Texas Democrats attempt to unite against GOP ‘extremism’ as their own challenges and conflicts persist

Texas Democrats are heading into the fall campaign arguably more bruised and battered than ever, emerging from a state of numbness. losses in 2022 And back-has-back legislative sessions dominated by conservative politics. And they face real headwinds this year, including internal divisions over immigration and the war between Israel and Hamas, and a party standard-bearer, President Joe Biden, whose approval rating in Texas is stuck underwater. during almost his entire term.

But those pitfalls received only passing attention at the Texas Democratic Party’s three-day convention in El Paso, where party leaders and a few thousand grassroots activists gathered to rally behind their candidates and fine-tune their speech for November. The party emerged with a message that boiled down to challenging Republican “extremism,” energizing voters around abortion rights, public education, and gun access, and building a gloomy picture of a second Trump presidency.

“We have a candidate for the other major party, the candidate for president… who describes immigrants as those who poison the blood of America – a phrase he could have taken from Mein Kampf or from the mouth of Adolf Hitler,” Beto said. O’Rourke, the former Democratic candidate for Senate and governor, said Thursday at a convention kickoff reception. “He says he will be dictator from day one and describes this election as the final battle.”

In speech after speech in Congress, Democrats offered a similar refrain. State Representative. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, told party faithful “it’s up to us to fight extremism this November.” Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said the state Republican Party’s platform is full of hate; Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called it “an ugly, angry document.”

“It’s Looney Tunes, my friends,” Wendy Davis, a former state senator and 2014 gubernatorial candidate, said of the GOP platform. “And if we think this isn’t our new reality, it is, unless we stand up and fight back.”

And U.S. Rep. Colin Allred, who is challenging Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, took aim at his opponent’s attempts to portray himself as bipartisan, accusing Cruz of trying to take credit for laws he opposed .

U.S. Rep. Colin Allred, Democrat of Dallas, speaks during the first general session of the Texas Democratic Convention in El Paso June 7, 2024. Allred is running for the U.S. Senate seat held by incumbent Republican Ted Cruz. Credit: Justin Hamel for The Texas Tribune

“No one is more selfish, more out of touch with the needs of Texans,” Allred said, calling the young state senator the ultimate “me guy.”

As party leaders sought to unite around the Republican Party’s radical rightward shift, some were unwilling to ignore signs of progressive discontent over Biden’s support for Israel’s war in Gaza.

Daniel Albert, a government professor who showed up as Biden’s delegate to the Democratic National Convention, said it was “absolutely vital” that Democrats come out of the national gathering…

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