The Beto Campaign sent out a survey asking questions regarding their campaign strategy.
I know technically that isn’t directly asking me for “my advice,” but don’t burst my bubble. This week, I received a marketing email from the Beto campaign, the same one I’m sure you all received. In his email, he asked several questions about his campaign strategy.
This was a good email… well, I’m actually not sure what the email said, but the survey, the interaction part…that was good.
We have roughly 11 months to do something exceptional, and while it seems like we’re out of the gates with a boom, we can do so much better, not just Beto but all up and down the ticket.
Is this another “What Beto has to do to win” post? Yes, but it’s also what needs to be done by the state party, outside organizations, other candidates, and every voter dedicated to turning Texas blue.
What were the questions on the survey?
The first question seemed obvious, but the more I thought about it, the more I might see how someone would have a different answer than me.
“Beto plans to travel across Texas and reach out to every Texan -Republicans, Democrat, and folks who never voted -to win this race. Do you agree with our strategy?”
I think I said “no shit” out loud when I first read this question, but then I realized that there are some Democrats who may say that it’s a waste of time to talk to Republicans. It’s not.
My husband thought it was funny to put the living room TV in OAN and then hide the remote. I thought it would be funnier to show I wasn’t bothered by it. I watched. For several hours. And it’s as bad as you think, maybe even worse.
First, there was a 30-minute segment about crimes committed by Black people. It was explicitly racist. Are there FCC guidelines about this type of content? 🤷🏻♀️
Then, they played the clip of Biden calling Vice President Kamala Harris, “President Kamala Harris.” And they couldn’t shut up about it. A lot of ageism.
The point is that if our Republican counterparts are gobbling up this racist, hate-filled dribble, how else will they know anything different if we don’t talk to them.
The failure of DC Democrats.
There have been a few incidents this year, like when Jamie Raskin put MTG in her place just the other day.
Or when Tim Ryan tore the Republicans a new one.
Aside from a small handful of incidents like that, DC Democrats have done a shit job of pushing against fascism and disinformation.
For Texas Democrats running for office or seeking re-election this year to win, they need to aggressively rebut and push back against every lie and distortion of truth the right pushes. But, unfortunately, most DC Democrats fail to do that.
Texas Democrats are different, and if you paid attention to this last legislative session, you know.
We have to match their energy.
Every time Republicans lied or said/did something racist in committee or on the House/Senate floor during the 87th Texas Legislator, Democrats fought back. We called them out; we pushed back on their lies, we let them know that their legislation was racist, and we hit them with brutal honesty.
What Texas Democrats did this year by breaking quorum is a perfect example of matching their energy. We used what tools we had available to us to fight back.
The grit we all saw for the Texas House Democrats this year is what ALL Democrats need to win.
A few days ago, I saw a quick video from Beto talking about the “Abbott Tax.” Then all weekend long, Greg Abbott was trending on Twitter all weekend long. #AbbottFailedTexas and #AbbottTax stayed in the top 10 tending for almost 48-hours straight.
We lose if we don’t aggressively push back against the narratives.
Right now, one of the most significant talking points is the so-called “border crisis.” Unfortunately, Greg Abbott has perpetuated a border crisis. Lies that began with him and were amplified by other GOP elected officials intentionally to appeal to the very worst of society to win votes.
If you talk to the Republicans next door, in your family, and in your peer groups, many of them genuinely believe that the Cartels are marching tons of fentanyl across the border on river rafts and the backs of 10-year old boys wearing plastic bottles for sandals.
They believe it because all of their media choices tell them that’s what’s happening. Through interviews with GOP officials, like Greg Abbott, Ted Cruz, and every other asshole South of Oklahoma, the news outlets tell them through interviews. Their elected officials are going on their TV channels and telling them what’s happening at the border. So why wouldn’t they believe it?
Yet, those of us who have been paying attention and reading reports and data know the truth.
Where are the Democrats calling them out on their lies about the border and immigration at every chance they get?
Democrats in office, running for office, and in the media all need to do better at helping the average voter understand is that Abbott and the rest of the Republicans are all telling them are all lies. So follow it up with the truth. Especially in South Texas, show real videos and photos, not the photo-ops the right uses.
Suppose you made two lists on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever the social channel is, one list being all Republicans and the other being all Democrats. In that case, you’ll see two very different online presences.
On the right, you will find that the bigger-known politicians post regularly and constantly call attention to the moment’s big hot-button issue. However, our politicians are not as good at social media as the right is on the left. Most of them don’t post regularly, and when they do, their post is often generic.
As far as a social media strategy, the left could do a lot better.
This year, a lot of the political strategy conversation has been around door knocking and campaign rallies since the Texas Democratic Party claimed that the reason we didn’t flip blue in 2020 was because of the pandemic and not getting out for face to face interactions.
That’s probably true, but it’s a simplification.
If Democrats want to win in 2022, they have to get out, door knock, hold campaign rallies, and kiss babies. And, they also have to have a more aggressive social media strategy.
Did y’all know that Beto isn’t even on TikTok yet? WTF? Someone get a hold of his campaign and tell them they’re a day late. Far-right Republican hopeful face-to-face Chad Prather is on TikTok and has 250,000 followers. It’s estimated that over 9 million Texans are on TikTok, and 75% of TikTok users are over the age of 19. Those are voters.
Any Democrat who isn’t on TikTok, making regular and engaging content, is missing out on potentially reaching a huge segment of would-be voters.
