Wendy Davis and Jeremy Bird set out to fight for Texas: Yesterday, we suggested that liberals and progressives stop begging the Court to protect them.
We suggested that we liberals and progressives should get off our keisters and go out and fight for the state of Texas in standard political ways.
We can’t do that with our world-famous snark, which is mainly designed to entertain and convince us of our own greatness. Last night, however, Rachel Maddow interviewed Jeremy Bird, a senior adviser from Battleground Texas.
It isn’t easy, and nothing is guaranteed. But what follows is the type of thing we had in mind in yesterday’s post.
As we start, Bird is discussing what he saw in the Texas Capitol this week as Wendy Davis stood up and fought, leaving all that snark behind.
Davis and Bird seem to be singing us the law of the Ranger's Command:
BIRD (6/27/13): I think what we saw this week was three things that have been really going on in Texas for a long time.Bird knows Texas, we do not. In his second statement, he discussed an obvious angle of attack:
One, if you look at that gallery, if you look at those people that are there, you see a groundswell of support. And these folks are all across the state, 254 counties. And they have been organizing for a long time. And I think you see a huge group of folks that are ready to go.
The second thing that you saw is there’s a great bench of Democratic folks, Wendy Davis, obviously, Senator Davis, her colleagues in the Senate. When you look at some of the mayors across the state of Texas, when you look at some of the congressmen and women you had on your show earlier tonight, you see a bench of truly inspiring leaders down there.
And the third thing you see is Republican extremism. They have gone so far to the right. They have continued to alienate women voters, Hispanic voters, African-American voters, Asian voters, voters all across the state of Texas.
And you see that on the national scale which you’ve talked about today, but you see it in Texas I think in more stark terms than you see anywhere else.
BIRD: You look at the 2012 election, for example, you have three million Latinos in Texas who didn’t vote. You have barely half of the population voting—the eligible population voting. And that doesn’t just happen overnight. It happens with a systemic attempt to make people think that their vote doesn’t matter. To continue to gerrymander, to continue to try to make districts that aren’t competitive and they’ve done that systemically over time.For the most part, Maddow would rather invent silly tales to prove that the Court should do our work for us until the end of time. That way, we could stop Texas from doing what all those other states are going to do, unless we know how to stop them.
And what we have to do is go back to those voters all across the valley, in Harris County, in Dallas, all across this state. And talk to people about why their vote does matter. And there are specific races that they can’t gerrymander, at the county level, at the mayoral level. We need to win those local elections. Continue to turn more and more of those counties blue.
And over time we can actually have an impact statewide and have some elections that we can win and start to change the state.
As Maddow continued with Bird, she almost seemed gobsmacked by the idea of “talking pork to the people.” Bird continued to note the obvious approaches people who care will take:
MADDOW: When you say, “Go talk to those voters,” what does that mean in terms of investments, in terms of resources, in terms of the kind of operation that you’re trying to mount?Two suggestions: When we talk to those unregistered voters, let’s not insult them with a string of dick jokes about how stupid they are.
BIRD: Yes. So it needs to be Texas-sized. And we have to go everywhere. We have to go to rural areas, we have to go to the suburbs.
MADDOW: Go how, though? Go in what way? Holding meetings? Knocking on people’s doors? I mean, what’s your effort?
BIRD: All of it, organizing. So basically we have to go to a couple of key things. One is registration. There are at least 2.2 million unregistered Hispanics, African-Americans, and Asian Americans in Texas today that we need to put on the voter rolls. Put a registration form in front of them and say, “Get out there and vote.”
Over the last couple of weeks, couple of months actually, Battleground Texas, our folks on the ground have trained about 2,000 folks. In Texas they make you go to the county clerk, the county registrar to get trained before you can go register somebody in Texas.
We’ve been starting to train those folks. We’ve got to go talk to people about that, get them on the rolls. Then once they’re on the rolls, we’ve got to get them to turn out. We’ve got to go to their doors, we’ve got to call them on the phone, we have to have a digital outreach program. We’ve got to find them wherever they are, talk about the importance of the election.
And do exactly what we saw this week, when people how important their vote is, and what it means for issues that matter to them, they’ll start turning out.
Final suggestion: Let’s learn how to talk to registered voters, to convince them to vote for Dems and liberals. Liberals have to learn how to talk to regular people, a process which has to begin with genuine respect for people who aren't exactly like we are.
Let’s hope that people like Bird can get out there and make it happen. In the long run, the Snark Generation will almost surely be a disaster for progressive interests.
It’s lots of fun to waste our time yelling at people like Serena Williams and Paula Deen because they aren’t as perfectly scripted as we are. It’s fun to make up stupid shit about people like Howard Kurtz.
It’s fun to parade around declaring our greatness, but does it ever get anything done? Maybe we can pay the gang from Salon to go away and snark in private. Jeremy Bird made it sound like he comes from a more serious place.
To watch last night’s segment, click here. Try to ignore the way it starts.
“I love this state,” Wendy Davis said. You have to know how to say that.