There is a lot of hang-wringing and debate going on among Democrats all over the state right now in the wake of the 2022 election results. I have my own opinions, as I am sure you do, about what Democrats need to do to rebuild and make this a competitive electoral state. But I am not all that smart, and do not claim to have the answer or answers. But if history is any indication, rural Democrats will not factor heavily into whatever direction the political class decide to take us. The strategy will likely continue to be urban focused, and more to the left in its message than my more centralist views. And that is okay. Personally, I doubt that path will work in Texas, and it may do more harm in the long run. But those who espouse that position may be right and I may be wrong. I doubt it. but only time will tell.
What the election has reminded me of is that rural and local is where we as The134 PAC can have an impact. We too got caught up in the excitement of what was projected to be a close election. We got involved in the fight for state party chair, falling into the trap of thinking that reforming the state party was the answer. We helped the few state-wide campaigns that reached out to us and showed interest in rural votes. But in the end our real accomplishments were things like helping restart the Dawson County Democratic Party, and funding GOTV efforts and projects in Palo Pinto, Dawson, Presidio, Tom Green, Comal, Kendall and Medina counties. We ended up distributing over $12,000 in direct grants and spending around $15,000 overall to help these counties and a few others during the election cycle. We also assisted with handling the money for purchasing, printing and distribution of signs across the state with Bart Ewald and others. Our money came from you our sustaining donors and our summer fundraiser in Amarillo. $25 per month can go a long way when you save it over time and keep overhead low or non-existent. We have no paid staff and what work we do is done completely by volunteers.
One of the brightest spots we had was being able to be a small part of the great success Presidio County Democrats had at the ballot box in holding off Republicans in a county they targeted with their money and rhetoric of invasion and military emergency on the border. They defeated the incumbent Republican County Judge who switched parties, at the invitation of Greg Abbot, and they went on to sweep the entire field for Democrats in their county. This affirmed for me that our original instinct to ignore state races and the state party and focus on local folks who are doing for themselves is the right strategy for us. Therefore, as we move into 2023 this is the direction we will be going.
What happens with the TDP, and what strategy they use for 2024 we will leave to others to decide. It really won't make any difference to rural Texas. It never does. We are in this struggle for our local rural communities and the potential we see that no one else can. We know The 134 and are committed to finding county chairs, building local parties and helping support their efforts to grow over the long haul.
If you are in it for the long haul to, we would appreciate you becoming a sustaining donor with us through the 2024 election.
As Tip O'Neil said, "All Politics is local."