Archive for the ‘Texas Politics’ Category

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It’s Not Impossible, It’s Just Texas

2013.January.25

WHAT

Last week, I reached out for something vague with a flurry of spontaneous tweets. I tried to make it poetic, and thoughtful, and concise, but the failed purpose was to articulate something missing in my activist/ish life and hope my friends and allies could point me in the right direction. Responses were mostly negative on the helpful scale, to the extent that responses like “I don’t know what you’re talking about” and simple cyber-hugs were graded at the high end of an sharp curve.

There were five posts in quick succession, plus an epilogue and a disgruntled follow-up, all posted to my Twitter (where my smattering of activist followers seemed to be inactive that day). The tweets then cross-posted to my private Facebook, where I had hoped to reach the several dozen friends who currently or have previously worked for nonprofit organizations, political campaigns, and other professional realms of activism (or at least the dozens more who advocate as volunteers, organizers, and educators on their own time) with one simple query:

“Where my idealists at?”

This was not the first time I had attempted the approach of, “Ask the Internet and it will come.” Except I wasn’t asking the whole Internet; I wasn’t even asking all 500 of my Facebook friends. Even omitting the various filters for me and Twitter, my posts could still only reach whatever friends happened to check their Facebook feeds around the time I posted. Activists or not, few of my friends (or anyone on Facebook) optimize Facebook’s feed options (subjecting them to a lot of irrelevant noise and shortening attention spans further), so even if they wanted to see it, who knows if they would have? If someone was busy at work that day, or sick, or forgot the phone they use to log in, or just needed a break from digital socializing on THAT DAY, there was little chance they would see it.

My approach was essentially aiming a shotgun at a hummingbird. Through a wall. And the hummingbird may or may not have been there in the first place.

It should surprise no one, then, that the tweets were ignored and the Facebook posts received the following array of responses: 7 “Likes”, 5 vaguely cynical comments, 4 vaguely sympathetic comments, 2 playful threats about my artistic license with grammar, 2 admissions that someone didn’t understand what I was after, 1 vaguely relevant joke, and 1 itemized derailment of the entire series (which helped trigger my disgruntled follow-up, 4 sympathetic comments, and conversations with both the grammarian and the derailer). Of these, the “I don’t understand” comments were actually the most helpful, because I realized that I couldn’t explain my posts any better — and that was the problem.

The posts failed to reach anyone who could recognize and answer the question I was trying to ask. Even I didn’t know what I sought, so how could I know if I was going about it the right way? Strangely (or perhaps not so strangely), even the most upsetting of these comments led to productive discussion and reconsideration, to the extent that I’m finally able to articulate what it is I seek and why it has been so difficult. From the angst of failure, a better question came to me: not “Where are the idealists?” but “Why am I so desperate to find them?”

WHERE

When I left my “First Real Job” in D.C., it was to return home. Texas is decidedly conservative, in politics and in culture — and these days pretty in-your-face about it (part of why I left in the first place). Yet there’s a camaraderie that comes easily here as outcasts band together in a hostile environment; it facilitates a simpler acceptance of other people, and I’d found myself missing that. While my time in D.C. had been professionally rewarding, it had also been incredibly lonely. Living closer to the mainstream, I somehow felt further away from finding community or chosen family (outside of working hours) than I’d felt in Texas. As my life drifted closer to “normal”, I came to feel ever-more conspicuous about the differences that remained; back home, outcasts had always been outcasts, whatever differences they carried.

So I came back. The politics is still just as bad (probably worse), but I’ve found my community and my chosen family amid the outliers. The more uniform the culture here becomes, the easier it gets to identify, support, and ally with others who defy convention (and it doesn’t matter whether they defy it a little or a lot). It may be compared to a spirit of revolution, but I find it much subtler: for revolution, the first priority is to subvert the power system in place using any help you can get; you’re not yet worried about what power structure might replace it and therefor you don’t really screen your camarades (“The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” and all that). Here, we’re just banding together and doing what we can to survive, all the while educating ourselves and others on how the dominant narrative is not our only option.

