Texas Democratic Convention: Race Cards, Identity Politics and Attacks on Tea Party

Texas Democratic Convention: Race Cards, Identity Politics and Attacks on Tea Party

DALLAS, Texas–The repeated themes at the Texas Democratic Convention were the evils of the Tea Party, the absence of women and minorities on the GOP ticket, and the Texas GOP platform. It was also about working to turn the state Blue. Houston Mayor Annise Parker repeatedly called upon participants to “Walk, Talk, and Vote” in order to win every race from the “Statehouse to the Courthouse.”

Mayor Parker provoked laughter from the crowd when she said she “was looking forward to debating the women on the other side of the ticket… [She asked] Why are you laughing?–That’s right!  There are no women on the Republican ticket!”

State Senator Sylvia R. Garcia (D-Houston) asked the crowd “How many women are on the GOP ticket?–ZERO! How many Black Americans are on the GOP ticket?–ZERO! How many minorities are on the Republican ticket–1/2!” The latter is a reference to State Land Commissioner, GOP nominee, George P. Bush.

The Women’s Caucus at the Democratic Convention was the largest caucus at the Convention. The theme, like during the rest of the Convention, was equal pay for equal work, and being valued and respected. Democratic gubernatorial nominee, State Senator Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth), and others, repeatedly told the delegates and guests that her famous filibuster was about much more than abortion.

Patsy Woods Martin, the interim head of Annie’s List, an organization designed to elect pro-choice Democratic women to office, said that there was a “public assault on women, a Republican conservative war on women.” She said “this was not just about SB5 … but I would not stand here and say we lost …  the filibuster was about something much bigger–it was about women’s leadership.”

“Annie’s List has doubled and tripled,” she continued, “and women are deciding elections. It was women who put Obama over the top. We have seen what happens when women put truth to power.”

State Senator and Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor Leticia Van de Putte said “Oh, my father does not like it, or my husband won’t let me, those days are gone… We bring value to our government, to this State, and the Republicans just do not get it.” She repeated the theme that “You know it’s about women, it’s about women being valued. It’s not just about reproductive health, it’s about being valued, respected.”

Van de Putte condemned Texas Governor Rick Perry’s veto on the Equal Pay for Equal Work bill. AFL-CIO President Becky Moeller, the first woman President in the organization’s history, told the crowd “You do not need equal pay for equal work if you have collective bargaining… Equal pay is a family issue.”

Holding a wire clothes hanger, State Representative Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) said “There is a sign in front of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor’s office that says ‘For Men Only.’–You decide!” She, like many others, talked about equal pay for women. Referencing this issue, and the abortion issue, she and others, had the message that “women will not be bullied, they will fight back!”

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas) told the Democratic Women’s Caucus “we rank 51st for women voting. We need you to give all you have… just do your part, we need more than 2% of the Latino vote. If we can get 20% of the Latino vote, and maintain the 15% of the Black vote, we can win this state.” She also urged them to work saying “the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.”

Dr. David Alameel, Democrat nominee for United States Senator told Democrats “Republicans use Latinos as a piñata to win elections… They demean, ridicule, and bash the Latino community and block immigration reform.” Speaking in Spanish, he said it was “inapropiado.”

Trey Martinez Fischer (D-San Antonio) referred to Republicans saying “Gringos y Otros Pendejos.” Martinez Fischer’s words and actions at the Democratic gathering created controversy outside of the Convention.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee said that “the Republican Party is imploding with the catastrophic incident called the Tea Party.” Representative Senfronia Thompson repeated the common theme saying “just drink the Tea!–Not be controlled by it!” Mike Collier, Democrat nominee for Texas Comptroller, said “Democrats are pro-business, not the Tea Party.”  

Texas State Representative Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) told his fellow Democrats that Tea Party members had been successful in this year’s elections. He said Democrats must join forces with Independents and fight the Tea Party “to reclaim Texas’ promise and future”. He also said that “the right man for the job is a woman” and “the time is now.” He told the crowd that Davis and Van de Putte must be elected.

Convention Director and state Senator Royce West (D-Dallas) said that Dallas is decidedly Blue, and all elections have consequences. He and Texas Democratic State Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa told Democratic attendees that Texans will think that the Democratic platform is more in line with Texas values. Hinojosa said Texans feel that Democrats “are going to fight for me”. The Texas Republican platform on immigration, gay reparative therapy, civil rights, voter ID and anti-choice, were frequent targets at the Texas Democratic Convention.

The only speaker that mentioned Democratic President Barack Obama was Congressman Al Green.

Follow Lana Shadwick on Twitter @LanaShadwick2.