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Rural Democrats, Think Before You Vote Republican

Early voting has started today, and I know what many of our rural Democrats are asking themselves.

My Republican state representative voted against vouchers. Should I vote in the Republican Primary to stop Greg Abbott and his pro-voucher candidate from defeating him?

I don't know you, so I am not going to answer that question directly. Only you know what you should do in your particular situation. It is your vote. But let me give you some food for thought.

  1. There aren't enough Democrats in most rural counties to make a difference in a Republican primary election.

While it sounds like a good idea. It often isn't. In my county on average there are 10-12,000 voters in the Republican Primary. In the Democratic Primary there are usually less than half that number, even when there is a contested primary for President. Unless every Democrat were to vote in the Republican Primary, the few folks that cross over are not enough to impact that race. The Republicans made their own mess. Let them clean it up.

2. Your local party will not be able to identify you as a Democrat.

Voting in the primary is the only way the Democratic Party has to identify that you are a Democrat and not a Republican. Our efforts to grow the party depend on knowing who our folks are. Voting in a Republican primary makes it very hard for your local party or the state party to identify you as a potential Democratic voter. It also makes communication with you more difficult.  Your local party may stop sending you information about Democratic candidates and events. It is not because they don't like you, but they may not know why you voted Republican. They will only know that you did and they may mark you off their list.

3. You will start getting all sorts of right wing materials in your mailbox, by email and text.

Voting in the Republican primary will get you on the list as a Republican and everything that goes with it. Text messages from Greg Abbott, mailers from Ted Cruz, requests to donate to the RNC. If you are like me you get enough of that junk anyway. And it won't be just from elected officials. Every fringe organization will use that list to reach out to you. Don't make it any easier for them to target you.

4. If you want the state party and its candidates to pay attention to rural Texas, vote like it.

We need to build our local parties in rural Texas. To do that we need every Democrat showing up and voting in the Democratic Primary. If we don't we are yielding any voice we may have in the future direction of the party and who our candidates should be. Urban and suburban Democrats already have a stronger voice in the party. A lot of people in the party already want to ignore rural Texas. Don't let them have it by default. Show up. The more voters we lose in the local Democratic Primary, the harder it becomes to sustain a party. If you want to have a Democratic Party in your county, you'd better vote in its primary, or one of these days it might not be there.

Jon Mark Hogg is co-founder of The 134 PAC.

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