In a relatively free society (and whine as we might, we participate in one of the free-est societies ever, even in Texas), if you can be diplomatic with folks who perpetuate the dominant culture but also successful at convening with those who don’t, you can sustain a pretty nice little desert oasis. I can pick my battles according to what I want to do (because it can’t all get done); I can take a break whenever I need (because victory is never as close as burnout); I can even be rebellious and popular at the same time!

The choice to remain a(n ideological) minority does carry drawbacks, of course. The political bell curve places my most “hippie-ish” peers somewhere in the neighborhood of California Republicans. Bias and scorn seep out from most every news source; outside of Austin, there’s hardly such a thing as a secondary political narrative (and Sam Houston forbid you should ever try to find a middle ground on any issue other than the two conveniently polarized “sides”.) Eventually, you lose the ability to keep political and social culture out of any conversation with your friend-allies, and then you have little else to draw from for civil discourse amid family and neighbors who do support the dominant narrative. When you  find sympathetic stories, any anecdote from Texas is far more likely to anger or depress you than to give you strength or hope. It’s enough to make anyone jaded, really.

Or, increasingly I fear, it’s enough to make EVERYONE jaded.

WHO

There are a lot of us fighting the good fights down here in our own little ways: computer programmers who raise LGBT awareness by living out and proud, single moms whose households incorporate deep environmental awareness, elder-care-givers who network casual activists to one another and wax philosophic about underlying truths discovered along the way. OK, you got me, that last one is me.

I’ve been keeping my eye on a certain elder in my life for the majority of the seven years I’ve been back here, but it’s only been a full-time arrangement for about 14 months. At this point in his progression, I spend a scattered couple of hours a day helping him with food, doctor appointments, medications, tech support, and socializing, and 20+ hours a day keeping myself occupied while listening for one of those needs to arise (you can find out more at #badideacare, though #occupyFree could also be clever). I spend a lot of time at or near my computer, and the tone of my day is often set by fellow Texans; our communal strength and reliance upon one another is sustained largely online because we are pretty spread out by geography, logistics, and focus. When Texas liberals and/or nonconformists have a bad day (which is often), there’s a good chance I hear about it early and often. My mood can, and does, often suffer. (Because I care, dammit! :P )

Most of this circumstance is not really new. What I have learned over the past fourteen months is that when I reach out, when I ask for something positive from my network of amateur activists, the vast majority of responses I get will be cynical, snarky, pedantic, derailing — in a word, counterproductive. I probably spend as much attention on how we work as on what we’re working toward, so every time an ally approaches an issue with sarcasm, aggressiveness, smugness, or general misanthropy, my bright optimism clouds just a little more.

I can’t call out a single incident or a single person for this, because it is more subtle and erosive than that. The hardest part of running this treadmill isn’t the lost political battles, it’s the lost rhetorical battles. Most of the negative comments I get — from my own allies, remember — don’t stop at foiling my grasps at positivity, they often imply that I am foolish for even asking. The brand of idealism I hold is not only so much rejected as a personal choice, it is regarded as downright impossible.

WHY

I might share their bleak outlook if I had not seen otherwise in D.C. The organization where I worked shut its doors in 2006 due to unrelated — but equally painful — realities, yet even during lean times that small org was a hub of positivity whose network stretched nationwide and beyond.

Before I was care-giving full time, I could still travel a couple times a year and (re-)connect with folks in Austin, Colorado, California, or D.C., drawing strength from the great works and great attitudes I found. Activists in more liberal regions (even those who are no more professional activists than the elder for whom I care) get stronger support from their communities, maintain larger professional networks, have more educational resources available, and are more likely operate with the luxury of designated workspaces that (however difficult it may be) can be left at work once in a while. These opportunities bring with them a greater capacity for all things positive and effective, which can then be shared with organizations and individuals who are less centrally located — if they can manage to connect. This was, in fact, a mission of the D.C. project where I dedicated most of my time. We would identify, celebrate, and support effective community leaders, then gather them to foster collaboration while a group of academics attempted to glean big lessons on leadership from their efforts. Along the way, smaller networks became connected to one another, and a larger movement toward social justice became feasible.

