Updated: Sep 18, 2021
As Stuart and I travel and talk to people around The 134, I often encounter the same questions in county after county. As we enter the primary season, we all recognize how important it is to have local candidates running to grow the Democratic vote. People won't vote Democratic if there are no candidates to vote for. So, it makes sense that a frequent question we hear is, how do we convince somebody to run as a Democrat when 80% of the county voted for Trump? This is not a new question. It also has nothing to do with Trump. 134 Democrats have been asking this question long before Trump became President, and we will be it asking long after he has been forgotten. It has become a rhetorical question because no one has found a simple answer. Maybe that is because there is no easy answer. I don't have one myself.
What I do have is a perspective on this question that may offer some clarity and direction. It is to ask another question, "How do you keep voting Democratic when your candidates never win?" Why do we do anything if we are not sure of success? It is the struggle, the competition, it is the challenge itself that drives us. It is the struggle of life that makes it worth living, not the outcome. We all know what that outcome will be. It is the struggle to build a better future for our children and our children's children that make this crazy thing called politics worth doing, not the outcome. Outcomes will change. They are fickle as fortune. We have no responsibility for the outcome, only what we do with our time here. It is the struggle itself that makes it worth doing..
Why do soldiers fight on, even unto death, in a battle they know is lost? Why does a team that is getting destroyed on the field or the court continue to play? Why don't they give up? It is because they are not fighting for victory, for their country or a cause, nor are they playing because they they think they can win. They are fighting and playing for each other. I am not a veteran. I have never been in combat. Yet it is easy to understand the old soldiers when they tell how they fought on, against overwhelming odds, for their buddies—not for any other reason. They fought for each other. They same goes for an outmatched sports team. They are playing for the joy of the game and for their teammates. They are playing for each other. It is that joy, that motivation of doing it for each other that we need to find candidates.
When we enter into Democratic politics in most places in The 134, if we do it for ourselves, if we do it because we want the office, or to "win", if we do it for money or our own ego or ambitions we will not last long. That is not what being involved in Democratic politics out here is about. But if we do it for each other, if we do it for the joy of the struggle itself - well that changes everything..
That is the spirit we need to have. Run for office for each other, for the contest itself, and for what can be. We do not need any other reason. This is the culture we must plant, water, tend and cultivate. Do not be disappointed if it does not happen right away. It won't. But be patient, if we keep at it, if we tend the fields day after day, the harvest will come when the time is ripe.
Jon Mark Hogg is a San Angelo lawyer and Founder of The 134 PAC