Speaking of which, a few days ago, I saw a TikTok discussion between @adequinn and @westtexasprogressive, where they talked about Beto’s strategy. Someone mentioned how Beto’s campaigning so far had felt kind of like a “reunion tour.” This is because so many people going out to see him were the same ones who voted for him last time, and there weren’t new potential voters.
I disagree with that statement for the record, but I understood what he meant.
Beto’s rallies have been tremendous, and he needs to keep them up. However, when Beto came to a particular town, he met with a retired Democratic Texas Legislator, even though the same city has a new, young, and progressive mayor. And I see the point.
There are people in the party, many in county parties, who have been very frustrated at the party’s continuance to embrace moderates instead of progressives. (Me included, I’m not going to rehash) Of course, there are elder, often white, Democrats who happen to vote at a higher rate and contribute more money than their younger counterparts, who are fighting to hold on to the long-ago days of Conservatism in the Democratic Party.
It’s a catch-22, but we all have to find a way to work with one another without alienating other ideologies and losing the progressive vote = fewer voters and losing the moderate vote = more Republican voters.
So, while the person on TikTok was frustrated that Beto met with one local politician over another, his frustration will likely turn to joy if the next time Beto is in town, he meets with the politician he left out the first time.
At this time, all Democrats running for office or groups trying to GOTV should be stretching out their tentacles and working with and meeting with other people and groups pushing for the same goals. Shared block-walking time, candidate forums, rallies, and whatever additional opportunity arise, at the end of the day, we all want to turn Texas blue and can help each other.
The survey’s second question.
What do you think will be the biggest challenge our campaign will face in 2022?
- Greg Abbott’s $55 million war chest
- GOP-led voter suppression
- Low voter turnout in a non-presidential election year
- Attack ads from the far-right super PACs
- Donald Trump’s influence over the Republican Party
Yes! All of the above. And misinformation, that’s a huge one, too.
From Beto’s perspective, Abbott’s $55 million war chest sucks, but I think he can match fundraising efforts. If anyone can do it, Beto can. He raised $2 million in the first 24-hours he announced. During the Big Freeze, he and AOC raised $5 million for suffering Texans, and $80 million when he ran for Senate.
GOP-led voter suppression will hurt us in 2022 if the U.S. Senate fails to act on voting rights. There are also a dozen or more lawsuits against Texas from various civil rights organizations and the U.S. Department of Justice regarding voting rights and redistricting. If none of those lawsuits are decided favorably before election day, then GOP-led suppression will hurt us. But, on the other hand, if we get voting rights and a judge fairly redraws the maps, Texas Democrats will win in 2022.
During the last midterm election (2018), Democrats only lost by 2.56%. In 2014, it was 20.37%.
What does that mean?
First, it shows that Democrats rapidly gain the majority. Even the presidential elections represent that.
In 2020, Democrats only lost by 5.58%, compared to 8.99% in 2016 and 15.79% in 2012. If our statewide elections gain a few points in each significant election and we only lost by 2.56% in the last midterm, then by laws of average, we have a good shot at flipping the state this year.
Secondly, the big turnout we saw in 2018 was the Beto-effect and considering Beto is running again this year. We should expect to see the same. That includes a lot of down-ballot candidates. The last time Beto ran, he helped dozens of down-ballot candidates. That will happen again, but down-ballot candidates shouldn’t rely on Beto’s charm alone to help them win. They should also be aggressively campaigning as if Beto wasn’t even a factor.
Texas Democrats have to run hard at every level and they need to show that there’s a difference between Texas Democrats and DC Democrats. Most of us already see it, but we need to see messaging harping on it.
It’s essential if that Democrats message on Democratic accomplishments and Republican failures. Democrats have to stop playing nice when it comes to Republicans. Their losses hurt us as much as Democratic achievements help us.
- Texas has high property taxes because Texas Republicans
- 6 million Texans are uninsured because of Texas Republicans
- Thousands of Texans live in cancer clusters because of Texas Republicans
- 4 million Texans live in poverty because of Texas Republicans
- Women don’t have access to healthcare because Texas Republicans
- Gun violence is through the roof because of Texas Republicans
- Millions of Texans lack broadband access because of Texas Republicans
- Texans suffer because of Texas Republicans
Everyone knows things are as bad in the State of Texas, but does everyone know why? If they watch OAN, Fox News or don’t watch the news at all, they probably don’t. Democrats must help inform voters why Texans have suffered so much these last several years.
It’s the result of two decades of failed Texas Republican policies. And everyone should know that IT CAN get worse.
The survey’s final question.
What do you recommend we prioritize in our campaign strategy to defeat Greg Abbott?
Everything. Throw the kitchen sink at Abbott and every other Republican from Gainesville to Brownsville. Get out, meet voters, kiss babies, launch an aggressive social media policy, bring in more people from around the country (Obama, Stacy Abrams, and every Democratic Rockstar), go aggressively on the offensive, secure support of local community leaders, and register every non-voter in Texas.
With an aggressive and well-rounded strategy, Democrats will win state offices, Governor, Lt. Governor, AG, and so on. But to flip the Texas House and have a shot at flipping the Texas Senate (less likely), Democrats have to pull out a miracle (that’s if we don’t get voting rights from the U.S. Senate or a successful lawsuit for voting rights).
We need to think worst-case scenario. Every Democrat running for office should be running as if the Democrats lose, then we also lose democracy.
We can win in 2022, and it’s going to take all of us doing all that we can.
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