The org where I worked encouraged straightforward values for advocacy organizations via an acronym, THE RAMP: Transparency, Hope, Exchange, Respect, Affirmation, Modeling, Pragmatism. We talked about our values, we swapped insights with others, and we made sure positivity was part of our movement. All around us were other organizations — other networks — who were just as positive, just as supportive, whose lights shone just as bright. They spent more time talking about what they could do than what they couldn’t. They spent more time building each other up than tearing anyone down for being imperfect allies (or even opponents). They never let one another feel isolated.

Those networks demonstrated many things beyond the plausibility of an affirming approach, but the most important to me were these:

  • The power inherent in language and art rests in a clear message to a clear audience, not grammatical perfection. (See also.)
  • There is an ongoing exodus of non-conservatives to the U.S. coasts and it is reinforcing the red-state/blue-state polarization we decry.
  • In order to make a difference to a place, one must be grounded there.
  • No changemaker works alone.

These are, in fact, the other reasons I came back to Texas seven years ago. I cannot be cynical because I’ve seen positive activism done well, and I believe it can be done here (and not just in Austin).

HOW

My old org is gone, and that old network has changed over time, but I have come to believe that successful relationships depend on impact rather than longevity. About half of my colleagues from that time have left activism but continue to live out their values and positivity in new careers; the other half are still at it, building and connecting and shining away with awesome projects in liberal hubs and conscious, supportive families at home. Alas, those same careers and families usually keep them away from Facebook, and since they still maintain their local support networks, they have less at stake in maintaining strong ties with me than I do with them. I’ve been looking for positive connections to augment or replace them.

I haven’t been calling for all the idealists, I’ve been calling for my idealists: those whose work to become more inclusive and more positive never quite ends. I need to bring conscious positivity back into my life, and I’d like to acquire the skills to help others do the same. I need the positive news and clever toolkits and erudite inspiration — not just some cat meme or Mary Engelbreit aphorism, but accurate insights from people who know it because they’ve done it. I’m not looking to swing the pendulum to another extreme; I just want to connect with folks who find hope in their activism as often as not. (I’d surely settle for a third of the time… maybe a quarter.) And for now, just because I’m difficult (and nearly quixotic), I need to be able to do this pretty much entirely online (yes, the same realm that brought you trolling and such sentimental acronyms as “DIAF”).

I could use any help that’s available. I want to connect with part-time activists who believe in affirmative approaches, especially in Texas and especially online, even if you’re no more sure how to do it than I am. I also welcome recommendations for positive outlets on Twitter or Facebook (I have a couple of groups there myself), educational resources on community building, amateur-friendly activists networks, and anyone who might know something about fostering a positive workspace for non-professionals. What else is out there?

I’d like to think I’ve continued to practice the values of THE RAMP in my efforts here, but Affirmation is by far the most elusive and the hardest to pay forward: I simply do not know how. I just need some reassurance that my values (both political and rhetorical) have a place in this state — that I have a place in this state — before the illusions of isolation and hopelessness become too strong.

Addendum: I swear I didn’t plan this, but as I’m posting this, two notable sex-positive conferences are scheduled for this weekend in my two backyards (online and off). Some of my favorite activists are gathering in Atlanta for Creating Change, an annual conference of queer activism; my participation in CC10 was the most affirming weekend I’ve had since returning to Texas. Then on Monday, some of my favorite people have arranged a day off for me so I can attend a Brown Symposium on sex-positivity (near Austin, of course). I can’t think of a better moment to ask again, “Where my idealists at?”. Both events should be thoroughly tweeted, so follow the conversations at #CC13, #creatingchange, #BrownSym2013, and #sextalkinTX. If sex-positivity isn’t your thing, watch this space and I’ll let you know what else I find as I find it.

