Texas Democrats Search for Silver Lining as Davis Campaign Sputters On

Texas Democrats Search for Silver Lining as Davis Campaign Sputters On

AUSTIN, Texas — Wendy Davis, the Democrat nominee for Texas Governor, is running a race that no one thinks she can win. Correction: no one thinks she can win except Joe Biden, but the Vice President’s peppy declaration that “She’s gonna win that race!” was an instant national punchline, and not so much a rallying cry for supporters. With polling showing a growing gap between her and her Republican opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott, the attempt to rebrand the multimillion dollar experimental folly known as the Wendy Davis Campaign has already begun, more than a month before election day.

Davis was a long shot even at the height of her pink-sneakered glory days filibustering the abortion bill, and “[i]t’s been all downhill from there,” as POLITICO wrote this week in an article branding her campaign one of 2014’s worst in the entire country. Her campaign has suffered from being overshadowed by distracting headlines, such as when she was caught pushing easily-disproved misrepresentations about her life story, or when she uncomfortably tried to adopt conservative-sounding policies on guns, gaining nothing but angry, disappointed reactions from her liberal supporters. The Democratic Governors Association have made it clear they do not view her as a worthwhile investment. 

Even Davis’ stance on the issue that catapulted her to national fame has been confusing and contradictory: abortion was not mentioned in her initial campaign launch, she announced she really was “pro-life,” at one point she seemed to back some of the very restrictions that are in the bill she filibustered, and then finally, the eleventh hour admission in her book that she had personally had two abortions, which she claimed were for medical reasons.

In the Democratic primary, Davis lost half of the border counties to an unknown and unfunded opponent, showing that her late-term abortion advocacy had been, in the words of one conservative commentator, “a disqualifying flaw” for the mostly-Catholic Hispanic South Texans. Davis desperately needed to land a knock-out blow at her first debate with Abbott, but instead relied on old attacks already debunked by Politifact and got entangled in an embarrassing quarrel with the moderator that was labeled a “meltdown” in a video that went viral.

Now, this week, the Associated Press arrives with a present for Texas Democrats and their supporters: an article celebrating how a Wendy Davis loss could help them. Literally, that’s the title of the article: “How a Wendy Davis loss could help Texas Democrats.” 

In the brief article, the AP writes that Davis has “shattered” fundraising records, neglecting to mention that she has trailed Abbott’s fundraising — significantly — throughout the entire race, in both dollars raised and cash-on-hand. Davis has also repeatedly relied on several accounting tricks to artificially boost her numbers, such as counting funds raised by Battleground Texas and other supportive PACs along with her own fundraising, and then counting again any donations those groups gave to her campaign. 

As Breitbart Texas has reported, a significant portion of Davis’ fundraising has come from outside Texas, and many have observed that Davis’ campaign and its national fundraising risk drawing money away from more viable Democrats in other states, to the delight of Republicans. “Wendy Davis is exactly the kind of vanity candidate that appeals to national Democrats,” Republican media strategist Rick Wilson told Breitbart Texas. “[She’s] pointless, an inevitable failure, an absolute policy train wreck, but still draws millions that could go into winnable races elsewhere. For that, I thank them.”

The AP article continues, noting that Davis’ race is “buying time to groom a political bench that could face easier future elections,” but does not identify who might be sitting on that bench to reap the supposed benefits. The Battleground Texas organization has been trumpeting their voter registration efforts, but Democrats currently hold no statewide elected offices in Texas and the candidates attempting those races this year are trailing their Republican opponents by margins viewed as insurmountable as Davis’ poll numbers versus Abbott, if not worse. 

Very few Democrats in this state can even claim solid name recognition, and those few that can face other obstacles to higher office in Texas. San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro resigned to go to Washington, D.C. to serve as President Obama’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, a position not known for launching star political careers, his brother Joaquin Castro has done little — and admittedly, there is not much he can do — to distinguish himself in a GOP-controlled Congress, and State Representative Trey Martinez Fischer (D-San Antonio) is better known for abrasive stunts like calling Abbott “El Diablito” on “Lotería” cards he gave away at the Texas Democratic Convention this year than any legislative achievements that could help him win crossover support from Republican voters. 

The AP article concludes that changing demographics will be the key to future victories for Texas Democrats:

Should Davis lose, it could eventually prove a political turning point because Texas’ demographic shift already had Democrats looking hopefully toward the future.

Since 2000, roughly two out of every three new Texans is Hispanic, a voting bloc that has lately been friendly to Democrats in Texas and beyond.

Never mind that Davis has absolutely nothing to do with this “demographic shift,” being a white woman who has not had a child in decades. According to the AP, because a person named Wendy Davis existed and ran for office, future Hispanic Texans will be more likely to vote Democrat. 

Besides the possibility that Davis has actually worsened Democrats’ relationship with Texas Hispanics — keep in mind her disastrous primary performance in the Rio Grande Valley — the growth of the Hispanic population in Texas has yet to yield the shift to more liberal voting patterns so eagerly anticipated by the left. This mirrors national trends, where polls show that second-generation Hispanic Americans are less liberal than first generation immigrants, and even the tens of thousands of Californians of all demographic backgrounds who are moving to the Lone Star State self-identify as conservatives by more than a two-to-one margin.

Austin-based Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak’s response to the AP article was that he had also observed Battleground Texas attempting to revise history about what their goals were in Texas this election cycle. in anticipation of a Davis loss in November. [Disclosure: Mackowiak is a Breitbart contributor.] Less than forty days from the election, with every Democratic statewide candidate down double digits, Battleground Texas is shifting into CYA mode,” Mackowiak told Breitbart Texas. “They are moving the goalposts, ensuring that any result can be claimed as a win. Meanwhile, the out-of-state operatives who hatched Battleground Texas have been paid well over $300,000 with much more to come.”

He scoffed at Battleground Texas’ ability to actually make Texas a battleground in 2016, much less turn the state blue. Mackowiak added that they were “clearly failing to successfully achieve their mission [to help elect Democrats], but they want to keep the gravy train rolling,” hence the efforts to redefine their goals before their supporters abandoned them. Mackowiak made headlines recently after he was targeted by the Davis campaign when they falsely identified him as an Abbott surrogate and took comments he made on a news program out-of-context and misrepresented his words to attack Abbott.

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter at @rumpfshaker.


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