This year was the first state convention I ever attended. I had a ton of fun and learned a lot. There were lots of takeaways, both good and bad. And while Texas Democrats are mostly fractured, split between the old establishment and progressives, it will not hurt us as badly as some believe. I’ll tell you why, but first, let’s talk about how the convention went.
Technically, the convention was Friday and Saturday, but the National Party offered a full day of training on Thursday. I signed up for and attended the training, even though I’m not working on any campaigns or volunteering with any party right now. I was probably the only person there to learn for the sake of learning. (I’m such a nerd)
I thought if I could learn more about campaigns and how they are run, perhaps I can get Living Blue in Texas readers more information or better information regarding campaigns and elections. And for sure, I learned a lot. Some of the other attendees told me the training was repetitive if they’ve been through other training, but I had never been through any.
At 3 pm on Thursday, they opened the convention floor so delegates could get their badges and check-in. There were a lot of booths full of people selling t-shirts and signing people up for their email lists. There wasn’t much free stuff being given out, but Trey Hunt, candidate for Congressional District 12, gave me a free t-shirt, and so did Kim Olson.
I ran into lots of people I knew locally. House Candidate Dennis Sherrard and Senate Candidate Gwen Burud both bragged about me. They both brought up my book, Dixiegops, and talked about how well I was doing with Living Blue. It made me blush, but I’m thankful to have them in my corner and know they both will be amazing legislators.
Thursday ended without a lot of excitement, but Friday was an entirely different story.
The official first day of the convention started with the caucuses, the progressive caucus, LGBTQ, women, etc.
Y’all, this was one of the best takeaways from the convention. I attended the progressive caucus, and there were so many people that it was standing room only, and people others the door outside, hoping to hear the speeches.
I have been saying for years that Democrats in Texas are progressive and that the party needs to stop catering to moderates. And this proved it. More people attended the progressive caucus than most other caucus meetings (except for the women’s caucus). It was amazing, the speakers were on fire, the crowd was amped up, and it proved how progressive Texas Democrats truly are.
I left that caucus meeting feeling hopeful and engaged. The next caucus I planned on attending was the cannabis caucus, but there was time to kill. So I walked around meeting people and taking pictures.
That’s when I noticed the Texas Scorecard loitering in the caucus meeting hallway. They were stopping random people to chit-chat with them, but we’ve seen enough of these things to know their intentions were to edit what people say to make them look bad.
At first, I just heckled them a little, yelling, “The Texas Scorecard sucks” and “the Texas Scorecard is a fascist organization.” Knowing how they are the media arm of Empower Texas, I wondered why the state party would have let them in or given them credentials. As it turns out, they didn’t.
I sat nearby with a group of young ladies who I didn’t know and started chatting with them about the Texas Scorecard and Empower Texas. They got just as worked up about them being there as I was. Until I said, let’s go confront them.
The other ladies were down, so we walked up to them, and I told the man they were interviewing, “Hey, you know they are with Empower Texas, and they’re going to cut your video to try to make you look bad.” The ladies behind me chimed in about how they weren’t on our side.
I was so certain the interviewer was Luke Macias, but he was actually Brandon Waltens. Look at their side-by-side picture. An easy mistake to make. This is why later, you can hear me saying, “Fuck you, Luke,” because I thought Brandon was Luke. 🤦🏻♀️ Ironically, the teenage cameraman he had with him was named Luke. So, they probably thought I was cursing at this poor kid.
Anyway, after I said, “Empower Texas were bad guys,” Brandon stuck the microphone in my face, turned the camera on me, and said, “Would you like to talk?”
So, there I was, face-to-face with one of the evilest organizations in Texas, and I said the first thing that came to mind. “Empower Texas is a fascist organization, and fuck you guys.” I stuck my middle finger in the camera.
That’s when one of the ladies I was with noticed they didn’t have a media pass or credentials to be there. Then all of us said, “Hell no,” and went to find security to have them removed. They had snuck in and had no authorization to be there.
Later, we discovered that the Texas Scorecard requested credentials twice and was denied both times.
Security asked them to leave, but not before I told them again, “Fuck Empower Texas,” and shot them the bird.
Of course, Brandon went online and cried about it. Michael Quinn Sullivan cried about it. And disgraced former House Rep Jonathan Stickland went on Twitter and called me unladylike for telling the biggest fascist organization in Texas to fuck off.
A few others tried to tone police my language. To all of them, I say, “You aren’t going to fight fascism with rainbows and flowers. Don’t be a fucking idiot.”