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Voting and IDs Get Stricter: This Just Happened

2012.May.9

I took the elder for whom I care to get his driver’s license converted to a plain photo ID. His drivers license expired a couple of months ago (when I was still getting the hang of my new level of responsibility). I checked the DPS website, prepared the form, and brought both his expired license and birth certificate with me, just in case.

The office was busier than I had expected for mid-afternoon on a weekday, a lot of working people and more than a couple of folks traveling in multi-generational packs (whether because kids needed watching or because an elder relative needed assistance) but I got him to sit down while I stood in line. Several people were sent to fill out forms, but a couple were sent home for more documentation. I didn’t think anything of it. As we approached our turn at the check-in counter, I called him over to stand with me and the woman behind the desk invited us to skip the line when she was his fragile movement. I told her what we needed and she reached for a page she had at the desk. “He needs two documents verifying his residence, and then we’ll get that taken care of.” She knew this would be a challenge, because she didn’t even bother to ask whether we had his expired drivers license or any of the pre-existing requirements. She said the change just went into effect Monday. I tried to think whether we could pull enough documents from his wallet and the glove compartment, but no; we had to go home and come back.

I’m frustrated because this restriction seems to be cynical, unnecessary “protection” against fraud that is far from profligate in this state. Voter ID has been on the agenda for several election cycles, but it took the class of 2010 to make it happen. This change, which reinforces the disenfranchisement by making an ID more difficult to get, was passed in 2009 by a less extreme Lege. And isn’t it suspicious that a law passed nearly 2 years ago wasn’t implemented until election season 2012?

I’m frustrated that, news junkie that I can be, I haven’t heard a word about this change on local TV news, on local radio, or just in passing conversation. Maybe I haven’t been paying a lot of attention, but this seems like a story that should be repeated early and often. I worry that folks who wait until the last minute to do something important will get left in the cold. I worry that this will slow the participation of folks who move to our state or move within it (and I know from experience that the working class is highly mobile in this state).

I’ve gone back to the website and seen the offset gray box that alludes to the change, but it hardly strikes me as obvious; I actually would have noticed it better if they’d added it to the existing list. The good news is that, as a full-time caregiver of a fairly mobile senior (and forty-plus-year resident of the same house) , it’s not really any big deal for me to return to the office tomorrow with all the necessary documents. But we’re outliers; of the half-dozen people who left in the half hour I was there, how many took off work? skipped lunch? used up what little flexibility they have in their schedule this week/month? Even among those who can work it out again, how many are going to bother to do so?

How are we not turning voting into a luxury in this state?

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Challenges to Slutwalk

2012.April.22

[I am currently consulting the organizers of Dallas Slutwalk 2012; the following is began as a response to a question about the challenges Slutwalks have faced.]

At our first organizer’s meeting, I shared some articles on criticisms from last year. I’d be happy to share links (I posted a few on the page), but they can be summarized thusly:

  1. Language: the choice to embrace “slut” is dividing feminists as to whether the Slutwalks subvert or reinforce sexist language. Moreover, it has conflated participants who (sometimes unknowingly) represent two purposes: denouncing victim-blaming through satire and proclaiming sexual autonomy in earnest.
  2. Race: the Slutwalks have largely been seen as an enterprise by white women; efforts at outreach to communities of color have frequently ignored the history of sexualized marginalization against women of color, who, accordingly, have a different relationship with the word “slut”.
  3. Message: owing in no small part to the idiosyncrasies above, the media has largely failed to convey an accurate or clear message of the Slutwalks, instead choosing to focus on these controversies or simply the spectacle of the events.

My personal goal for this year’s walk is to make sure more attention is paid to these challenges before and during the walk, as well as to encourage and help organize follow-up events that will allow supporters to dig deeper into all issues raised.

