Despite the odds, Democrats in "reliably red" territory remain steadfast in resisting the disastrous Republican agenda and bringing about much needed change at the local level.
I didn’t set out to celebrate President Barack Obama’s 56th birthday by being the change he always implored the American public to be, but that’s exactly what I ended up doing.
And I didn’t know when I accepted the Harris County Democratic Party chairwoman’s warm invitation to visit their Houston, Texas, headquarters on August 4, 2017 that I’d leave even more “fired up and ready to go” than I was when I arrived, but that’s exactly how I felt when I left.
Perhaps it was the quiet resolve and determination of so many hidden figures working behind the scenes to make the lives of complete strangers better, or maybe it was the camaraderie of venting about politics face-to-face with like-minded people right here in my own backyard; either way, it felt like home. This fact wasn’t lost on me or anyone else I met that day.
We laughed about the irony of a Twitter profile bringing us together in person when we’ve been living a mere twenty minute drive away from each other all along.
We marveled at the prospect of online resistance transforming itself into grassroots organization, in the same way it had now finally brought the prodigal Propane Jane home from the Twitter streets to her local Democratic Party headquarters.
We strategized about how best to turn the righteous indignation of our favorite keyboard commandos into mobilization of the low propensity voters who are vital to turning our whole state blue.
We dared to dream that the Democratic stronghold we’ve gradually been building here in our city can soon be extrapolated not only to neighboring cities and towns, but to the entire state of Texas and the nation as a whole.
In essence, we started laying the groundwork for a fifty state strategy that begins deep in the heart of Texas and red states all over America.
By now it has become readily and painfully apparent that even a historically stellar popular vote performance can easily be trumped by the “right” electoral college math. The ill-fated results of both the 2000 and 2016 elections serve as an unsettling reminder that Democratic Party ideals cannot be advanced when our collective resources fail to assemble the winning collection of states that add up to 270 electoral votes and the keys to the White House.
Admittedly, as a Texan, I’m preferential to political calculations that acknowledge the reality that our 38 electoral votes are equal to those of Ohio and Pennsylvania combined, and that our demographics are increasingly becoming more favorable to the Democratic coalition with each passing election cycle.
As a red state Democrat, I am keenly aware of the role abysmally low voter turnout and Republican orchestrated voter suppression and gerrymandering have played in thwarting our progress over the last two decades, and how the GOP establishment plans to use the same playbook all across the country in the future.
By that same token, I am also proudly familiar with the tenacity and perseverance of red state Democrats who have withstood chronic underdog status yet remained committed to chipping away at the local level to bring about necessary change.
As such, Democrats in red districts from Iowa to Oklahoma have now pulled off decisive special election victories in places they haven’t won in decades, and are capitalizing on ever growing disapproval amongst Donald Trump’s most loyal red state supporters as his iteration of the disastrous Republican agenda fails here at home and abroad.
In other words, if we seek to win the race to 270, it would be wise to take cues from the Democrats who best understand that it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
We aren’t demoralized, discouraged, or in disarray, and we fully intend to not only be the resistance, but the change too. Expect us.