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What Tony Hawk Taught Me About Politics

Never vote in a Republican Primary

Well, that is not exactly what he said, but I will get to the point in a minute. First, as many of you may or may not know, the primarly filing deadline is tomorrow. I know for a lot of you there will be no local Democrats on your primary ballot. There may not even be a Democrat running for the legislature for your district. You may be tempted to crossover and vote in the Republican primary for County Commissioner or some other office that will be decided in their primary. It is very tempting, I know.

Yield Not to Temptation.

Like me, you probably live in a county that votes Republican by a large margin. In my county, Democratic candidates have not broken 30% in a general election in decades. The Republican primary is the election. So, many of my friends will think that if you want to have a say in who runs your local government you need to vote in the Republican Primary. Sometimes we may delude ourselves into thinking we can impact the outcome of their primary and elect more moderate Republicans. There may have been a time and a place for that sort of thinking, but it is long gone. That Republican party is dead. When your candidates can't break 30% in a general election there aren't enough of you to impact the outcome of a Republican primary. All that you do is prolong the time when Democrats are strong enough to return to power with a moderate voice and common sense, good government. We can't pull back as Democrats anymore. We must lean into it and rush headlong into the challenge.

What I Learned About Politics from Tony Hawk

When my son was a teenager he got into skateboarding and I would take him to the skate park in our town. I did not participate. I watched a lot. My skateboarding days were well behind me. I was never any good at it in the 70's and 80's anway. I was amazed to watch the skaters reckless abandon in plummeting into the bowl. I watched my son do it over and over again and could not understand how he was able to do it and not crash. I asked him, but like most teenagers his answer was something like, "I don't know, you just do it.

I also took him skiing. We started out on the bunny slope together, but he soon left me for the blues and blacks. My snow plow didn't work to well for me and I always crashed getting off the ski slope. That was embarrasing to me and annoying to the skiers coming behind me. One year I finally had an instructor that told me the secret to getting on and off the ski lift.. "Don't lean back. Lean forward as you get off." That immediately solved my problem.

Later I saw Tony Hawk, the great skateboarder in an interview. He explained why skaters don't crash everytime when they take off going vertically down into the half-pipe or bowl. He said that our natural instinct is to lean back away from the risk, the danger. That is a mistake. If you do that you will crash everytime. If you want to succeed at skateboarding, skiing, snowboarding you have to lean into it, the direction you want to go, even if that is straight down. You must put your center of gravity forward. If you do that you will not crash but will move safely on through the challenge in front of you.

If you can't get out of it, get into it.

If you are content with the status quo, with where we are, then by all means go vote in the local Republican primary for Sheriff or constable. All you do by that is strengthen the radical Republican powerbase in rural Texas. Your local Republican candidate may be your friend, and they may not be radical, but they are part of a radical machine and will be swamped by it. They are supporting a system and a party that has grown more and more radical and fascist over time. If you want change you are going to have to plummet head first down the mountain.

I have come to the conclusion that it is better to vote in no primary than to vote in the Republican primary and strengthen their numbers. It is better to not vote for the radical candidate in the general election if she wins the primary than to help today's Republican Party stay in power by participating in their primary. It is better still to vote in your Democratic Primary, even if there are no local candidates right now. Grow your primary and you grow your party. Grow your primary and you will grow local Democrats and Democratic candidates over time.

Think of it as your simple act of civil disobedience. Get into building up your local Democratic Party, not helping sustain today's Radical Republican Party.

Jon Mark Hogg is a San Angelo lawyer, rural advocate and co-founder of The 134 PAC.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author.

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Jan 17
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I am horrified to think Trump could win the Republican Primaries. Do you think the same about a Democrat voting in the Republican Presidential primary?


Dec 11, 2023

I don't remember you ever using the "f" word- fascist, which aptly describes not only the Texas GOP but the GOP in general. Seems like we Democrats should be bolder and use that term more frequently until people will finally get what is happening. Thank you Jon Marc for telling it like it is.

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