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Dallas Slutwalk: 1 Year Later

2012.March.28

In April of 2011, Dallas was one of the first major cities to hold its own slutwalk after a Toronto official warned young women not to dress like a “slut” if they didn’t want to be raped. Dozens of cities around the world joined the movement in ensuing months, but where is that movement now?

A lot has happened in the last 11 months. Some say there is a “war on women”. Rush Limbaugh is losing sponsors but gaining listeners after calling a young law student a slut for defending public support for birth control before Congress. Texas is sacrificing federal funding for women’s healthcare over abortion policies.

There have been victories for sex-positivity also: figures as diametrically opposed as Dan Savage and Newt Gingrich are getting people talking about monogamy, open relationships, and the boundaries of commitment. Innovations and careful marketing are bringing condoms and sex toys further out of the shadows. Even school districts in the most sex-negative parts of the country are abandoning abstinence-only programs for more comprehensive sex ed.

In the aftermath of last year’s event, we also had to recognize two very different tracks of slut-walkers: those who wanted to oppose the victim-blaming mentality that sparked the very first SlutWalk, and a subset who also self-identified as sluts (or their allies) and wanted to question whether sluthood itself had to be a bad thing. It was hard, it was complicated, and a lot of good conversations started but didn’t get very far.

Let’s pick up the conversation where we left off. Is it time for another SlutWalk? Or is there another way to gather up the momentum from last year and propel sexuality forward? Is there a way we can reconcile the two tracks or must we choose one to move forward?

We’re looking for supporters of last year’s SlutWalk and other local activists to come together and talk about these issues. We have to move fast: the anniversary is April 23rd, and April is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month. We’d like to have a face-to-face discussion very soon and decide what the next step will be in time to commemorate last year’s walk.

Last year, Dallas Slutwalk was organized from scratch by one determined woman who is currently wrapped up in the joys of new motherhood. I’ve volunteered to help her get some folks together for a conversation about how best to follow-up last year’s successful walk, at which point I’d love to hand it off to a group of dedicated women who can take it places I can’t.

To get involved in the planning and especially the pondering, please join us on Facebook or Meetup, help us figure out a time and place, and plan to bring a friend.

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Texts from the Shore (Well, the Edge)

2010.June.27

[Pre-convention workshops]
I’m getting breakfast, running late, not caring.
(Have fun with the Dems and keep me posted.)
You know I will. ;) Did I tell you yesterday the vet band narrator asked that we all “celebrate” the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean War?
(Um, no. I’m sure he meant commemorate. Oh words. They are so silly the way they mean things. ;) ) [from my budding co-blogger, AriseKraken]
Ann Richards sticker on a PT Cruiser, which postdated her career and possibly her life [nope, there was a 7-year overlap].
[Yesterday, passing through Victoria, I saw a circa-1960 Cadillac complete with a retro Kennedy/Johnson sticker.]
And it’s raining just a tad to welcome me!
Texas Freedom Network event on textbooks bigger than their space, which is awesome! And a little sad that more can’t sit in.
I got signed up for convention texts somehow… Most of them aren’t announcements but meaningless polls, whose results will only be announced next week. Techfail.
I’m wearing my NGLTF T-shirt. Got me thinking… how interesting that to Queer Liberaction, Stonewall is stodgy, but here, they seem young and radical.
(They should have planned better for the textbook thing. I think it’s a huge thing this year.)
I’m glad to see it; hope TFN benefits long term.
I hear a choir downstairs, don’t know whom. Think I’m going to read before I head over to the arena.
Reading The Count of Monte Cristo may be bringing out an unusual curtness in me, for which I apologize.
You always have a choice, even if it’s not one you consider reasonable.
Thinking about the act of denouncing others… I know for my book it will do no good to call people racist, but through storytelling I can inspire reflection which basically makes it allegorical use of history. And isn’t allegory what made Jesus so effective?
(I’ve been having similar thoughts, though less global. Too much to explain in text, but I don’t think calling people out does much good.)
I’m not comparing myself, just seeing I’m not original.
(Jesus probably wasn’t original, either. ;) )
We should reflect on that some time…