Unsurprisingly, the Texas Scorecard edited the clip of me confronting them. They conveniently cut out the part where I said, “Empower Texas is a fascist organization.” Too bad for them, I had the unedited version.
After that, I went to the Planned Parenthood meeting. Donna Howard and Wendy Davis were speaking, but my phone notifications were going bananas. Beto arrived at the convention early and was being swarmed with people. I wanted to get a picture with him, so I headed over.
The wait to see Beto was about 30 minutes.
You know, whenever you see Beto on TV, and he’s at home, he’s always sitting in front of a huge bookshelf. I brought an extra copy of my book, Dixiegops, and planned on giving it to Beto. I thought it would be cool to know that my book was among the hundreds behind him.
I meant to tell him that whole thing about his bookshelf and seeing his collection of books on TV, but everyone was moving so quickly, and everyone around us was screaming. I think it came out, “This is my book. I brought it for you.”
I’m not sure he even heard me, but apparently, one of the people surrounding us was a Dallas Morning News reporter, and here I was with Beto at that moment. 🤦🏻♀️
The last thing for Friday was our Senate District Committees. It was when all the delegates from each met on who to nominate for convention committees and our SDEC chairs.
Understanding the SDEC.
Some of you may already know this information, and others may have no clue what I’m talking about. I’ll make a longer post about this later, but in short, the Texas Democratic Party doesn’t talk to the County Parties directly. The Senate District Executive Committee is basically the middle man between the state party and county parties.
There’s drama, and it’s too much to cover right now, but my particular SDEC is being run by the minority. Specifically, the rural minority held onto power. Yes, rural Democrats should have a voice, but ignoring the needs and unique challenges of urban Democrats is a mistake.
During the convention, I expressed my feelings about that. I don’t care if I ruffled feathers, some people still don’t understand how crucial of a moment we’re at in American Democracy. I’ll tell you more soon.
I didn’t start for the speeches Friday night because we couldn’t find a babysitter.
There were only two things happening Saturday. The committee meetings and general session, when we voted on the chair, a few other people in the party, and the committee’s final reports.
The spaces I saw were great, but none were as good as the speech given by James Talarico.
This is why we all fell in love with Talarico, to begin with.
Some are still angry at his return to quorum last year, perhaps rightfully so, but putting that aside is how every Democrat should be talking right now. America is in the midst of a crisis of democracy. Right now isn’t the time to be nice or fair, it’s time to take the gloves off.
The votes for the chair finally came. I voted for Kim Olsen because I’ve seen Hinojosa’s failures. But, counting the votes took a long time. I don’t even know how long, over an hour.
Everyone was walking around and talking during this time, and right when the results were coming in, I was confronted by someone with my local county party over one of my tweets Thursday night. 🤦🏻♀️ This is sort of a continuation of the drama from the SDEC meeting. As I said, it deserves its own post.
I missed what the results were and didn’t hear what Carroll Robinson said because the lady from my county party was trying to tell me off, but essentially he endorsed Hinojosa and the race for chair went to runoff.
Was it a shady deal?
The only two people that will truly know that is Hinojosa and Robinson. However, there are a lot of insiders talking about how Robinson was promised a job if he endorsed Hinojosa, and the reason the results took so long to come in is they were negotiating that deal.
Delegates voted again. Hinojosa or Olson.
Hinojosa won, by less than 60%. Meaning there was a huge split.
Delegates were expected to stay and continue voting. However, when it was announced that Hinojosa was the winner, thousands of people walked out of the convention. I was one of them. I can’t tell you why all the rest of the people left, but I left because that was the third strike. My SDEC committee isn’t working for my town, my county party hasn’t been working for my town, and the state party has never worked for my town.
That doesn’t mean I’m giving up.
I’ve talked to dozens of candidates, county party chairs, and activists all around the state who aren’t giving up either. But, the state party hasn’t been working with and for everyone for a long time. Why did they re-elect Hinojosa? That’s a good question.
People are going to organize and strategize without the party if that’s what has to happen. Sure, it’s sad, but if we’re going to turn this state blue, it’s going to take every single one of us.
12,000 people showed up for the 2022 Texas Democratic Convention. Only 4,000 people showed up to the 2022 Texas GOP Convention. We out number them, we’re fed up, and we’re going to fight.
Even though there were some disappointments and setbacks, Democrats in Texas are still going to bust their butts to get out the vote in November, and I will too.