Beto O'Rourke's running for Governor

Unless he somehow manages to stop exuding the essence of the illegitimate offspring of a smarmy used car salesman and pharma-bro he’s pretty much last year’s news as far as politics goes.

He had his 5 minutes of fame and failed to capitalize on it. Now it’s just a polyester leisure suit waiting for Disco to be a thing again.

Welp, Matthew McConaughey has ruled out a bid for Texas Governor “at this moment.” With the filing deadline in two weeks, looks like it’s Beto or bust.

Next year’s election is going to be a slaughter.

From my outsider perspective, good on him. If you feel this is not your time, it is not.

Which I believe was the smart money prediction. The slaughter, I mean.

As I wrote earlier, this is not necessarily really a campaign to elect a Texas governor. It can be a campaign to try and assemble a fundraising/organizing structure that can outlive O’Rourke and in the course of assembling it see if they some real future prospects emerge, that can then make use of it later. Which the Texas Dems should have been doing way earlier than this. Instead we got a huge segment pinning their hopes on Star Power (the Castros, Beto when he was fresh and new, McConaughey).

The Democrats should focus on finding candidates with real qualifications, rather than going for celebrities, people who look good for the camera or who tick the right intersectional boxes.

Maybe Sarah Palin or Dr. Oz?

So no reality-show hosts?

That’s part of the problem; the Texas Democratic party’s bench is very shallow. There are the “star power” Democrats like the Castros, Beto, and McConaughey, there are the old-school minority politicians (Royce West, Senfronia Thompson, Juan Hinojosa, and a few others), and then a nameless (in statewide terms) rabble of Democratic legislators. Most of the Democratic mayors are either too new and unproven (Mattie Parker), have proven unelectable (Sylvester Turner), or are just not really gubernatorial material (Eric Johnson).

There just aren’t a lot of good choices of people who’ve been say… committee chairs, and who’ve headed up state agencies, etc… because the Democrats have been so excluded from statewide office for so long.

The Democrats should focus on finding candidates with real qualifications, rather than going for celebrities, people who look good for the camera or who tick the right intersectional boxes.

Because that worked so well for us in 2016.

It the opposite here in California. The exact opposite.

On a related note, hasn’t that been the Republican’s long-term strategy since at least the 1990s? Basically, they start locally by ensuring Republicans effectively monopolize every office so that the political careers of many promising new Democratics at snuffed out at entry-level. As a result, when it comes to running viable candidates at the state level, Texas Democrats have fewer viable picks to choose from. This is like if the New York Yankee organization somehow developed and unleashed a deadly virus that only infected the players on Boston Red Sox farm teams. Eventually, most of the Red Sox organization would be wiped out and those that remained to make the parent club would be too weak to field a competitive major league team.

Honestly, I think either situation is bad overall. I’m a firm believer that having robust opposition means that better policy and better compromises are made. They keep the other side sharp and on their toes- one side can’t run riot without being checked by the other.

Probably so; but what perplexes me is that as late as 1997, the Texas Legislature was still dominated by the Democratic party. I haven’t figured out what started happening starting right around 1999, that swung the pendulum pretty hard to the right. For example in 1997, it was 82D/68R, 1999 was 78D/72R, 2001 was also 78D/72R, and then in 2003, it swung hard to 88R/62D, and has been roughly there since, with a particularly hard swing to 101R/49D in 2011. This last session it was 83R/67D, which is better than it had been (it had been roughly 95R/55D for a decade).

That weird swing starting in about 2003 is a bit late for the “Contract with America” of the early-mid 1990s, and a bit early for the Tea Party.

The big question I have is whether or not the Trumpist insanity of the Texas GOP is going to keep that momentum going, or whether people were just turned off by Trump personally. I haven’t figured that out- at least in the circles I am in, I haven’t heard anyone say anything good at all about Ted Cruz.

Given the other election results in Texas in the 1990s, I suspect it’s just an artifact of the redistricting process. Democrats had control of both legislative chambers in 1991, but they didn’t have the Senate in 2001, so the 2002 maps were much less favorable. Furthermore, the 2002 election came at a time when the Republican Party was led at the national level by a Texan with a 65% approval rating.

Is this about Beto O’Rourke?

He has real qualifications. He doesn’t check intersectional boxes as I understand the term.

What are you talking about?

If I had to guess, he’s talking more about Lupe Valdez, the 2018 Democratic candidate for governor.

I wouldn’t “blame” this solely on Republicans – a political party should be contesting offices at all levels. And the fact is that for the last couple of decades Democratic voters and the national party have neglected state and local races. Going into the 2020 elections, which would elect the state legislatures that would control redistricting, Democrats swore they had learned their lesson and Eric Holder led an initiative focused on flipping state legislative chambers. The result is that exactly one state legislature flipped its majority – New Hampshire flipped from Democrat to Republican.

My own sense is that Democratic voters and donors are just much more motivated by federal races. Look at all the money they pissed away on hopeless Senate races in Kentucy and South Carolina.

That “weird swing” was the result of the Texas Republicans doing some district gerrymandering only two years after the previous plan had been implemented.

No, the swing that @bump notes was not the result of the mid-decennial redistricting. Rather, it was Republicans taking the state legislature for the first time in the 2003 session that let them redistrict the federal Congressional map (they did not change the state legislative maps).