[Convention reconvenes and Linda Chavez-Thompson speaks]

Program about to begin. “Turn off cells.” Ha!
Last song on speaker: “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers. Is jealousy really a good theme for the party not in power?
(Is jealousy really a good theme for anybody?)
I’m no theist, but I really liked today’s invocation–by yet another Al Green.
Anthem was awesome, but she forgot “through the per’lous fight”.
People are really slow coming in. Also wondering if all cameramen are atheists, since they don’t stop working during event prayers. What a fascinating situation.
I’m glad not many people bought the authentic custom Democrat plastic clappers. They would have gotten old quick.
“How many zeros in $19 billion deficit? Eleven if you count Perry and Dewhurst.”
(Is this session the only thing today?)
There was training earlier, but this is it. Last night was mostly a rally. Today is more business. Should be out around 3 or 4, then I’m hitting the beach.
Laredo and south San Antonio have lost their last bookstores. :(
Middle class pre-k kids average 13 books per kid. Low income kids average 300 kids per book.
“Republicans called Latinos their children. Someone should call CPS! You can stuff a jalapeno in a pig, but that doesn’t make it a chorizo!”

[Electing a State Chair]

Executive Committee picks one male and one female from each district. Trans erasure much?
Farouk Shami elected to it: he’s a former gubernatorial candidate and haircare millionaire. Rumor has it Perry uses his products.
They’re handing out stickers for a chair election taking place in ten minutes that has no chance of being close. Just seems wasteful. I can’t believe how much is spent on that stuff.
…And it’s going to be a roll call vote, most tedious kind. Every single delegate must be counted, incomplete delegations prorated. Dems not known for their mad math skillz.
It just kills me because the contender’s going to lose and it’s very dog-and-pony.
The challengers are always shrill.
My group is ready to vote before they’ve even spoken. Hate this part.
Only time all day people won’t applaud politely [well, at least until the Texas Two-Step came up...]. I want to back an upstart, but have to admit the slate is good under current chair. Should vote on this in December, after the election.
Challenger backing both “longtime office holders” and new recruits. This guy should run for something smaller. I don’t think he’s got any experience.
For the incumbent: “We need public servants, not politicians.” Also pointing out getting rid of Craddick and winning races like Wendy Davis‘.
Gotta admit, I thought 7 minutes would be a farce, but I’d say it gave the challenger enough rope with which to hang himself.
I love my old bookstore manager. I swear he was one of maybe two to vote for the challenger in our district. He’s way more quixotic than I’ll ever be.
Wonder what our Executive Committee representative is telling the challenger…
(I’m getting double texts from you from time to time.)
Ugh. Probably because of low signal inside. Worried about draining battery…
First district tally reported wrong name of the challenger.
Numbers even lower than I expected. What a waste of time.
Nice… One district had abstentions [there were others later]. That was probably my first choice coming in…
Challenger won a couple of districts, at least. Probably his home area. He really should’ve run for county chair or something. Wonder if he was a straw man…

[Etc.]

