Well, 2015 is here! “Lang may yur lum reek” is Scots for “Long may your chimney smoke.” According to Scots that is a good thing and it translates to good fortune and prosperity. I am not a person to make formal New Year’s resolutions because usually I have broken them as rapidly as they were made. On the other hand, I try to make a valiant effort to be a better friend, better listener and in general, a better person than I was during the previous year.
As the New Year lies before us I hope that you were able to take time to reflect on the past year from both a personal and a collective TDW perspective. Collectively, TDW was able to accomplish much: chapters were reactivated; TDW members were invested in striving to turn Texas blue, personally as well as financially; TDW hosted the largest Women’s Caucus in the history of the Texas Democratic Party Convention, and TDW was able to donate financially to a record number of female candidates. These are just some of our high points. On the other hand we also had our share of disappointments, with the most glaring being the defeat of our statewide Democratic ticket. We (Texas Democrats) had the most competent and most qualified slate of candidates but what went wrong?
Was it that Democrats lost touch with our base? Yes, I agree, we need to attract new voters and disenfranchised voters but not at the expense of turning our backs on our Yellow Dog Democrats.
Was it that we lost the basic Democratic message? The message that the Democratic Party is the Party that cares about a living wage and safe working conditions for all workers, equal pay for equal work, raising the minimum wage, ensuring a decent and equitable public education for all Texas’ children, affordable health care, expanding Medicaid, guaranteeing that our veterans receive the benefits they were promised when they enlisted, guaranteeing that Social Security remains intact, making Texas’ highways and roads safe, keeping Texas’ air safe to breathe and ensuring that Texas’ water is safe to drink and that we will have enough water for future generations of Texans. Once voters know who and what Texas Democrats stand for, then we can educate them about the other issues we stand for: equal rights for all Texans, LGBTQ rights, pro-choice rights/values, legalization of marijuana, immigration reform that leads to a path for citizenship and abolishing the death penalty. I realize that this list is not complete and there are issues that some Democrats have difficulty digesting but they are included in TDP’s platform as adopted at the convention this past June.
Was it that there was a disconnect between what was coming from the campaigns and what volunteers were being told by field organizers? I know that at times it felt like we were in the middle of that Abbott and Costello comedy routine of “Who’s on first?” Whatever comes from all these post-election, post-mortems we have to begin now to rebuild and begin our work for the 2016 election.
Governor Anne Richards was quoted as saying, “I have a very strong feeling on how you lead your life: you can always look ahead, never look back.” TDW needs to learn from our past and begin today planning ahead for 2016. The 2016 election began on November 5, 2014, so we must earnestly begin to rebuild bridges that we ignored or tore down, recruit candidates and train our volunteers for what lies ahead. Let us look ahead – united together.
With Pride, Power and Purpose,
President, Texas Democratic Women