire primary.

The Democrats might still have a three-person race when the dog-and-pony show comes to Texas.

For those of us who like this process, Texas usually has been a sort of political backwater. We have conducted our primaries relatively late in this nominating process, making our votes meaningless.

Not this year.

There will be some real excitement this year that could rival the 2008 primary.

Eight years ago, the Democrats were engaged in a brass-knuckle fight between Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The primary occurred that year while the two of them were still battling for their party’s nomination.

A fascinating development occurred that year. Democrats drew far more attention in Republican-laden Texas. My wife and I live in Randall County, one of the most GOP-friendly counties in this state. The Democratic Party primary polling place was many times busier that day than the Republican polling station at the Baptist church where we vote.

Why? A lot of Republicans were crossing over to vote in the Democratic primary to cast their votes for who they thought would be the weakest candidate who would run against the GOP nominee.

Clinton won the Texas Democratic primary, but the nomination went eventually, of course, to Obama.

The rest is history.

Will there be a similar display of system-gaming this year? Might there be thousands of Democrats casting Republican primary votes to help nominate the person they think would be the weakest foe this fall? The state’s open primary system allows for that kind of tomfoolery.

If it happens, well, that’s how it goes.

Whatever happens on primary day in Texas will matter — a lot — in determining the next president of the United States.

I look forward to all the attention¬†that will come to¬†places like Marfa, Palestine — and perhaps even Amarillo.


Speaking of endorsements . . .


Rick Perry has weighed in.

The former Texas governor believes his fellow Texan, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, is the most “consistent conservative” running for president and, by golly, he wins the endorsement of the Pride of Paint Creek.

Is it a surprise?

Not even close.

You’ll recall, perhaps, when Perry — when he was still seeking the 2016 GOP presidential nomination — called Donald J. Trump a “cancer” on the conservative movement.

Not long after that, Perry dropped out, saying he was “suspending” his campaign. Trump laughed it off, as he does any time someone speaks ill of him.

I have no clue what kind of impact the Perry endorsement will have on this race. Indeed, whenever some former big hitter weighs in on this campaign, I keep hearing snarky comments from others — mainly on the right and far right — dismissing them as “has beens” or “losers.” Come to think of it, that’s what Trump calls them, too.

But ponder this for a moment.

Quite soon, the Republican presidential primary caravan will find its way to Texas, which has its primary on March 1.

Texas is where Perry’s views matter the most.

He was elected to several political offices: state legislator, agriculture commissioner, lieutenant governor and governor. He never lost an election. Why, he even was elected to the Legislature as a Democrat, for crying out loud.

It might not matter much in places such as New Hampshire or Iowa what Rick Perry thinks of the GOP contest.

It matters here, though. And the last time I checked, Texas still sends a lot of delegates to each party’s respective political convention.


Texas seeks a voice in '16 contest

It’s good to be one of the Big Dogs when it comes to electing presidents of the United States.

Texas is big. And on March 1, 2016 the state is going to have its primary election, meaning that it’s going to be one of the first states to select delegates to the Democratic and Republican national conventions.


The state is going to be a player in the next presidential election cycle, judging by the early interest by a gang of potential GOP candidates who are coming to the state in search of cash and even some votes.

In an interesting twist, several of the potential GOP candidates have strong Texas ties.

* Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was born here; his dad, former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, has run for president twice already while serving as a congressman from the Houston area.

* Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush also is a Texas native; his son, George P. Bush, has just taken office as state land commissioner. Jeb’s brother, George W., was Texas governor before being elected president in 2000 and his dad, George H.W., served in Congress from the Houston area before he was elected vice president in 1980 and then president in 1988.

* Ted Cruz represents Texas in the U.S. Senate.

* Rick Perry is a former Texas governor and holds the record for longevity in that office.

And for the Democrats? Well, some folks have tried to suggest that Hillary Rodham Clinton has a Texas connection, too, having worked with her husband, Bill Clinton, as Texas campaign coordinators for the late Sen. George McGovern’s presidential campaign in 1972.

Aw, what the heck. Let’s allow her to claim some Lone Star State roots, too, shall we?

As the Associated Press reported: “Traditionally, opening the campaign with small states has allowed the candidates to concentrate on connecting with highly motivated groups of voters rather than wooing the masses, and gradually building momentum. Adding an early behemoth like Texas makes a difference. More than 150 delegates to the GOP nominating convention are at stake in one place, dozens more than Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada combined. And Texas’s 270,000 square miles requires more campaigning by television across 20 cash-draining media markets.”

Welcome back to the Big Show, Texas.