Seem to be a lot of TX congresspersons on the Homeland Security Committee of the US House. Wonder if that’s a good position or weak…
Wow, I think that’s the first time someone has called for straight-ticket voting. Much better than in 2008. Lot of downticket and Dem slate talk, but straight tickets are a trigger for me.
Congressman Green thinks Perry is worse than Hurricane Ike. Wonder if Galvestonites agree…
Wonder if anybody is lobbying for moderate, non-partisan redistricting. If not, perhaps I should start…
Battery Low. May have to keep comments to self or write them down for a while.
Phone died. Water pressure low. Debate ended. Angry. :D
I went to my car during debate over Texas Two-Step for phone charger, barely got it on before they called for a vote, and now I’m outside during the count. Whew!
(Your previous text didn’t make much sense. This one is better.)
I’m worried about the water pressure here. It dropped significantly before I left and doesn’t seem better yet.
(The water pressure in the convention center?)
What really aggrevates me about all this is that it isn’t constructive. The Two-Step has won numerous challenges, no one is undecided, and no one has new ideas.
Yes, I dare say it’s a health risk…
TVs in hall alternate between inside proceedings and USA vs. Ghana match. Fun hearing the cheers. Even Dems get bored enough with procedure to watch soccer.
There’s a hospital here named Christus Spohn. I know Corpus Christi means “Body of Christ”, does this one mean Christ’s spoon?
We’re moving on with the agenda now…
Now my phone’s been weird… We may adjourn soon, I’m not sure… :*
[We didn't, but the mass exodus had begun.]
I think I’ve had my fill… Going to dip my toes (maybe more) in the water for a bit, then get dinner and wifi and head on toward Houston.
(Everything okay? Just saw your facebook post)
LOL! Oh, that was mostly about food. It took me forever to find/pick something and when I did, there were tons of onions so I had to go to Wendys. ;)

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Anti-gnostications

2008.November.5

What can I say? I’m better at asking questions than predicting answers. Because I am too tired from celebrating to write a real entry today, allow me to react to and modify my previous entry:

“Barack Obama wins nationally with a popular vote over 55% and approximately 3/4 of the Electoral College. I wouldn’t call it a landslide, but definitely a solid mandate.”

Right call, wrong numbers. Just a matter of scale, really. I think I meant to say 55% and EV of 3/5, or I was just too lazy to look at the margins. The 55% didn’t happen because the difference was more stark in McCain’s victory states than I had expected, but he still won the highest percentage in twenty years. Anyway, his victory passed 3/5.

“Obama loses Texas by 3-5 points, faring much better than expected. If only he’d spent some cash down here.”

Again, right call, but I forgot where I live. Obama was far from striking distance at 11 points back, but it halved the 23 point spread Bush had over Kerry in 2004.

Sarah Palin tries to run for President in 2012, but drops out before January is half-over. Don’t count her out from the national scene, though. The biggest mistake Democrats made all year (even more than dragging out the Michigan/Florida limbo) has been misjudging her role in the campaign and underestimating the contribution she makes.”

Too early to tell, but you’ll notice that her name is still on the lips of many commentators, and not only to receive blame. Am I the only person who thinks she looked embarrassed at McCain’s concession speech?

Rick Noriega loses by 5-7 points.”

By which, of course, I meant 12. :P

“Senate becomes 59-40-1, after upsets in Georgia and Minnesota.”

Depending on which site you consult, there’s still a chance, but it looks like it will be closer to 57 or 58 (including Lieberman and that other independent liberal I forgot to count). Georgia is probably Republican though, and Minnesota is deep into recount territory.

“Dems are icy to Joe Lieberman but allow him to continue caucusing with them to maintain their supermajority. Liberal policy not the death-knell to business that conservatives prophecy, but social policy progresses less than expected. Foreign relations improve quickly in early months, but plateau halfway through the first year thanks to new tensions around economics and Russian chest-beating. Countrywide, Democrats grow increasingly annoyed with Nancy Pelosi, but Hillary Clinton becomes a more balanced and broadly respected figure in the Senate. Old white men become passe and 2010 sees more nonwhites and women running for office than ever before.”

All pure speculation, and will be years before we know for sure.

“Texas House goes to Dems with a slim majority. Speaker Craddick is replaced by someone I’ve never heard of, someone else I don’t know becomes Minority Leader, and the possibility of a non-partisan commission for redrawing district lines is given serious, state-wide consideration but may not pass in time for the next redistricting.”

Well, no fudging numbers here, I was flat out wrong about the majority. But the rest is still possible, and the Legislature will be almost purple next session.

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